I was aware I hadn’t seen him make any public appearances in years, but still felt a little sad tonight to hear about the passing of Hugh Hefner.
First, the big stuff that everyone will touch on, in one way or another. The magazine of course, which came onto the zeitgeist at the perfect moment. One of the great American brands; who can argue that? Besides the magazine, there is the annual Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, there are/were Clubs, the Logo, and the Mansion.
I was still very much in the ‘new kid in town’ phase when I worked at the Playboy Mansion. I was still in school, so this was probably my second come up from being in the ‘Mafia’. I met Hef my first day there, have NO idea what I said to him, but he smiled and shook my hand and welcomed me to his home. I got the private tour early on. When I look at my dream list for Aziz Manor: the library, the screening room, the basement gym, the luxury car garage… the mental blueprint for those things didn’t come from a comic book or Neverland; it was from my experience in Holmby Hills. I may be off on the timeline, but I want to say my Kansas buddies started referring to me as ‘Hollywood’ around this time. But, I mean, I was a kid in my early twenties, what can I say? Depending on who’d you ask, making it feel ‘normal’ to have a chef make your gourmet lunch from scratch everyday, or to have casual conversations with Playboy Bunnies on a regular basis, was either one of the best or worst things to happen in my formative years in La La Land.
From one Midwestern born kid to another, thanks for the memories Hef. Icon gets thrown around a little too much for my taste, but you were the real thing.