Hefner Says He Suffered a Stroke, Blames Bogdanovich

Times Staff Writers

Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner said Tuesday that he suffered a mild stroke two weeks ago and claimed that it was brought on by film director Peter Bogdanovich’s book blaming him, in part, for the fate of one-time centerfold Dorothy Stratten, who was shot to death by her estranged husband in 1980.

Hefner said through spokesman Don Rogers that his recovery “is total and something of a miracle.”

The stroke, he said, “resulted from stress developed over the last year in reaction to the pathological book written by Peter Bogdanovich.”


He added that the seizure was “actually a ‘stroke of luck’ that I fully expect will change the direction of my life.”

Neither he nor Rogers said how.

Rogers said the 58-year-old Hefner suffered the stroke at his Holmby Hills mansion March 6.

Not Hospitalized

Hefner was never hospitalized but underwent treatment at home by his physician, Rogers said. The spokesman had denied last week that Hefner had suffered the stroke. He did not explain the denial on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, it was learned that Hefner’s daughter, Christie, who serves as Playboy president, had opposed making the information public. Her father, chairman of the board, apparently finally prevailed in his desire to announce it.

In Chicago, Playboy spokeswoman Robin Radomski said Hefner was well and doing “business as usual” Tuesday.

In his 1984 book about the 1980 playmate of the year, “The Killing of the Unicorn: Dorothy Stratten 1960-1980,” Bogdanovich claimed that Hefner pressured a weeping Stratten into doing lewd poses and that he seduced her. Hefner denied it.

The director wrote that Hefner should bear part of the responsibility for Stratten’s death, because the Playboy philosophy encourages the victimization of women.

On Tuesday, Bogdanovich said it appeared that Hefner is unable to face “the reality of his life and, in particular, what he and his magazine do to women.”

Human Cost

The director said that he was “sorry if making him face it had something to do with making him sick” but that he felt “a lot worse for the human cost paid by all women who don’t issue press releases.”

It would be “a real miracle,” Bogdanovich added, “if his life would change to benefit women.”

Stratten, 20, was shot to death in West Los Angeles by her estranged husband, Paul Snider, who then killed himself. At the time, the actress reportedly was planning to marry Bogdanovich, who had cast her in his film, “They All Laughed.”