All the wind has gone out of my sails. I just heard the sad news of Hugh (Hef) Hefner's passing. He and Playboy have been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. I knew it was coming but have always dreaded this day. I know when his brother Keith passed recently, the bell would be tolling for him soon too.
I know the haters who call him a pornographer will be dancing in the streets but I knew him better than they did. He was a genius--pure and simple- and so far ahead of his time that there was no way to gauge it. He was one of the first human rights activists, first gay rights activist, literary champion and yes, a lover of women.
I knew a lot of the women who had fallen in love with him and I'm pretty sure most all of them will be mourning his loss, and probably have been, ever since their relationships broke off. Hell, he even hosted weddings, showers and even baby showers for past girlfriends at the Mansion. And I know for a fact that, for some of them, when funds were low, he helped them out. That is not the M.O. for a man who dislikes or mistreats women.
I've had plenty of arguments with "feminists" over my decision to, initially, become a Playboy Bunny and then a proud centerfold. In every case, I've scratched my head over this because what really IS the definition of a feminist but someone who takes charge of their lives and makes their own decisions? No one ever put a gun to my head to "make me be a part of Playboy."
I will be eternally grateful for Hef and all the doors Playboy opened for me. I know we make our own luck, but this was certainly a nice boost up the ladder. In all my time of knowing him, first at the Playboy Mansion on State Street and then at parties at his LA Mansion, he has been a perfect gentleman. I've watched young girls flock to him, not because he was Hef (although I'm sure that helped) but because of the gentle soul that he was.
I'm thrilled to see Cooper following in his footsteps. He is the spitting image of Hef--humble, smart, kind and caring. And I know, in the years he had with him, that he learned so much.
Hef will be buried next to the woman who put Playboy on the map, Marilyn Monroe, at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.
My memories of Playboy are priceless just like he was. RIP dear Rabbit King. You will be sorely missed by this Bunny.
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