Two uncompromising artists. Two masters in their respective fields. Both began humbly but rose to great heights, earning the respect and admiration (and, at times, the envy) of their peers and the undying loyalty of millions of fans. Olivia and Dave Stevens have many things in common, but the most obvious is that both visionaries found a muse in an all-but-forgotten pin-up model. It is certain that Bettie's contemporary popularity would not be as great without their inspired interpretations of her. It's arguable that Bettie would barely be remembered were it not for Olivia and Dave Stevens.
It is with extreme gratitude to Olivia De Berardinis that the official Bettie Page blog shares:
Olivia De Berardinis
I've had a real block writing this, I think I'm in the sea of denial still thinking Dave is not answering my emails as usual, it's so much easier thinking he's still kicking around ignoring me.
Dave was a shy, secretive man, I never really became close to him. We were together, our con booths, our art, our subjects, all that and so many years knowing him made me feel connected to him, we shared friends and dinners together. I remember trying to contact Dave to see how he was doing, emailing, calling, finally I sent him a really over the top cute picture of my boy pugs, and only then within the hour he called.
Dave's Comicon booth was one of the few places where I could actually see the elusive Mr. Stevens for any length of time. Sitting, sketching away, a line of idolizing fans watching, I would always slip in to smooch with him and admire his beautiful work. Afterward, I would see him with his pretty women, take off into the night, wearing a leather bomber jacket with a white scarf. He was such a handsome, gentle guy.
I loved his work, his Rocketeer.
There were a few of us painting Bettie back then, but Dave brought her back into the limelight. Then when she appeared in the 90's, he sought her out, and got to know and take care of Bettie, becoming her best friend until he became too sick to see her.
It's been pretty sad to see Dave spend so many years fighting so hard to stay alive and work in such a weak state. He will always be a part of pin up history.