Hugh Hefner already has his final resting place picked out and paid for: a crypt next to Marilyn Monroe’s in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Not that he has plans to use it anytime soon. Hefner, who will turn 85 in April, lives these days what appears to be the life of an invalid, or even of a cosseted mental patient: wearing pajamas all day; rarely venturing out of the house; taking most of his meals in his bedroom — the menu seldom varying, the crackers and potato chips carefully prescreened to remove any broken ones. He is hard of hearing in his right ear and has an arthritic back that causes him to lumber a little when he walks. But he is in otherwise enviable shape for an octogenarian.
Fully recovered from a 1985 stroke, he appears to have all his marbles and an undiminished energy level. He still manages to have sex, popping Viagra as the occasion warrants. And thanks to the surprisingly successful reality show “The Girls Next Door,” he has a brand-new fan cohort: women, even many middle-aged ones, who no longer regard him as a degrading smut peddler — the publisher of a magazine that Gloria Steinem once said made a female reader feel like a Jew studying a Nazi manual — but as a benign and indulgent paterfamilias, a kind of fairy godfather turning worthy, wholesome-looking young women into platinum-haired, big-bosomed princesses whose every need is provided for.
Hefner — or Hef, as he is known to just about everyone — is famous for bestowing presents of plastic surgery on his many girlfriends and may well have gifted himself. His neck is taut and wattle-free. His skin, owing to infrequent sun exposure and generous bastings with baby oil, has a Madame Tussaud-like smoothness and suppleness. One former girlfriend has said that in the bedroom, with his clothes off, he practically glows in the dark.