Page, 85, has been hospitalized for three weeks and is dangerously ill, long-time friend and business agent Mark Roesler told KNBC-TV in Los Angeles Saturday.
Page was one of six siblings in a Nashville, Tenn., family and was placed in an orphanage when she was 10, she says on her Web site. But she graduated near the top of her class in high school and studied to be a teacher at Peabody College of Education in Nashville.
But KNBC-TV said her road to fame began in 1950 when she met a police officer and amateur photographer named Jerry Tibbs in San Francisco, who took photos of her and assembled her first pinup portfolio. She appeared in Playboy magazine, and by the mid-1950s her alluring image appeared on everything from playing cards to bedroom posters.
But she abruptly stopped modeling in 1957 and disappeared from the public eye, which assured her of a cult following in later years as a younger generation of fans speculated what had become of her, the station said.