HOUSTON - While the country continues to mourn the loss of Playboy legend Hugh Hefner, one former playmate gave KHOU 11 News an exclusive look at life inside the Playboy Mansion.
Marcy Hanson lived at the Playboy Mansion for ten years starting in 1975. She even dated Hefner for some time, but the two have always remained close.
Today, she lives in her hometown of Galveston with a lifetime of stories to tell.
“It was one of the greatest friendships of my life," Hanson said.
It’s been 42 years, but Hanson remembers every second of the first time she met “Hef.”
“The big gates opened, and I went out and put my swimsuit on and sat by the pool," Hanson said.
It was a Wednesday in 1975, and exactly what you’d expect.
“And here he comes in his white robe and his pipe, and said something like 'Well, I haven’t seen you around here before,'” Hanson said.
He never officially asked her to be his girlfriend. He went straight to the next step: inviting her to move in.
“Hef's always had about three girls in his life, kind of rotating," Hanson said.
It was an exclusive experience - life in the Playboy Mansion.
“Whatever your wishes were, were granted," Hanson said. “At 3 in the morning, you could call down to the butler and say, chocolate chip cookies and champagne.”
But there were rules.
“You couldn’t chew gum. You couldn’t stay out beyond 9 p.m. with your friends. There was a curfew. You had to dress in an appropriate manner back then," Hanson said.
Hanson lived at the mansion for three years before she finally decided to pose for Playboy.
“It was just a phenomenal honor," Hanson said.
She was the Playboy centerfold in 1978 and posed for the December cover in 1982.
When it was time for the photo shoot however, posing was not as easy as she would have thought.
“Highly embarrassing! I locked myself in the dressing room! I even told the photographer I'm not putting this outfit on until you put it on and walk around the studio. And he did! ," Hanson said.
Today, she’s surrounded by pictures and overcome with memories of her days alongside Hef.
“We’re hugging and playing!” she said, pointing out a photo.
Was she in love with him?
“No, never!" she laughed.
No, but she loved him.
“There’s a real person here, that laughed and cried and liked to play Monopoly. And had a favorite movie like Casablanca," Hanson said.
And today, she’s not sad.
“He lived a fabulous life. This man had everything anyone could ever think of," Hanson said.
She's just grateful and honored to have known the life that she says has changed the world.
“Hef changed the idea from it being so naughty, to it being acceptable," Hanson said.
She moved back to Galveston in 1992.
Now she’s helping to protect her community. She’s on the boards for both Crime Stoppers and the Criminal Justice Department of Galveston College.
Playmates around the country are sharing their stories of life at the mansion, even others here in the Houston area.
Karen Foster currently lives in Pearland, but is from Lufkin, Texas.
She was on the Cougar Doll Dance Team at the University of Houston, and was a Houston Rockets Cheerleader.
Foster was chosen to be Miss October in the 1989 issue of Playboy.
She says Hefner was always kind and gentle, and very protective of his Playmate family.
“It’s a huge loss. Not only to the playmates and the playmate family, it’s a huge loss to the world. This is a pioneer. He was a true legend, one of a kind. There’s no one else out there like him. With the internet and everything today, and everybody being exposed to so many things, I don’t think there’s a place for someone else like him to come along and be a revolutionary," Foster said.
Foster says she hopes to attend Hefner's funeral services.
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