Hugh Hefner had some doubts about this Playboy cover

I’ve posted about the recent Playboy cover remake shoot that I was lucky to participate in and that got me thinking about my other covers. I’m honored to have appeared on 8 Playboy covers, 2 U.S., 6 international, but the one that has a special place in my heart is what is now known as the “eyes” cover.

It was shot by Tom Staebler, Playboy’s then art director, for the February 1980 issue (I had back to back February covers in 1979 and 1980). It was a radical departure from anything Playboy had ever done before and, according to Staebler, required quite a bit of pleading on his part with Hefner.

Hefner was very reluctant to publish a cover that didn’t feature any body parts other than a pair of eyes. However, this iconic cover went on to win several awards including “Cover of the Year” by the Bestselling Marketers Assn. It was also included in “Playboy’s Greatest Covers”, “Playboy 50 Years: The Playmate Book”, “The Playboy Book” and “The Playmate Book” among many others.

This is an excerpt from Chicago Magazine (written by Lucinda Hahn) about how the cover came about:


“Working the door at Chicago’s Playboy Club, Candace soon caught the attention of the magazine’s photographers and designers, who often stopped in for lunch. “She was famous among all of us for her eyes,” recalls the art director Tom Staebler, now retired. “They are huge by human standards. And they just sparkle.” They invited her to the studio for test shots, which led to two U.S. covers and the December 1979 centerfold. Staebler shot the most famous picture: a close-up of Candace’s eyes peering from under a white fur hat. “I tested a few girls, including Patti, and it just wasn’t working great,” he says. “So I called Candace to come in, and her eyes made it work. I probably could have tested 500 girls, and it only would have worked with Candace.” The shot became the February 1980 cover, which won a national design award and propelled Playboy’s newsstand sales to a 12-month high.”

Thanks again Hef and Tom for yet another special Playboy memory. The eyes have it!

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