Briefly, Bettie Mae Page was born on April 22, 1923 in Nashville, Tennessee. When she was ten years old, Page and her two sisters were put in a foster home for a year while their parents went through a divorce. She graduated with a B. A. from Peabody College for Teachers in 1944, having received a DAR scholarship and taught for a short period of time.
Page moved to New York in 1947 after divorcing her first husband Neal where she tried, and failed, to become an actress. In 1950 Jerry Tibbs, an amateur photographer, suggested that she comb her bangs down. That quickly became (and still is) the classic "Bettie Page look". Typically, Page was paid about $10/hour for her modelling work. Her first fetish/bondage shots were taken in 1951 when Page met Irving Klaw. She started working with her most famous(?) collaborator, Bunny Yeager in 1954. She was Playboy's Playmate of the Month in January 1955.
In case you're wondering, during this time Bettie Page was 5' 5" tall and weighed about 129 pounds.
Abruptly, in 1957 she quit modelling and moved back to the South where she married a couple of times, enrolled in a number of Christian Colleges and became born-again.
Despite becoming a cult icon, Page lived in obscurity until 1993 when Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous tracked her down living in Los Angeles with her brother.
Everything2 editor's note: Bettie Page died in Los Angeles on December 11, 2008.