Hugh Hefner Interviewed in L.A. Times

Tod Hunter
LOS ANGELES — L.A. Times writer Patt Morrison interviewed Playboy founder Hugh Hefner for a feature published Saturday.

In the interview, Hefner, 83, admits that he has been regularly reinventing himself for several decades.

"I actually reinvented myself the first time when I was 16, when a girl rejected me. I started referring to myself as Hef, started changing my wardrobe — the same thing I did in 1959-60 with the magazine, when I came out from behind the desk and started living the life and got the first Playboy mansion, started to drive a Mercedes 300SL, started living the life."

Morrison also points out to Hefner that friends of hers would like to tell him that he made them feel bad because they didn't look like the women in Playboy. Hefner is surprised and asks if Sports Illustrated is disappointing to men who can't break sports records.

Speaking of the future of Playboy, Hefner says, "I think that the future is clearly more electronic. I'm a print guy, and I hate the fact that people have less interest in reading. So I care about that, but I think in reality the very nature of communication has changed."

The changing nature of Playboy was reflected today when Playboy Enterprises Inc. announced first-quarter losses of $13.7 million, which included $8.7 million of impairment and restructuring charges. In a conference call with investors today, Interim CEO Jerome Kern said that the company was considering "radical changes to the magazine business model" including increasing prices and reducing frequency of publication.

Digital revenues decreased $5.9 million, or 39 percent compared to the prior year quarter, largely due to outsourcing the Playboy and Bunnyshop e-commerce and catalog business during the prior year quarter coupled with lower paysite revenues, which were impacted by continued competition. In the second quarter of 2009, the company completed a major infrastructure overhaul, redesign and relaunch of our websites.