Posted on August 7, 2020
March 16, 1974 is Paige Young’s 30th birthday.
April 7th 1974 is a Palm Sunday, on that day Paige commits suicide with a gunshot to her head, the location was her residence, pictured below.
“She was terrified of it coming out, in that day you knew your career was going to be over once it got “round.”Daily Mail Dec. 2014
“For weeks all she could think about was getting hold of that tape, she thought it was going to ruin her.”Melanie, Paige’s neighbor in the Daily Mail
Below is the account neighbor Melanie gave to reporter Ryan Parry of the Daily Mail Dec. 2014 issue.
“Paige had the whole thing planned down to the last detail… It was Palm Sunday and she came to tell me she was going to kill herself. She stayed in the back of the house where we (B.J.) lived and I was at the bathroom window. She comes up to the window and calls out to me “I want to show you something.” I couldn’t be bothered by any more of her drama. But she was like, “No, you’ve gotta come and see it.” So I go to her apartment and she gave me a guided tour …of her suicide scene in her bedroom….It was chilling..there was a large American flag draped across her bed and there was a pentagram laid out on the wooden floor…I remember her showing me around it because it was somehow important, but I didn’t know what it meant.”
But it was the bedroom was that shocked Myers the most.
“It was covered floor to ceiling with photos of Hugh Hefner, there were news clippings, magazine articles, everything you could think of. Written across it was something like “Hugh Hefner is the devil.” The whole wall was a shrine saying, ‘I hate Hugh Hefner,’ the crux of her anger was against him. That was the message she wanted to get across to me. She was pointing up at things, showing me around it. She’s put a lot of work into this, it must have taken her days.
Myers said that Young then calmly explained that she planned to kill herself.
She produced a gun and put it into her mouth…lay back on her bed and said, ‘this is how I’m going to do it.’
“It was chilling. We were friends but not the best of friends, I was always bitching about her and her dog, so I was scared. I thought maybe she could shoot me, you know, take me with her, it was all so weird. I thought, I’ve got to get out of here.”
“Myers quickly retreated to her apartment and called the police. LAPD officers arrived soon afterwards and cordoned of the whole of Eastbourne Ave.”
Myers said, “The cops didn’t want to go in her apartment first, so they asked me to go check on her, so I did.”
“I walked into her apartment and they were behind me. I walked into her bedroom and she was lying dead on the bed. She had shot herself in the head as she told me she would. There was a huge mass of blood, her whole bed was soaked red, it was shocking. But she looked happy and very peaceful, she didn’t look in distress.”
“The cops had Paige’s suicide note and read some of it to me…the whole thing was about her anger towards the men who she believed had chewed her up and spat her out. The two men who got the most attention were Hugh Hefner and the director John Huston. I know she dated Huston for a while and had just gotten back from a trip to Ireland with him.”
Paige expressed anger to other Hollywood stars who had used her.
“I believe Paige was making a huge statement in a bid to get at the elite of Hollywood…She thought the story of her death would spark a big scandal, but it didn’t. Sadly no one cared.”
Paige in the late 1960s by Peter Gowland.
and says she was told by Paige Young that a member of Hefner’s entourage filmed and had possession of a tape (or film possibly) of her in a sexual situation filmed at the Playboy mansion. And she was very afraid of it “getting out.”
I now know that this was almost certainly David Shane. A never known and long forgotten Playboy mansion guy.
At Paige’s “staged” suicide scene, a wall in her room was dedicated to images of Hugh Hefner and her hatred of him along with the pentagram and american flag.
Why did Paige “blame” her suicide on Hefner and others? Why is the mural dedicated to Hugh Hefner exclusively?
Evidence points to at least one factor being the above mentioned sex tape she appeared in, and its’ association with the Playboy mansion scene.
Below is a photo of the death certificate copy I obtained. A partial autopsy/police report copy is included in the Daily Mail story, but not the death certificate.
Reporter Ryan Parry of the Daily Mail discovered that Paige did not die of a drug overdose as is stated in “The Playmate Book” and several websites, but actually committed suicide from a gunshot wound to the head, per an autopsy report and death certificate as one can see.
On April 9 Price-Daniel Mortuary handles Paige’s death services. Her cremation takes place at Roosevelt Memorial Park in Gardena. Burial of her ashes to take place at sea near Santa Monica shoreline.
It is unknown how the (false) story of Paige overdosing on drugs started to be written and repeated on the internet so much that it became her “official” means of suicide.
Is the Playmate Book the source?
This book is a compendium of all the named Playmates or “Sweethearts” that were named so in the magazine since the first issue in 1953 up to the date of publication. Marilyn Monroe was the first “Sweetheart” to appear in Playboy up to the date of publication.
An update on the lives of the women accompanies each entry.
From an article in 2007 upon the death of Anna Nicole Smith. The Playmate Books are updated about every 10 years.
Paige Young’s entry says she died of a drug overdose in 1974.
Paige’s suicide appears to have never been reported in the Los Angeles media, in 1974 or since.
UPDATE: 5/12/2023 I have spoken with one friend who says she heard it on a radio station report and doesn’t remember much more.
I have not yet found any death, obituary or memorial announcement.
This is one reason I was motivated to research more about Paige Young.
What about the alleged sex tape?
A well known part of Hefner’s biography is that he was fascinated by audio and video technology.
He collected cutting edge home video, film cameras, projectors, and stereo equipment, before they were available to the mass consumer.
In the early decades of the magazine, Playboy magazine often featured an ideal “bachelor pad” decked out with the finest stereo equipment and other electronic gadgets, sure to impress the ladies, (or other men) like a Cadillac or Picasso painting might. In fact Playboy magazine invented the template for the “Bachelor” magazines of the 1950s.
One of the clips shown in the opening of Secrets of Playboy, features a 1970s Hugh Hefner speaking to reporters at a press conference about his “electronic equipment in the mansion,” including cameras and “sometimes stuff happens in the bedroom.”
Secrets of Playboy revealed accounts of sexual acts being filmed by Hugh Hefner, or others, at his mansion in Holmby Hills. (See interviews with Sondra Theodore, Butler Stefan Tetenbaum and others.)
Secrets…shows an interview with former head of Playmate Promotions Miki Garcia, reading her work notes about actor Tony Curtis. Curtis, through his lawyer, was highly upset about Tony’s appearance in sex tapes filmed at the mansion. Curtis was a regular Mansion guy for decades.
Stories of sex tapes or films, go back to the Chicago mansion days: an ex-girlfriend of Hefner’s, with help from one of his secretaries, snuck into the mansion and retrieved “her” tape. This incident was told to Russell Miller, and published in his book Bunny: The Real Story of Playboy.
It doesn’t seem a stretch to believe that Paige was filmed at the Playboy mansion and that it would be shown to some type of an audience. And Hefner had cameras and film or tape.
There are reports of Hefner ordering the tapes and films destroyed before his death, by sinking them in the ocean.
Allegedly, Hefner had become fearful after friend and frequent Playboy model Pamela Anderson had her, and her husband Tommy Lee’s, private sex tapes stolen and released to the public.
“Hugh Hefner dumped a casket full of his private sex tapes into the sea before he passed away, insiders have revealed.
The Playboy founder chucked his collection of sex tapes into the Pacific ocean because he feared that his most famous and secret conquests would be exposed, sources told The Sun.
It comes as the Playboy founder’s most personal belongings are being auctioned off later this month.
But while his signature pipe, dressing gowns and other items are currently on show to the public before they go under the hammer, paranoid Hefner made sure his dirtiest secrets would never be found.
The veteran Hollywood lothario, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 91, gathered up his entire hidden collection of tapes, X-rated photos and even intimate notes from superstars.
He then threw them all in a specially-made casket lined with cement and had his aides dump them in the sea.
Hefner’s trusted head of security at the Playboy Mansion Joe Piastro – who died in 2011 – is believed to have overseen the burial.
“Hugh was terrified of the world finding out everything about his past,” a source revealed. “He had kept a treasure chest of memories of his life with all these beautiful women dating back from the 1950s to the mid-1990s.”
“He only shared a few of the stories with his aides, but kept his personal items of his time with many famous beauties a secret.
“There was a batch of tapes, shot on 8 mm and cinefilm, which were filmed during some of the orgies he enjoyed in the 70s.
“Some famous male movie stars too were in those videos and had that come out it would have been a huge scandal.
“Hef also had thousands of photographs taken at photo shoots or given to him by the girls over the years.
“Marilyn [Monroe] was definitely in them as well as many superstars who graced the pages of his magazine.
“Some of the women were in relationships and others never even made the magazine, but simply were partying with him.
“He had hundreds of other photographs of women who were not famous, but he had enjoyed one nights stands with or even short relationships. There were also audio tapes too.
“In the 1990s, he had concerns about these personal items being stolen and sold around the world … it filled him with dread.
“What actually sparked his concern was when Pamela had her tape with Brett Michaels aired and then Tommy Lee.
“He got so upset and paranoid that he decided it was best to have them disappear. He didn’t trust people to burn them in case they got stolen, so he charged Joe with getting rid of them in the ocean.
“Joe had been his trusted head of security for years and had saved Hugh from many embarrassing situations in the past.
“So he decided that Joe should go out in the middle of the ocean with the cask and dump it all.
“Hugh explained that he didn’t want anyone’s lives, marriages or careers to be destroyed by what he had In his library. Joe did it and never told anyone.”
Hefner decided to take action in the late 90s as parties at the Playboy mansion were becoming wilder.
“The parties at the mansion were becoming grander affairs and it was difficult to control where guests were going,” the source added.
“He was terrified that some of this material would be stolen and the leaked out.
“After what [Anderson] had told him, he was certain that this material was best lost rather than locked away.
“He even worried that if anything happened to him it could get in the wrongs hands and hurt those who were still alive.” END.
Former Playboy employee Lisa Loving Barrett says in Secrets of Playboy, that she had heard the the ocean burial story and has reason to believe it is true.
I am going to conclude: Paige Young’s case is an early example of what later became known as a “sex tape scandal,” and more recently “revenge porn.” It is one that never went public though. It seems to have remained firmly swept under the rug by people at Playboy, at the time that it happened and in subsequent decades.
I was told by an individual working on the Secrets of Playboy docu-series that the team had learned of the existence of a “female fixer,” working for Hef in Los Angeles in the early and mid-1970s.
This was almost certainly a woman named Joni Mattis for reasons I will write about soon.
I did not see this information of a female fixer, included in the series.
It give context to the fact that Paige’s suicide scene, mural and notes left behind naming Hefner and his friends and other Hollywood high level types, and there was a chance it could go public; certainly this presented a problem that would desperately need to be “fixed.”
April of 1974 was a particularly not a good time for bad publicity to be attached to Hefner/Playboy, Bobbie Arnstein, Hefner’s long-time loyal and equally troubled Chicago secretary, had been arrested for drugs in front of the Chicago Playboy Mansion.
This happened only two weeks previous to Paige’s suicide. (Secrets of Playboy has an episode about Bobbie Arnstein.)
San Francisco Examiner Mar. 22, 1974
Brief Context: Hugh Hefner had been spending more and more time in Los Angeles since meeting 18-year-old Barbi Benton in 1968 on the set of his TV show:Playboy After Dark, filmed at CBS Studio on Fairfax.
Hef was looking for a property in LA. Driving around one day in 1971, Barbi stumbled upon the soon-to-be famous mansion in Holmby Hills.
Back at the Chicago mansion, Bobbie Arnstein was feeling increasingly left out and let down by Hefner, who had been dependent on her for many years to manage his life basically
She was struggling with drug abuse, an eating disorder and grief from her boyfriends.
Bobbie had shared with a few friends that she was frustrated in not receiving more public credit and a commensurate salary, for her years of dedication to Playboy the corporation, and Hugh Hefner, her boss, mentor and friend.
Despite these conflicted feelings, in 1975 Bobbie was supposed to relocate to the west coast and continue as Hefner’s secretary. Tragically, she killed herself shortly before that scheduled date arrived.
The local police were friendly and on good terms with Hef and welcomed at the mansion, say several former employees in Secrets of Playboy.
Former police were employed by Hef as security guards on many occasions.
The local police would have attended Paige’s suicide scene and written the report. (See chapter LAPD suicide report.) And word of this would have made it to the Mansion in short order. Possibly to the “female fixer,” before Hefner himself.
Math figures show Paige’s age on mortuary paperwork. 1974-1944
In the fall of 1974, Bobbie Arnstein was given a 15-year provisional jail sentence for a drug trafficking crime that she did not commit; it was a set-up by whoever in the Government, certainly the Chicago prosecutor.
Bobbie was a drug abuser and probably involved in purchasing and distributing drugs to friends and maybe friends of friends, according to Secrets of Playboy.
The zealous prosecutors wanted Bobbie to implicate Hugh Hefner in drug trafficking and she refused. It appears to me that Hefner was innocent of formal organized drug trafficking. He admitted to having “laissez-faire” attitude about the numerous guests at the mansion; he certainly wasn’t going to search them for drugs!
At the end of the year 1974, and 8 months after Paige Young’s suicide, Hugh Hefner appeared with girlfriend of 6 years, Barbi Benton, on the cover of People Magazine. Hef and Barbi were pictured showing off the Holmby Hills mansion.
At the date of publication, Chicago secretary Bobbie Arnstein was about 6 weeks away from her fatal suicide after a few previously failed attempts. She praised Hugh Hefner in her suicide note.
Inside this issue is a photo of Hef with Joni Mattis, his long time assistant and Playmate and lover in 1960. Apparently Joni was as devoted to Hef and Playboy as Bobbie.
Loyal aid, Joni Mattis and Hugh Hefner, 1974, Playboy Mansion West. Mattis died in 1999 at the age of 60.
Category: 1970s, 1970s Tagged: #Paige Young, 1974, A&E, Barbi Benton, Bunny, Creamation, Daily Mail December 2014, Donna Cotterell, Donna Holroyd, Gardena, Holmby Hills, Hugh Hefner, John Huston, Joni Mattis, LA History, LA Locations, LAPD, Miki Garcia, Paige Young, Peter Gowland, Playboy Mansion Parties, Playboy Playmate, Price-Daniel Mortuary, Richard Sample, Roosevelt Memorial Park and Mortuary, Russell Miller, Santa Monica beach, Santa Monica California, Secrets of Playboy, Sondra Theodore, suicide, Tony Curtis, Westwood