By Raymond Benson
Raymond Benson with Hefner at the Playboy Mansion.
A true American innovator and icon has left us.
While I would never claim to be one of this brilliant man’s inner circle of close longtime friends or family, I was privileged to know him for nearly three decades. I was a guest at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles on numerous occasions, many times along with my wife and even my son, who first visited when he was eight years old! Hef was always a generous host—kind, warm-hearted, and full of conversation. He also had integrity. His championing of civil rights and First Amendment freedoms is legendary. He gave us the permission to embrace the sexual revolution—and, believe it or not, he was a strong advocate of women’s rights. The women who truly knew him loved him.