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.

Playboy Magazine November 1968

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.

Paige with her painting of Truman Capote for Playboy magazine. She says he is her favorite author and hopes to gift with him with the portrait someday.

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.

The Observer, Bossier City, La. Nov. 22, 1968
The Target, Rock Island, Ill. Nov. 29, 1968

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.

The Boston Globe November 1, 1968
Bud Collins was a well known newspaper sports columnist and TV commentator, NBC Wimbledon coverage for many years.

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.

Minneapolis Star. April 08, 1969. Paige has recently turned 25. Also below.
Minneapolis Star April 08, 1969

Akron’s Dick Shippy not impressed with Hefner and Playboy; likes Paige.

Dick Shippy was a 40 year newspaper writer in Akron covering TV, film, radio, drama and sports.
Akron Beacon Journal. April 13, 1969

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.

Fresno Bee April 1969


Miami Herald April 20, 1969

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)

Shreveport, LA. March 27, 1969

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.”

wikipedia definition

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.

Quad City Times. Davenport, Iowa June 28, 1969

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 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.

Lake Havasu City Herald April, 1969.
Van Nuys News April 3, 1969
Hollywood Citizen-News April, 4, 1969
Evening Vanguard, Venice, CA. April 5, 1969

The wire service photos never mention Paige’s title of Playboy Playmate, but the local Lake Havasu City paper does. Below.

Arizona Republic April, 1969. The Carrikers were from Phoenix.

I haven’t found any Paige Young newspaper articles for May of 1969 but there were many in June and July.

Central New Jersey Home News June 6th, 1969
Reporter Gabe Sato seems charmer by Paige. (Not an uncommon response I found in published interviews.) The interview included visiting the NYC Playboy Club.
Paige was a guest on the Joe Franklin show during this trip to the NYC area. I found out that no record of Franklin’s interviews from those days exists. I have not found any televised recordings of Paige Young interviews but she did at least a few.
Philadelphia Inquirer June 27, 1969

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.

Lives in Malibu and Venice, Ca.
Complimentary of Paige and disdainful of Hefner and Playboy was a common theme in many of these articles featuring Paige’s interviews.
Also Montreal, The Star. July 2, 1969. Recently found on 1/22/22. Reporter tells us about his tounge tied reaction to Paige Young. New information about Paige: Modeling as a job before Playboy. Otherwise, same answers as seen in numerous interviews.

July of 1969

Philadelphia Inquirer July 3rd 1969. The radio show Contact was hosted by a then unknown Tom Snyder.

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.

July 20, 1969 West magazine from the Los Angeles Times

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.

Atlanta Constitution. Aug. 16, 1969 Paige also visited the Playboy Club in Atlanta as she did in NYC. Playboy Club Atlanta threw a party in honor of this new TV station Channel 36 per VIP magazine. The new station carried Playboy After Dark, which Paige was promoting and appeared on in a “non-speaking” role.
Mention of Paige in Atlanta from VIP magazine for Playboy Club keyholders. Winter 1969. No photos of the event were carried in this issue of VIP.

September Japan

Paige visits troops stationed in Japan. From Stars and Stripes US military magazine. Sept. 29, 1969
Detroit Free Press Nov. 9, 1968. Playboy had a connection to the US troops in Vietnam; visits of Playmates, Playboy magazines distributed to the soldiers and centerfolds hung in barracks like you see in the movie Apocalypse Now.

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.

Edmonton Journal. Sept. 22 1969.
I interviewed the owner of Eros Gallery mentioned in this article. Paige’s boyfriend/friend Richard Sample.
Edmonton Journal Sept. 15, 1969
Edmonton Journal Sept. 19, 1969. Columnist Art Evans shares “personal letter” from Paige Young.
Edmonton Journal Sept. 26, 1969. Sports writer gets same invite from Paige. (Playboy)
Photo below accompanied this article in the Edmonton Journal Sept. 25, 1969 The photographer friend suggesting Playboy is Peter Gowland. I wonder if this reporter received the drink invitation from Paige.
Edmonton Journal Sept 17. 1969. Malibou as in Caribou I guess.

But when it gets to the big day,

Edmonton Journal Sept. 27, 1969

Devin Sheedy, women’s snowmobile speed record holder, steps in for an ailing Paige Young.

Edmonton Journal Sept 28, or 29, 1969

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.

Does this explain Paige’s sudden illness that caused her to back out on the presentation? Nick Lees doesn’t indicate if he was aware of Paige’s suicide in 1974. Dental assistant from Sacramento is unlikely.

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.




I’m transferring a portion of my website about Paige Young to Medium.

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