Bunny Yeager Dies: Pin-Up Model and Photographer Was 85

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 07:41 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Bunny Yeager, the famous pin-up model turned photographer who photographed the iconic Bettie Page early in her career, died Sunday at a hospice in North Miami. She was 85.

Yeager became a cultural icon in the 1950s for her bathing suit pin-up photography, having not only taken the photos but also designed the bathing suits many of her models wore in the pictures.

"Anyone in Miami in the 1950s who wanted a bikini would come to her, and she'd make one," Yeager's agent Ed Christin told The Associated Press.

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Yeager also wrote guides on photographing nudes and making self-portraits, Christin added.

"They all wanted to model for me because they knew that I wouldn't take advantage of them," Yeager told the AP during a 2013 interview, referring to her ability to make everyday women, from stay-at-home mothers to airline attendants, feel comfortable to pose for risqué photos.

"And I wouldn't push them to do nude if they didn't want to do nudes. It wasn't a day when nude photography was prevalent," Yeager added.

Born Linnea Eleanor Yeager in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, on March 13, 1929, the 5-foot-9 blonde beauty began her modeling career in the 1940s before eventually turning the camera on herself in what could very well be considered the precursor to today's selfie. Yeager's self-portraits gave way to her first book titled "How I Photograph Myself," which was published in 1964, the AP noted.

In total, Yeager published about a dozen books over the years.

"I still get that little tingle when I see the photos on the wall," Yeager told the AP in 2013, referring to recent exhibits of her work at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and in Miami.

"I'm still feeling like a little child and excited over everything new that comes along in my life," Yeager added during her interview last year. "I don't know where it will lead to yet, but it sounds good to me."

Yeager's last work will be completed posthumously according to her agent, who told the AP that she was working on another book that would include previously unseen photos in recognition of her 60th anniversary of her first photo shoot with Bettie Page.

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