EXCLUSIVE: Passed around by Bill Cosby, Hugh Hefner and dozens of Hollywood honchos – this is the Playboy Playmate of the Month who felt so used and abused by the most powerful leading men she took a gun and shot herself in the head
- Paige Young was the November 1968 Playmate of the Month and the magazine’s centerfold
- Bill Cosby was obsessed with Young who had caught his eye during his many visits to the glitzy Playboy Club
- She was 30 when she took a .38 caliber pistol and shot herself in the head
- In a scene reminiscent of a 1970s B-movie,Young’s friend and former model Melanie Myers found Paige’s lifeless body lying on a blood soaked American flag on her double bed
- ‘The cops had Paige’s suicide note and read some of it to me,’ Myers recalls
- ‘The whole thing was about her anger towards the men who she believed had chewed her up and spat her out’
Passed around by dozens of Hollywood leading men over a decade former Playboy model Paige Young had become damaged goods.
When she turned 30 in 1974 her star had faded and she felt used, abused and unwanted by the Hollywood establishment.
And in an astonishing tale of tragedy a MailOnline investigation can today reveal the truth behind this American beauty’s demise.
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Anguish: Paige Young – Playboy Playmate of the Month in November 1968 – shot herself in the head in a bid she thought would send a powerful message to the men who had tormented her for so long. She signed this photo for her dear friend, DJ Jonny King
Besties: Bill Cosby and Hugh Hefner are longtime friends. Cosby was obsessed with Young who had caught his eye during his many visits to the glitzy Playboy Club where she worked on Hollywood’s Sunset strip
‘Paige always seemed in a stupor, a daze, like he was controlling her. All I remember is that their relationship wasn’t healthy,’ says Tamara Green, herself a victim of Cosby’s
We have learned that Young – Playboy Playmate of the Month in November 1968 – shot herself in the head in a bid she thought would send a powerful message to the men who she believed had tormented her for so long.
Last week it emerged that one of her tormentors may have been legendary comedian Bill Cosby.
Young’s name was mentioned in media reports along with the dozens of women who have made shocking allegations of rape and sexual assault against the comic.
Very little was known of Young and Cosby’s encounter but her story is all the more intriguing given her death.
Now MailOnline can reveal that Cosby in fact dated Young for months at the height of her fame.
One of Cosby’s victims, attorney Tamara Green, knew Paige from modeling circles and recalls seeing the pair together.
Tamara Green recalls that she ran into Paigewhile in El Paso, Texas around 1970 and learned she was dating Bill Cosby.
‘I was there seeing my boyfriend and Paige called me and said Bill was on tour and she was travelling with him.
‘They picked me up at my friend’s house and I remember sitting in the back of a stretched black limo with them both and Bill wanted to score some drugs.
‘I called around and found a bag of pot some place on the edge of El Paso.
‘Paige was in to her drugs and Bill wanted to get her some, she was along on the trip like his pet dog, she was a very subdued person, more like moon on the water in terms of her personality.
‘They were clearly well acquainted with each other, it didn’t seem like a new thing. As far as I know they dated for a while.
‘Paige always seemed in a stupor, a daze, like he was controlling her. All I remember is that their relationship wasn’t healthy.’
‘Paige was a young thing who was very much taken advantage of by the men of Hollywood, she was intelligent and talented, it’s a tragedy what happened to her.’
Cosby – whom has recently become the subject of at least 17 sex attack allegations dating back to the late 60s and 70s – was obsessed with Young who had caught his eye during his many visits to the glitzy Playboy Club where she worked on Hollywood’s Sunset strip.
Cosby was also a regular at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles as he and Hugh Hefner began working on many projects together.
Young was found dead on April 7, 1974 in her West Hollywood apartment. In a scene reminiscent of a 1970s B-movie the model’s lifeless body was discovered lying on a blood soaked American flag on her double bed
The full extent of if or how Cosby contributed to the young starlet’s demise may never be known.
But what is clear is that she would later blame him and a host of other Hollywood stars for her fragile state of mind that led to her suicide.
Young was found dead on April 7, 1974 in her West Hollywood apartment.
In a scene reminiscent of a 1970s B-movie the model’s lifeless body was discovered lying on a blood soaked American flag on her double bed.
It was Palm Sunday and she came to tell me she was going to kill herself.
Melanie Myers, Paige Young’s friend and neighbor
In her right hand was the .38 caliber revolver she had used to blow her brains out.
The Playboy beauty wore a peaceful grin on her face – a suggestion that she had found solace in death away from the torment of life.
MailOnline spoke with a friend and neighbor of Young who discovered the astonishing scene and who talked with Young just minutes before she took her own life.
Former model Melanie Myers, who still lives in Hollywood, remembers that fateful day clearly.
‘Paige had the whole thing planned out down to the last detail,’ she said.
‘It was Palm Sunday and she came to tell me she was going to kill herself.
‘She stayed in the back house of the duplex where we lived and I was at the bathroom window.
‘She comes up to the window and calls out to me, “I want to show you something.”
‘I was like, “What are you up to now Paige?”, I couldn’t be bothered with any more of her drama.
‘But she was like “No you’ve gotta come and see it”. So I go to her apartment and she gave me a guided tour of her suicide scene in her bedroom.’
Myers says that what she found still haunts her today.
Former model Melanie Myers, who still lives in Hollywood, remembers that fateful day clearly. ‘Paige had the whole thing planned out down to the last detail,’ she told MailOnline
Myers says Paige gave her ‘a guided tour’ of her suicide scene in her bedroom before she actually killed herself. What she found still haunts her today
‘It was chilling,’ she recalls. ‘There was a large American flag draped across her bed and there was a pentagram laid out on the wooden floor.’
A pentagram is the shape of a five-pointed star drawn with five straight strokes and was used in ancient times as a Christian symbol for the five wounds of Christ.
Myers added: ‘I remember her showing me around it because it was somehow important, but I didn’t know what it meant.’
But it was the bedroom wall that shocked Myers the most.
‘It was covered floor to ceiling with photos of Hugh Hefner,’ she said.
‘There were news clippings, magazine articles, everything you could think of. Written across it was something like: “Hugh Hefner is the devil”.
‘The whole wall was a shrine saying, “I hate Hugh Hefner”, the crux of her anger was against him.
‘That was the message she wanted to get across to me. She was pointing up at things, showing me around it.
‘She’d put a lot of work into this, it must have taken her days.’
Myers said that Young then calmly explained that she planned to kill herself.
She produced a gun and put it in to her mouth.
‘Paige lay back on her bed, put the gun in her mouth and said, ”this is how I’m going to do it”,’ recalls Myers.
‘It was chilling. We were friends but not the best of friends, I was always bitching about her and her dog, so I was scared.
Tamara Green, who told her story of being sexually assaulted by Cosby to MailOnline, said he and Paige had an abusive affair in which married Cosby plied Young with cannabis and prescription pills and kept her at his beck and call
Green brands the comic legend a ‘sexual predator’ and claims the star gave her pills when she was sick with the flu and pretended to care for her
Green, now 66 and a retired California attorney, says Cosby stripped her naked, groped and kissed her as she screamed for help
‘I thought maybe she could shoot me, you know take me with her, it was all so weird. I thought I’ve got to get out of there.’
There was a huge mass of blood, her whole bed was soaked red, it was shocking.
Myers quickly retreated to her apartment and called the police.
LAPD officers arrived soon afterwards and cordoned off the whole of Eastbourne Avenue.
‘The cops didn’t want to go in to her apartment first so they asked me to go check on her, so I did,’ said Myers.
Paige had been to Ireland with famed director and actor John Huston before her suicide
‘I walked in to her apartment and they were behind me. I walked in to her bedroom and she was lying dead on the bed.
‘She had shot herself in the head as she had told me she would.
‘There was a huge mass of blood, her whole bed was soaked red, it was shocking.
‘But she looked happy and very peaceful, she didn’t look in distress.’
Myers, 66, now a Hollywood astrologer who runs a firm called Xtrology, ran from the room in shock, pushing past the line of cops behind her.
She stayed in her own apartment until police officers came to see her to get a statement.
‘The cops had Paige’s suicide note and read some of it to me,’ she recalls.
‘The whole thing was about her anger towards the men who she believed had chewed her up and spat her out.
‘The two men who got the most attention were Hugh Hefner and the director John Huston. I know she dated Huston for a while and had just gotten back from a trip to Ireland with him.
‘She also vented against all the other Hollywood stars who had used her.
‘Paige died because of celebrities like Huston and Bill Cosby, 100%. She was used and spat out, that’s how she felt and she couldn’t go on.
Cosby and Hefner hoot it up at the Playboy mansion in 2010
‘Paige was abused by everybody. These men had treated her like dirt.’
MailOnline has also found the 1974 coroner’s report on Young’s death.
The report corroborates Myers’ version of events listing the ‘cause of death’ as: ‘Gunshot wound to head’ and noting a ‘condition contributing to death’ was ‘suicide’.
The brief report, compiled by the LA county Chief Medical Examiner, states: ‘Decedent [person who has died] found in residence by friend Melanie Myers, decedent lying on bed w/38 revolver in RT hand.’
It added: ‘Possible [suicide] note at scene.’
Before now little was known of the brunette beauty who had burst on to the scene as Hugh Hefner’s Playmate of the month in November 1968.
She traveled the country doing media interviews and public appearances after appearing on the front cover of the renowned magazine.
And as her fame expanded the young model and talented painter embraced the attention that came with it.
But 40 years on very little detail of Young’s career or death can be found.
Fact files for Young state she was born in Los Angeles in June 1944 and she measured a stunning 36-24-36” at the height of her modeling career.
Memorial site findagrave.com wrongly claims that she passed away from an overdose of sleeping tablets, as does the site whosaliveandwhosdead.com.
And website allstarpics.net, which features several glamour shots of the brunette, incorrectly claims she committed ‘suicide by barbiturate overdose’.
DJ Jonnie King is among those with fond memories of Young. Now 73 King met the model when he interviewed her for his late night show on national radio station KAAY in 1969, the year after her centerfold appeared in Playboy
In an interview that went alongside her centerfold appearance in the November 1968 issue of Playboy, Young described herself as a struggling painter who liked being alone and dreamed of one day studying in Paris.
In one picture she poses topless next to an easel and some paint brushes.
She claimed friends would describe her as ‘creative, intense, ambitious, perceptive, uninhibited and natural’ and listed her main weakness as her ‘desire to be alone,’ adding, ‘It’s probably selfish’.
Painting for a living is a struggle. I have to work at it.
Young was quoted as saying, ‘If people would just sit down and really talk to, instead of at, each other, I’m sure they’d be a lot happier.’
Speaking about her art career she told the magazine, ‘Painting for a living is a struggle. I have to work at it, but at least my time is my own and I’m working for myself – not for some impersonal corporation.’
Young also said she enjoyed ‘invigorating romps along the shore and peaceful strolls through the woods’ as well as gourmet cooking.
To those who knew the pretty model her death was a terrible loss.
Young’s friend and former lover Richard Sample, a fellow artist who once lived with the model in Venice, California said she was a beautiful person ‘inside and out’.
‘I remember when she died. Photographer Peter Gowland called me and asked me if I had seen Paige as he said she had vanished.
‘A couple of days later I found out she had been found dead in her apartment. I was devastated.
‘Everyone was told she had taken an overdose, but that’s obviously not the case.
‘Her death was very sad news, we were all so shocked.’
MailOnline has also discovered the 1974 coroner’s report on Young’s death.The report corroborates Myers’ version of events listing the ‘cause of death’ as: ‘Gunshot would to head’ and noting a ‘condition contributing to death’ was ‘suicide’. The brief report, compiled by the LA county Chief Medical Examiner, states: ‘Decedent (person who has died) found in residence by friend Melanie Myers, decedent lying on bed w/38 revolver in RT hand.’It added: ‘Possible (suicide) note at scene’
Sample said he witnessed first hand how Young was sucked in to the glitzy Hollywood lifestyle that would eventually lead to her death.
‘She would spend a lot of time with that Hefner group, I was never happy about it,’ he said.
‘I would go up to the Playboy Club to see her, she worked long hours there as a hostess.
‘I remember one night seeing her speaking closely with Bill Cosby in the club. He was all over her and was in the club all the time.
‘But that was Paige, she would speak to anyone and obviously male celebrities flocked around her. I know she dated several actors.’
She had lots of nice things men had bought her but she got in way over her head.
For friend Melanie Myers, Young was typical of the stream of naïve, young models who flocked to LA to grace the pages of Playboy magazine and work at the glitzy club on Sunset.
The young girl was blown away by the flood of male attention that came with her new-found fame.
‘There was always plenty of men around Paige,’ said Myers. ‘She was an attractive girl and I know she was having sex for things. I didn’t like her lifestyle.
‘She had lots of nice things men had bought her but she got in way over her head.’
Myers said she often went to the Playboy Mansion with Young and says the model often entered the infamous Playboy grotto, where orgies were said to prevail.
‘If you got invited to the Playboy Mansion and you didn’t go in to the grotto, your days were numbered, you’d get kicked.
‘I went two, three times to the mansion but got kicked because I wouldn’t enter the grotto.
‘One of the nights, I was up there with Paige, she was in the grotto that night.
‘When you’re in the grotto, this dingy, cave like place, it’s a sex free-for-all.
‘There were a lot of celebrities up there, celebrity men and young pretty girls.’
Myers said she met with Young just a week before she died and they both went to the sauna together.
Melanie Myers was shown Paige’s suicide note. ‘The whole thing was about her anger towards the men who she believed had chewed her up and spat her out
‘We were talking a lot and Paige was broken-hearted, she had really had it, she was telling me she was getting ready to leave, which I thought meant leave town or the country,’ recalls Myers.
‘She wasn’t saying I was going to kill myself, it was more like, “I’m done with this I’m leaving”, she was really trying to make a change in her life.
‘I encouraged her to slow down and think about things.
‘She told me about all the men who had abused her. She said she had an affair with John Huston, and that he had done things to her, abused her.
‘I remember one incident in which John hid her shoes to make her think she had gone crazy. It was only a small thing but she was really bothered by it.’
Huston is a renowned film director and screenwriter who, during a 46-year career, received 15 Oscar nominations, winning twice.
Four of his marriages ended in divorce and he died in 1987.
In another story Paige confided in Melanie that a relative of a major celebrity had made a sex tape of her.
‘She was terrified of it coming out, in that day you knew your career was going to be over once it got round.
‘For weeks all she could think about was getting hold of that tape, she thought it was going to ruin her.’
Myers says that Young had intended her suicide to hit the headlines.
Cosby and his wife, Camille Hanks, attending a charity benefit in Santa Monica in November 1966
She had set up the elaborate scene in her apartment so it would make great copy for the newspapers and surely cause Hollywood to sit up and listen.
But sadly, according to Myers, her death went relatively unreported.
‘I believe Paige was making a huge statement in a bid to get at the elite of Hollywood,’ she said.
‘She thought the story of her death would spark a big scandal, but it didn’t. Sadly no one cared.’
DJ Jonnie King is among those with fond memories of Young.
I always remembered what a consummate pro she was, a classy lady, a fun lady, a wonderful spirit.
Now 73 King met the model when he interviewed her for his late night show on national radio station KAAY in 1969.
Young flew into Little Rock, Arkansas, for a fashion event just months after her Playboy centerfold.
King – who shared a handful of photos of Young with MailOnline – remembers her as a ‘classy lady’ with a great sense of humor.
He said: ‘I always remembered what a consummate pro she was, a classy lady, a fun lady, a wonderful spirit and I could tell that she was much more than her body showed in the magazine – she had a lot more depth to her.
‘When I heard about her death I was genuinely devastated.’
King, a former actor who worked in Hollywood in the mid Sixties, said he saw first-hand how some women were taken advantage of by certain men in tinsel town.
‘It’s a shame how females were taken advantage of in Hollywood,’ he said.
‘There were a lot of men who thought they could get away with things – there’s so much that goes on there. When I was there in the mid sixties it was that way but then through the late sixties early seventies it got even worse.’
Former Playboy Playmate Victoria Valentino – Miss September 1963 – is another woman who knows all about what Young went through. While she didn’t know Young, Valentino was one of the original Playmates to open the Playboy Club on the Sunset strip in 1964
Valentino said celebrities like Bill Cosby would work the ‘Playboy circuit.’ Valentino, now aged 71, claims Cosby drugged her and a friend at dinner in Hollywood before driving them to a nearby apartment
Former Playboy Playmate Victoria Valentino – Miss September 1963 – is another who knows all about what Young went through.
While she didn’t know Young, Valentino was one of the original Playmates to open the Playboy Club on the Sunset strip in 1964.
‘It was all about smoking pot, getting laid, having orgies, that’s what was going on,’ she said.
‘It became a haven for male celebrities. It was very glitzy, very celebrity driven, it was a very glossy situation.
‘Most of us were taking a lot of uppers just to work the long shifts in three inch heels and those horrendous costumes.
‘If we got too heavy and we didn’t look good in our bunny costume we’d get threatened with being fired.’
She said celebrities like Bill Cosby would work the ‘Playboy circuit’.
It was all about smoking pot, getting laid, having orgies, that’s what was going on.
Victoria Valentino, Former Playboy Playmate
‘You’d see guys like Cosby, like Richard Pryor, like comedian Flip Wilson, singer Gary Crosby and baseball player Sandy Koufax.
‘Word would get round, ‘there was going to be a party, after you get off work go upstairs.’
‘So then a few of us would be solicited for the party after the party. That was kind of sauna, gymnastics on the big round bed, party games, I only went to one of those.’
Valentino said her Playboy boss Hugh Hefner did have strict rules, ‘look but don’t touch’.
She said Playboy bunnies would get fired for giving their phone number out to customers.
But she added: ‘There were certain key holders who we were allowed to date, they were Hef’s friends, the big celebrities who were in his intimate circle and of course Bill Cosby will have fit in to that.’
Valentino soon moved away from the Playboy lifestyle realizing it wasn’t for her.
And last week she became the 16th woman to accuse Bill Cosby of sexual assault.
Valentino, now aged 71, claims Cosby drugged her and a friend at dinner in Hollywood before driving them to a nearby apartment.
She said she pulled Cosby away from her unconscious friend as he tried to rape her – provoking the entertainer to launch an attack on her instead.
The alleged attack took place in February 1970, weeks after Valentino was introduced to Cosby by fellow Playmate Francesca Emerson.
Valentino said she never came forward at the time because she felt she had no credibility.
The claims follow similar accounts by 17 women including supermodel Janice Dickinson and Law & Order star Michelle Hurd – that Cosby’s lawyers have branded ‘illogical’.
Neither Mr. Cosby nor Mr. Hefner responded to MailOnline’s request for comment.
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