It's A Dog's Life
Hef's Playmate for Life, Kimberley Conrad Hefner, practices what she preaches. She's an animal rights advocate and activist who takes in abandoned dogs from Los Angeles shelters and provides a temporary foster home. On any given day, there are at least a dozen dogs at the Mansion. That's in addition to the other nonhuman residents--cats, exotic birds, fish, rabbits, monkeys--that make up one of the most elaborate private zoos in America. Hef began his collection in 1972. But for Kimberley Hefner, the phrase top dog has more than one meaning.
Twice is Nice
Playboy trivia buffs know that Janet Pilgrim was our first girl next door. In fact, she appeared as a Playmate three times between July 1955 and October 1956, when she wasn't working in the Playboy offices. But Janet wasn't the only Playmate to make a return appearance in the magazine. Margie Harrison was featured in January 1954 and June 1954. Marilyn Waltz was a Playmate in April 1954 and April 1955. (She may also be the "Margaret Scott" who posed in February and June 1954.) And Marguerite Empey was Miss May 1955 and Miss February 1956. In the Fifties there were fewer beautiful models willing to pose nude than there are now. It goes to show that once is often not enough.
Happy 15Th Anniversary
Fifteen Playmates posed for conventioneers at the Video Software Dealers Association Convention in Las Vegas to celebrate Playboy Home Video's 15th anniversary. Pictured from top to bottom, left to right, are: Miss March 1997 Jennifer Miriam, Miss November 1996 Ulrika Ericsson, Miss January 1993 Echo Johnson, Miss June 1997 Carrie Stevens, Miss August 1994 Maria Checa, Miss July 1996 Angel Boris, Miss November 1995 Holly Witt, Miss April 1997 Kelly Monaco, Miss September 1992 Morena Corwin, Miss June 1996 Karin Taylor, Miss January 1997 Jami Ferrell, Miss October 1994 Victoria Zdrok, Miss May 1997 Lynn Thomas and Miss August 1995 Rachel Jeán Marteen, Front and center is Miss April 1995 Danelle Folta.
Jen is an Open Book
Is there a guy on the planet who doesn't recognize Jenny McCarthy? We doubt it. There have been magazines, TV shows, CDs, ads and now Jen-X: Jenny McCarthy's Open Book (written with Neal Karlen). Jenny's life story is told in detail, but we couldn't help flipping right to the Playboy part. As Jenny tells it: "My first job in front of a camera was taking off my clothes for Playboy. I knew my mother would probably have a heart attack, but it was a step that I had to take if I was ever going to get out of Chicago. I wanted that Playmate of the Year title as badly as I wanted to make the high school cheerleading team. I would never pose in Playboy again, but I still think Hef is a great guy." Jenny also reveals in her book that "a man has to be able to make me laugh and give me respect, or there's no chance we'll make it." Her favorite talk-show experience? "During Singled Out, I was on the Late Show With David Letterman. I was scared, because David is so sarcastic. It was obvious that he was trying to fluster me by flipping through the pages of my last pictorial. 'Hey, Dave,' I barked at him, pointing, 'my eyes are right up here.' The audience howled and he looked me straight in the eye." Hey, Jenny, we're still looking at you, kid.
I give Playmates of the Seventies on E! an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Carrie Stevens looked terrific as the hostess. The Playmates selected to represent the decade--Lillian Müller, Carol Vitale, Cyndi Wood, Rosanne Katon, Bonnie Large, Martha Smith, Janet Quist and Patti McClain--were all great choices. One admirable thing about the show was its honesty. The Playmates acknowledged that being in the magazine opened many doors for them but were willing to admit that it also caused some problems. Martha Smith even said she had concealed her Playmate past from most of her movie and TV employers. I'm looking forward to Playmates of the Eighties, but I really hope that the Fifties will get similar coverage. Bring Yvette Vickers, Jonnie Nicely, Joyce Nizzari, Lari Laine, Dolores Del Monte and Marlene Callahan together with Hef, photographer Bunny Yeager and director Russ Meyer, and you'll have a fantasy-packed hour of television.--Steve Sullivan, Washington, D.C.
"I've enjoyed the notoriety of being a Playmate and I've used it to my advantage. My father found out I'd posed quite by accident. Someone at his office asked him if he was related to the centerfold. He took one look and yelled, 'That's my daughter!' He wasn't angry, except that I hadn't told him. I didn't because I didn't want to jinx it."--Carol Vitale, Miss July 1974
"I heard about my centerfold a couple of weeks after my 18th birthday. I told my mother first because she took my test shot. You can't get too excited until your issue reaches the newsstand. Then it really hits you. You get to sign autographs and go places and meet people. I try to use the attention now to promote safe sex and to get my AIDS message out."--Rebekka Armstrong, Miss September 1986
Playmate Birthdays - February
Debra Jo Fondren--Miss September 1977 will be 43 on February 5.
Susan Bernard--Miss December 1966 will be 50 on February 11.
Traci Adell--Miss July 1994 will be 29 on February 17.
Teri Weigel--Miss April 1986 will be 36 on February 24.
Jonnie Nicely--Miss August 1956 will be 62 on February 25.
Veronica Gamba: "Playboy treated me like gold the first time. And I'm going for it again, in Playmate Revisited."
Playmates 101: Playmates of the Year
Miss December 1959 Ellen Stratton--PMOY in 1960, the year the title became a tradition.
Miss December 1963 Donna Michelle--the youngest PMOY, at 18, in 1964.
Miss May 1985 Kathy Shower--the oldest PMOY, then 33, in 1986.
Miss December 1962 June Cochran--the shortest PMOY, at 5'2", in 1963.
Miss February 1994 Julie Cialini, Miss December 1987 India Allen and Miss May 1992 Anna Nicole Smith--the tallest PMOYs, at 5'11".
"I am grateful to Hef for his generosity to me in print. I had thought I was too ordinary for Playboy. I give him credit for my success."
1997 PMOY Victoria Silvstedt is shooting a 1999 calendar, and her Guess ads will be out no later than next month....Miss June 1969 Helena Antonaccio has a spot in Steve Sullivan's book Glamour Girls of the Century, based on a survey of pin-up collectors who voted on the most glamorous women of the past 100 years....Miss September 1997 Nikki Schieler Ziering made a Dr Pepper commercial that's airing in Russia....Actor and talk-show host Keenen Ivory Wayans greeted Miss October 1997 Layla Roberts on his show this past fall....Miss October 1994 Victoria Zdrok received her law degree last May and has passed the bar exam....Miss June 1997 Carrie Stevens is modeling the new Bunny costumes with Layla Roberts for Playboy's reentry into the casino business, in the Greek islands....Miss August 1994 Maria Checa has been promoting Playboy's Spanish-language international editions and shooting a swimwear catalog....Miss January 1995 Melissa Holliday is a country singer and is hosting a syndicated radio show called Hot Tracks....Miss October 1983 Tracy Vaccaro, 1992 PMOY Corinna Harney and 1996 PMOY Stacy Sanches visited Matador Tobacconist in Las Vegas to promote Playboy by Don Diego cigars. They really lit up the room.