The Los Angeles Times interviews pin-up queen and inspiration for countless Dave Stevens comic-book covers Bettie Page, now 82 years old, living in seclusion in Southern California, and finally making a good living from all of those photos of her in various states of bondage and/or undress. Others, meanwhile, continue to ponder her seemingly timeless appeal:
During her brief career, she became the obsession of thousands of men -- a fact that mystifies her to this day: "I have no idea why I'm the only model who has had so much fame so long after quitting work."
Writer Harlan Ellison suggested an answer: "There are certain women, even certain men, in whose look there is a certain aesthetic that hits a golden mean. Bettie is that. Marilyn is that."
Richard Foster, one of her two biographers, called her "the trendsetter in American sexuality."
Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner put it another way.
"Exactly what captures the imagination of people in terms of pop culture is something hard to define," Hefner said.
"But in Bettie's case, I'd say it's a combination of wholesome innocence and fetish-oriented poses that is at once retro and very modern."