Monday, August 9, 2010

17 Dead Centerfolds Of The Day (NSFW-ish)

Marilyn Monroe was the first Playboy centerfold to die an early death, but she certainly wasn't the last. Here are 17 more who died from unnatural causes, which is why some people claim there's a Playboy Playmate curse. These are the same people who believe in the Mothman and Bigfoot, so take it for what it's worth.

Curse or not, this is a tragic lineup.


Miss August 1979; Playmate Of The Year 1980
Died 1980 - shot by her husband
Trivia: The film
Star 80 is based on her life and death.


Miss February 1971
Died 1973 - drug overdose
Trivia: Her (nude) photo appeared on the stock certificate of Playboy Enterprises at the time of its first public offering in 1971


Miss June 1955
Died 1977 - airplane crash
Trivia: Former wife of movie director Russ Meyer (
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!)


Miss October 1992
Died 2008 - suicide by drug overdose


Miss July 1970
Died 1971 - auto accident
Trivia: Was part Cherokee


Miss March 1961
Died 1966 - auto accident
Trivia: Another of Playboy's few centerfolds of Native American heritage


Miss April 1965
Died 1969 - suicide
Trivia: At 4'11", was Playboy's shortest centerfold


Miss July 1968
Died 2009 - adverse reaction to pain medication

Trivia: Studied fine art and painting at both the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and the University of Chicago


Miss February 1955
Died 1967 - auto accident
Trivia: Actress; mother of TV actress Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit)


Miss December 1994
Died 2002 - drug overdose
Trivia: Playboy's website listed her death as being from "natural causes."


Miss February 1958
Died 1989 - suicide (unconfirmed)


Miss November 1968
Died 1974 - suicide by barbituate overdose


Miss November 1969; Playmate Of The Year 1970
Died 1979 - auto accident
Trivia: Appeared in an episode of The Brady Bunch as one of the record executives who gives Greg Brady a recording contract ("Adios, Johnny Bravo").


Miss April 1989
Died 2010 - heroin overdose


Miss August 1981
Died 2008 - suicide
Trivia: Killed herself after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer


Miss February 1977
Died 1997 - murdered while prostituting
Trivia: Dated Gene Simmons


Miss May 1992; Playmate Of The Year 1993
Died 2007 - drug overdose


  1. Geez, that's an awful lot of suicides and overdoses. And yet, Hef's old balls live on.

    But, yeah, the Playboy is curse is probably as legit as the SNL curse.

  2. The only one I remember from Playboy was Jennifer Jackson. That photo was epic.

  3. I think that sleeping with the Hef causes adverse reactions. It's his old balls. Wonder if he's considered Scrotox.

  4. My best friend and I made it to the finals in the "Girls of the SEC" edition that came out in 1981. We chickened out at the last minute. Looks like that might have been a life-saving move. I'm sure my kids are relieved--I'd probably have used the picture for my Christmas card for the last 29 years.

  5. There is an old saying that goes something like the hotter a woman is, the lower the self esteem.

    That would explain all the suicides -- and the obscenely obese women with bad complexions, bad dye jobs and bad breath at Wal-Mart wearing TIGHT shorts with exposed overlapping bellies.

    1. Did Paige Young meet Bill Cosby at any time?

    2. Yes. She was Playboy 1968 Playmate in November, then in December he published a short article, then putatively became obsessed with her; then she became his dazed, drugged-out tour companion for over a year. Then after being passed around by other entertainment industry magnates such as John Huston, she shot herself. The above "barbiturate overdose" characterization is a whitewash.

  6. Amazing how natural the centerfolds looked in the 60's and 70's. I wonder if Hugh Hefner's taste was influenced by the advent of plastic surgery, or if plastic surgeons followed Hugh Hefner's lead? The guy certainly likes plastic these days...

    (Psst... Anna Nicole was a playmate in the 90's.)

  7. I don't know why I get the feeling that sooner or later we'll see the Girls Next Door on this list. Not matter what people say, I don't think being a sex toy can be healthy for a person and while I don't think there's a curse, it does seem to lead to a not very pleasant life. And that's why you won't see me gracing the centerfolds of Jugs or Balloon! very soon.

  8. I'm all for the natural ones. At least back then you could tell them apart. Now they all look the same: bleached blonde, plastic, waxed clean, completely Stepford-interchangeable and forgettable. No wonder Playboy is in financial trouble.

    1. Cary -

      You are spot on. That's why I dumped Playboy without prejudice around 2000. Who needs their impersonal Playmate cloning machine when the internet is out there providing beautiful photos of realistic women free of charge?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Paige Young - wow that looks like a contemporary photo not 1968, timelessly beautiful. Sad list. Glad I only have that one drunken sorority photo in a raincoat and umbrella. Thank heavens that was pre-internet.

    1. What's even sadder is the fact that Paige Young actually shot herself, not only after happily showing her neighbor her suicide scene, but leaving messages about how much she hated Hugh Hefner and Bill Cosby. She shot herself in the head lasting on her bed, on an American flag. There are several articles about it, though I can only imagine how much money Playboy pays to keep suicides like that as private as possible. There are just way too many playmates (not even on this list) that are listed to have died from 'natural causes' and 'unknown/not reported' and these are girls dying before age 50...

  10. We got internet now, and I got a scanner. I can help.

  11. You can add Marilyn Monroe to this list, except she wasn't a playmate...

    1. They did not have the term "playmate" at that time, but she was a centerfold and that is the general proper definition of "Playmate", so she is a PM even so.

  12. What a sad list. The world got a little bit uglier with each of their deaths.

    Poor Debbie Boostrom. :(

  13. What's the distinction between posing nude and being a playmate? The centerfold?

    I'm ignorant to these things as I only read it for the articles.

    1. }}} I'm ignorant to these things as I only read it for the articles.

      No doubt you fap to the interviews... LOL.

  14. Anon - thanks, I should've mentioned her.

    Bev - poor Debbie Boostrom indeed. I'd probably do the same thing. Who wants to die like that?

  15. Yes, Lefty, a Playboy Playmate is a woman who was a centerfold. (The only exception to that is Marilyn Monroe, who was the centerfold in the first issue. When it was published, Hugh Hefner hadn't come up with the term "Playmate" yet, so she was called "Sweetheart of the Month." A lot of people consider her a Playmate anyway, despite the technicality.)

    The Playmates are the only ones who fill out those famous data sheets. And typically, when a famous woman poses for the magazine, they don't make her a Playmate; they just give her a photo spread. (The Playmates are supposed to be anonymous "girls next door.")

  16. Thanks, Eric. Sounds like you've done your research.

  17. You have to also add Fern Gerard and Allison Park.

    1. Yeah, there are a lot more dead than just 17 -- if you go to the website "whosaliveandwhosdead", they have a list specifically for PMs, and it includes over 50 of them.

      I'd observe that people often confuse cause and effect... Being in Playboy's centerfold may not be the reason for the deaths, in those cases where it was a suicide, for example. It's much more likely the personality type that does it is more prone to suicide for various reasons (drug abuse, etc.). I'd suspect that PMs are more likely to be Party Girls, for example, and that means more likely to abuse drugs and/or "push the envelope in general" There are probably lots of other sad stories out there who either weren't pretty enough to be in Playboy or just never got inspired to try.

      I'd also have to look at the mortality stats for a similar set of women of each age to see what percentage died -- it's probably not as different from the PM percentages as you'd think. You just see the deaths as notable because you're looking at a specific set -- that is, this may well be "observational bias".

  18. I'd also call attention to "Caskets on Parade", which also has a list of dead PMs broken down by a number of different stats

    One of the more interesting lists:
    7 of the 53 Playmates of the Year have died ( 13.20% )
    compared to 49 of the 714 Playmates of the Month ( 6.86% )
    Ranking of the Most Frequent Causes of Death amongst Playmates
    13 cancer
    7 drug overdose
    6 heart attack and/or failure
    5 suicide
    4 automobile accident
    2 murdered
    1 adverse reaction to prescription medication
    1 airplane crash
    1 asphyxiation
    1 asthma attack
    1 complications from surgery
    1 intestinal blockage & kidney failure
    1 lupus, scleroderma, osteoporosis
    5 « unknown »

  19. Interesting what people assume or truly believe. The new breed of Playmates use Playboy versus the early years where Playboy used the Playmate. I speak from experience as I lived with one of the older abused Playmates listed above. In the 70's and early 80's women did not have much respect as professionals, so being a Flight Attendant or a Playmate was in their mind a very special opportunity. Playboy prayed on the weak and they were plentiful. Hef, as he likes to be called only by the Playmates and his inner circle was simply running a publishing business. His source for talent was really boyfriends infatuated by Playboy. They had nothing going on, but if they could get their girlfriend to pose nude, they could send in the pictures to Playboy. These people had nothing and I mean nothing going on in their lives, so this was a shot at grabbing 5K.
    The girls all claim to be shy at first, but after a few photo shoots, they are prime picking for Hef and his group of stars that hung around the Mansion. Once it is decided the insecure little girl has potential, they are coddled and actually start to believe they are something special. They meet movie stars that guess what, think they are special. The little insecure burger flipper starts to believe she is something very special an has become "discovered". Playboy gives them a contract for some photos and let's them hang at the Mansion as much as they like. They end up having a few affairs and begging their new interest in helping them get rid of the boyfriend that brought them to this wonderful place where they truly belonged. (Dorothy Straten is the best example) Then guess what, a whole new crop shows up every month and the cute little playmate is left with her real skills, flipping burgers. They do not want to give up the new limelight life and are subject to be taken advantage of. Be it drugs, dating married movie stars, or even prostitution. In such a short time, they have come to believe they are really special and will do anything to protect that feeling. They feel like they were famous and they touched multi-millionaires. Dinner at Spago's and Mastro's every night for a year or so. But the reality is the guys taking advantage of them are now beginning to hang around the Mansion again, meeting the new crop of Playmates. While many have met violent deaths, there is a ton of them living and many have married numerous times because they were never stable in the first place. I read articles about the Playmate I lived with and not one has it right. No amount of therapy would have cured her. She lived her 15 minutes of fame over and over again. The best she ever felt was when she was picked to be a Playmate. She never got it. Some have done OK, like Barbie Benton and Candy Loving, but they are the exception. I wish I could have saved the sweet little insecure woman that only had love for her short time as a Playboy Playmate........

  20. It's very sad. Those women gave us comfort & "hope" during Vietnam. After retiring to AZ I was unpacking my Vietnam vintage gear and found the special water proof container (air tight too) that held our special Playboys for the "PBR" (River Patrol Boat). Due to the nature of my Navy job I did not return back to my San Diego station until 1973. The container was sealed up in 1972 and I only opened it a few months ago in 2013. The magazines were in perfect condition. Some now are 50 years old. The collection grew as different crews rotated in and home. The rule was the Playboys became property of the boat. When I left the task force we were the last Brown Water Division that was still U.S. Navy. I became the care taker of the Playboy collection of River Division 594. I was very sad to see that my favorite Playmate Page Young had passed on due to an over dose. Until I opened that sealed container and did some research did I find that not only Page Young had died but several others. I was hoping to purchase a signed 8X10 as some surviving Playmates offer. I became friends with 2 1960's Playmates after sharing this story. As one 1967 Playmate told me a lot of the girls suffered from broken promises and feeling used. It seems more fragile ones decided to end the self loathing or dive into self medicating to ease the pain. Like my Playmate/Bunny friend said it was not an easy life after the "15 minutes of glory". The rest are like us all that survived those wild 60's days. Time first gives a lot. Then starts taking away. I'm retired Navy and 63 years "young". As with the Playmates my list of surviving shipmates grows shorter every year. It was a unique time. While a lot of the Bunny Hutch politics protested the war. We who served there owe them our sanity at times as they gave us hope. Too bad none of us could have given the same hope to the girls who needed it. For the ones who took their lives it was a tragic loss. To die so young and hurt so bad. I write this to an obvious troubled soul in Page Young. I wish I could have returned the comfort and hope you must have needed. The hope you gave me in 1970 when so much horror was an everyday part of my life was a God send. May your soul now be at peace and your hand busy painting beautiful pictures for God.

    1. Did any of 1960s Playmate friends know Paige Young? I know she did some appearances for the military during the Vietnam war. Thanks!

  21. Claudia Jennings is a cult actress. Did many exploitation type films. Might have gone on to real acting success had it not been for her premature death. Same with Dorothy Stratton.
    Great job on the compilation. Seems not a few suicides and drug ods.



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