Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Playboy King Still Smoking at 70

LOS ANGELES -- Wearing black satin pajamas and a red smoking jacket, Hugh Hefner strolled past a child's toy and a picture of his wife in the nude before sitting down in the Playboy mansion to talk about old age.


The homebody hedonist who founded Playboy magazine more than 40 years ago turned 70 on Tuesday.


"I've had a third act," Hefner said. "F. Scott Fitzgerald said there are no second acts in American lives and I've got Act 3 here and I'm very fortunate for it. I feel wonderful."


With two young sons at his feet and his 33-year-old wife by his side, Hefner looks more like a man in his 40s: tanned, slightly graying, a lively gait and glistening eyes that telegraph, "I've seen it all.''


Seventy is the reality, but Hefner doesn't see himself approaching the end of his extraordinary life: "My mother's 100. We have very good genes."


His birthday was planned as a subdued affair, "a little cadre of friends and family," he said. "It will be about the number of my birthday, about 70."


A farewell kiss for his wife of seven years, 1989 Playmate of the Year Kimberley Conrad, was the only interruption during a recent interview in the mansion library.


Outside on the banks of the fabled grotto, surrounded by a menagerie of free-range peacocks and exotic birds, TV cameras shot an episode of the courtroom drama "Murder One." Fantasy once came to life in that pool.


The flamboyant symbol of sexual indulgence has toned down his act. Wild parties have been replaced by kids roaming the grounds, their toys scattered about and giant highway-style signs warning guests, "Children at play."


And his ideal evening these days? "The weekends are spent with friends and family, having a buffet, good conversation and watching a classic film," Hefner said.


It was Hefner who fired the first shots of the sexual revolution in 1953 when he founded Playboy magazine, featuring a nude Marilyn Monroe. There were parallels in their lives and she, too, would have been 70 this year.


"In both cases, the dreams were fed in our childhood by movies. I think sex and nudity had a similar kind of liberating meaning for both of us," said Hefner, who has purchased a crypt for himself and Kimberley adjacent to Monroe's.


Hefner is now focused on the next century, particularly electronic communication. Driving Hefner these days is the Internet.


"We're extremely popular on the Internet and are going to be launching a pay site next spring or early summer," he said. "We are also launching a Playmate fan club in which you can get information, download images and communicate with Playmates from all through the decades."


Perhaps surprisingly, the man who has fought for First Amendment press freedoms for 43 years believes parents should have a V-chip to block kids from certain TV programs or Internet features.


"Children are often used as the rationale or excuse for censorship. It's a phony claim because this society isn't made for children. It is made for adults and they should keep certain things out of reach of children," Hefner said.


And even though his sons -- 4-year-old Cooper Bradford and Marston Glenn, who was 6 on Hefner's birthday -- are already taking computer classes, Hefner isn't worried about them encountering sex on the Internet.


"It's one of the curious things about our society: We worry about the wrong things," Hefner said. "There is little or nothing in the sexual arena that is really going to hurt people."