Playboy Playmate Paige Young 1968–1969 Most Public Year.
I was interviewed about Paige Young for an upcoming documentary series on Playboy and Hugh Hefner. Some people may be interested in knowing more about Paige Young’s life. I have been researching this topic since 2015.
I have some writing in my background but I’m not a professional.
For the purposes of publishing an article on Medium, I will be leaving out the story of Paige Young’s childhood and family in Los Angeles.
Instead I will focus on the last 6 years of Paige’s life: 1968 the year she was Playmate, up to April 1974 when she ended her life by a gunshot to her head.
It will be probably be around 5 entries.
Paige Young was born Diana Lee Cotterell in 1944 at a Christian Science maternity hospital on Griffith Park Blvd. Los Angeles.
She was named Playboy Magazine’s Playmate of the Month for November 1968.
Paige’s centerfold feature was credited to LA native, professional pinup photographer and contributor to Playboy since the early 1950s: Peter Gowland. Peter’s wife Alice ran the sales and finances of their photography business and also worked with Peter on photoshoots.
Along with the centerfold of Paige, her Playmate story is that of a full-time painter who admits to the difficulty of this endeavor, but loves the fact that “My time is my own.” Paige lives in Malibu, is a scuba diver and gourmet cook who loves to host beach cookouts for friends. She can often be seen running on the beach with her Weimaraner named Joshua.
Paige hates the “9–5 doldrums.”
All this information appears to be true.
Maybe you already know that Paige Young’s other claim to fame is appearing on internet lists and articles about Playboy Playmates who died before their time. (See “About” page.)
1969 is clearly Paige’s most documented year: She travelled the US, Canada and Japan, as part of her contract with Playboy to make paid appearances and give interviews to promote the TV show Playboy After Dark 1968–1970.
And basically to function as a brand ambassador.
Because these appearances were covered by the local news media, in particular the newspapers, there is a lot of documentation this year of Paige Young’s otherwise unknown life.
What follows are several newspaper articles I found from 1968 and 1969 on a newspaper archive website.
Take the time to read the articles, if you want a little insight into the person who was self-named, Paige Young. I apologize for the quality of a few of them.
Some articles are revealing and most appear to be basically truthful.
Paige gives a few contradictory answers on the topic of weight gain/loss for centerfold approval. And age.
A trip to the Boston Auto Show was likely Paige Young’s first stop on the tour, Oct. 26-Nov. 2, 1968. It makes Paige the Playmate of the current issue of Playboy magazine during the event.
A reader named Daniel contacted me by e-mail and shared his memories of Paige Young.
“I met Paige when I was 14. She was signing autographs at the Boston car show in late 1968. We talked about art. She was intelligent, beautiful, and kind. I’m looking to find original art by her as I think she was a great artist who was hobbled by her beauty.”
“I vividly remember Paige. She was beautiful and intelligent.”
“ I was 14 years old. My friend had dared me to ask her to sign the centerfold, but she politely demurred and signed the first page of her pictorial which was a headshot. She also gave me an autographed photo. Unfortunately, my grandmother was horrified and it was all confiscated and thrown away.I told her that I admired her portrait of Truman Capote and she immediately brightened. She said art was what she “really wanted to do.”
I would love to find paintings by her to buy. But I imagine that not many survived.”
Thank you Daniel, very much appreciated.
One stop in a busy April of 1969: Minneapolis.
Akron’s Dick Shippy not impressed with Hefner and Playboy; likes Paige.
Last sentence of article reads: “safe to assume she knew she was on a fools errand. One might also assume that puts her one up on the man from Playboy.”
An appearance with Playmate of the Year 1967 Lisa Baker in Fresno. Also April of 1969.
The terms Playmate and Bunny became interchangeable in the media very quickly.
Paige had a non-Playboy gig in April of 1969 which was widely advertised through newspaper wire services.
In March and April, images of Paige wearing a polka dot bikini appeared in dozens of US and Canadian newspapers; she was named “Queen of the Fleet” for the first annual Desert Sailboat Regatta, to take place in the fairly new city of Lake Havasu City, Arizona. (LHC)
I feel some context here is important so briefly:
“Lake Havasu City is in western Arizona. It’s known as a base for trails in the nearby desert and water sports on Lake Havasu. London Bridge, relocated from England, links the mainland to marinas and a looped path in an area known as the Island.”
Lake Havasu City, Arizona was established in 1963 after businessman Robert McCulloch purchased the land in 1958.
McCulloch bought the London Bridge in 1968 when the City of London placed it for auction. He had an idea that it would be a successful lure for tourists and potential home buyers.
McCulloch bought 100s of ads in different newspapers across the US, from LA to Davenport, he promoted a vacation to LHC or as a land investment.
Below is only one example.
LHC placed the London bridge about 1 year after Paige appeared as “Queen of the Fleet.” McCulloch was advertising it way before.
Queen Paige Young and the Regatta Sailing event, were designed by McColloch to advertise the marvelous boating and water recreation activities available in LHC.
And hey, maybe you will enjoy yourself so much you will want to live in Lake Havasu City year round!
As you can see, this particular photograph of “Queen of the Fleet,” was a popular one. I didn’t include all of them.
This article below from the Long Beach, CA. Independent (April 16, 1969) mentions Robert McCulloch as regatta chairman and details information about the boats entered. Probably because it’s covered by the “Outdoor” section of the paper.
With the exception of the last, this next set of clippings all say that Paige was a “graduate of Van Nuys High School.”
I have researched classmates.com for many hours, in the years she would have attended and/or graduated: 1959–1962.
I have been unable to find any Paige Young or Diana Cotterell in the VNHS yearbook, nor can I find her class photo in yearbooks of near by Grant High School, North Hollywood High School or Birmingham High School.
The wire service photos never mention Paige’s title of Playboy Playmate, but the local Lake Havasu City paper does. Below.
I haven’t found any Paige Young newspaper articles for May of 1969 but there were many in June and July.
Note Paige’s mention of her studio in Venice, Ca. She refers to her new home studio there in several interviews from 68/69. Where she says “Many young artists working with the new materials,” she is referring to her neighbors in Venice: “Light and Space” artists DeWain Valentine, Larry Bell and Robert Irwin. Much more on this in my next chapter 1970/71.
July of 1969
Marina Del Rey
In the summer of 69, Paige’s interview for an article in “West,” an LAT magazine, is published. The article features a few young people who reside in the “geographically desirable” community of Marina Del Rey.
I include only the parts of the article involving Paige.
Article tells about hip Marina Del Rey, considered “G.D.” It stands for “geographically desirable.”
As opposed to the San Fernando Valley or Pasadena I guess.
Doesn’t Paige live in Malibu and Venice?
May 2021: I interviewed boyfriend and fellow artist Richard Sample, he told me about the last time he saw Paige. She was living in a houseboat on the Marina. Around 69 or 70.
August of 1969, this photo appeared one week after the Tate/LaBianca murders in Paige’s hometown of Los Angeles.
The last documented Playboy appearance (that I have found so far) Paige makes in 1969,(or ever) is in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, for a winter sports and snowmobile show. The show is has many promotion ads in the local newspaper and Paige’s appearance is touted as one of the highlights.
But when it gets to the big day,
Devin Sheedy, women’s snowmobile speed record holder, steps in for an ailing Paige Young.
There was another journalist from the Edmonton Journal who received an invitation to meet Paige Young at the Ebony Room.
His name is Nick Lees.
In 1981, Nick wrote about the experience.
I will end this chapter with Nick Lees’ quotes from an interview by journalist Michael Hingston, early 2000s. He appears to have softened his feelings about Paige Young.
I thank Edmonton writer Michael Hingston for sending me this portion of his notes that were not included in his published story.
Next entry will cover what is known about Paige from 1970.