Hugh Hefner Reflects on Turning 80

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," April 6, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JANE SKINNER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: We are back. We have mastered the technology, and Hugh Hefner joins us from the Playboy Mansion in California.

Hef, thanks for hanging in there with us. Eighty years old coming this Sunday.


SKINNER: What's on your mind? How are you feeling?

HEFNER: Well, never better. I mean, you know, it's been a remarkable life, and this is the best time.

SKINNER: I was reading that you have already chosen — not to be morbid — but your final resting place and that you will actually be entombed next to somebody quite famous. Tell us about it.

HEFNER: That's true. Marilyn Monroe is buried in a crypt in Westwood Village — Westwood Cemetery not far from here. And a number of my close friends are buried there as well. So I do have a resting place for eternity right next to Marilyn Monroe.

SKINNER: And hopefully you won't be resting any time soon. Also reading today, as one writer put it, you are "utterly obsessed with your own legacy" and that you have been filling some 1500 scrapbooks with memories. Is it true?

HEFNER: Well, it is certainly true that at a very early age I started a cartoon scrapbook, actually when I was in high school. And it became, in turn, a scrapbook of my life. And there are about 2,000 volumes.

SKINNER: When the writer talks about you being obsessed with your legacy, what are you hoping your legacy to be?

HEFNER: I don't know if it's truly being obsessed with a legacy, although I would like to think that I will be remembered as someone who had some positive impact on the sociosexual values of his time. And I think I'm secure and happy in that.

SKINNER: When you say positive, how so?

HEFNER: Well, I grew up in a much more conservative time. I was raised in a typical Puritan Midwestern Methodist home and there was a lot of hurt and hypocrisy in those times. And I think that whatever part Playboy played and that I managed to play in terms of the sexual revolution came out of what I saw in the negative part of that life and tried to change things in some positive way so that people could choose, you know, alternate personal ways of living their lives.

SKINNER: And Hef, you know what your critics have said about you for some 50 years now, that you are exploiting women, etc. Will they have a place in those scrapbooks?

HEFNER: Oh, sure. Yes. The scrapbook includes everything, pro and con. But I understand all of that because, as I said, I was raised in a very truly typical Puritan home.

And, you know, Americans — after all the Puritans came to America to escape from persecution and then turned around and started persecuting other people. So I understand that conflict that we have related to play and pleasure and sexuality. And I think what has made my life worthwhile is trying to deal with some of those questions.

SKINNER: All right. And I'm sure many would have a different view of that. But real quickly, Hef, your party on Sunday, how do you make it more extraordinary than any of the other legendary parties you have out there?

HEFNER: Well, I don't know that it's going to be a great deal different. I think it's going to be special because it is the 80th birthday, a celebration of a life well lived. It will be pajama and lingerie party.

SKINNER: What else?

HEFNER: As befits Playboy. And we are going to have a very good time.

SKINNER: All right. And real quickly, how do you keep up with those girls? That's what everybody in the studio has been asking me to ask you today.

HEFNER: Well, I think it works out very well because I think, you know, they are part of what keeps me young. I think being connected to younger people helps to keep you young and gives you a young attitude.

I think age, if you are healthy, I think age is largely a number. My mother lived to be 101. So I'm planning on another quarter century.

SKINNER: Looking at a couple more decades at least. Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine, thanks very much.

John, remember that age is just a number.

GIBSON: Yes, ma'am. Thanks for that lesson.

Jane Skinner, thank you very much.

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