Paige Rense, Trendsetting Editor of Architectural Digest, Dies at 91


“The absence of give-and-take is awesome,” the Times magazine declared.

In the world of lifestyle magazines, in which journalistic standards can be lax, Ms. Rense held to certain principles, refusing, for example, to send editors armed with accessories to act as stylists at photo shoots, as was standard industry practice.

“We report,” she wrote in her final editorial message in 2010. “We do not send producers, stylists or even editors when we photograph a residence.”

Paige Rense was born on May 4, 1929, in Des Moines to a mother of Danish descent who gave her up for adoption when the child was a year old. Her adoptive parents, Lloyd R. Pashong, a custodian in the Des Moines public schools, and his wife, Margaret May Smith, named her Patricia Louise Pashong.

When the family moved to Los Angeles in the early 1940s, she dropped out of ninth grade and ran away from home at age 15 to escape her father, who had become abusive. She changed her name to Paige and became an usher in movie theaters, lying about her age to get work, by her account.

In 1950, she married Richard Gardner, an advertising executive, whom she later divorced. Her marriage to David Thomas in the early 1950s also ended in divorce.

Her editorial career began in the mid-1950 at a skin-diving magazine called Water World, where Arthur Rense, a former sportswriter and the father of three sons, was the managing editor. The two would marry and, over time, divorce and remarry. Mr. Rense died in 1990.



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