Cooper Hefner shares his vision for Playboy at Chicago International Television Awards

Cooper Hefner shares his vision for Playboy at Chicago International Television Awards

The lanky, over 6-footer is the spitting image of his dad Hugh Hefner. I was taken aback when I first saw him as the resemblance is so startling. And at age 25, the same age his dad was when he founded Playboy, he has Hefner's sensibilities and, as of 6 months ago, the title of chief creative officer.

With Cooper Hefner at Chicago International Television Awards after he signed by Playboy cover. (Photo by Timothy M. Schmidt)

With Cooper Hefner at Chicago International Television Awards after he signed my Playboy cover. (Photo by Timothy M. Schmidt)

Cooper was in town to promote the world premiere of a new docudrama about his dad, "American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story," produced by Amazon Studios. The film was part of a 3-day long Chicago International Television Festival held at AMC River East that began on March 21.

In a wide ranging interview conducted by film critic Richard Roeper, Cooper spoke during a panel

discussion following the film.  He was joined onstage by executive producers Stephen David and Peter Jaysen. (Watch video here)

Hugh Hefner approved the film and supported the producers in acquiring footage and imagery from his vast library, described by Jaysen as "rivaling the Library of Congress," and including over 2900 scrapbooks that Hefner has been creating since he was a youngster.

Cooper said he got "emotional" watching the film because he's so proud of what his dad has

With Chicago International Film Fest/TV Awards founder Michael Kutza and Cooper Hefner. (Photo by Timothy M. Schmidt)

With Chicago International Film Fest/TV Awards founder Michael Kutza and Cooper Hefner. (Photo by Timothy M. Schmidt).

accomplished. He added that Hefner insisted on a "warts and all" portrayal including his dexedrine addiction and the tragic suicide of his assistant Bobbie Arnstein.

In answer to a question about the magazine's recent no-nude policy, that has since been scrapped by Cooper, he said, "The brand is a philosophy and nudity is a representation of that philosophy and

without it, we're not fulfilling our commitment to the brand."

He spoke about the return of the Playboy Clubs and compared Playboy's business plan as similar to the one Walt Disney used for Disneyland.

In closing, he said, "There seems to be an obsession with the 50s, 60s and 70s among anybody from age 18 to 34...It excites me to imagine a time when we will have young and old reacting to the brand in ways that we haven't seen since the 60s, 70s and 80s."

As a former Playmate, Bunny and covergirl, I have a long history with Playboy so I was thrilled when I was asked by Film/TV Fest founder Michael Kutza to introduce the film. It was wonderful to hear the plans Cooper has for the future of the organization. I think his dad's legacy will be very safe in his hands. Congrats Cooper, Hef must be so proud.

(The 10-part series will premiere worldwide on April 7 on Amazon Video).

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