Bondage Queen Bettie Page Dies at 85

Crop-banged 1950s pin-up siren Bettie Page died in a Los Angeles hospital on Thursday from pneumonia. She was 85.

Before embarking on her iconic modeling career, Page had initially obtained her teaching degree from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College  of education in Nashville, Tennessee.

As the story goes, Bettie opted out of an academic career path because of her looks.

“I couldn’t control my students, especially the boys,” Bettie famously said.

She went down the path of modeling when she met a police officer who dabbled in photography. He suggested her trademark haircut.

By 1955, she had appeared in Playboy magazine wearing nothing but a Santa Claus hat.

“She became, in time, an American icon, her winning smile and effervescent personality apparent in every pose,” Playboy founder Hugh Hefner told CNN. “A kinky connection was added by Irving Klaw’s spanking, fetish and bondage photos, which became part of the Bettie Page mystique. They were playful parodies that are now perceived as the early inspiration for Madonna’s excursions into the realm of sexual perversion.”

Although she had a religious awakening and dropped out of modeling by 1958, raven-haired Page went on to launch generations of imitators.

Her influential look and smoldering sexuality is visible today in stars such as burlesque diva Dita Von Teese, pop star Gwen Stefani, Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody and grunge goddess Courtney Love.

Perhaps Entertainment Weekly said it best today: “Although it’s a cliche, there really is no truer summation than to say, they just don’t make ‘em like they used to.”