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Dick Rosenzweig, Playboy Enterprises executive, dies at 84

Richard Rosenzweig, president of Playboy Jazz Festivals, shown in February 2003 at the announcement of the 25th Playboy Jazz Festival Concert at the Playboy Mansion in Hollywood.
(David Klein / Getty Images)

Longtime Playboy Enterprises Inc. executive and arts supporter Richard “Dick” Rosenzweig died at his home in Beverly Hills on May 6. He was 84.

Rosenzweig had been receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer, his wife Judy Henning said in a statement.

The Wisconsin native was seen as instrumental to Playboy, joining the magazine in 1958 in its early days in Chicago as an assistant to the vice president of advertising. He got the job by
happenstance — a parade blocked his route so he passed the time by visiting a friend who worked at the new Playboy office. The friend told him about a job opening in the advertising department.

Rosenzweig stayed at Playboy for decades, taking on a variety of jobs and working as friend and assistant to the magazine’s late founder, Hugh Hefner. He rose up the ranks to executive vice president of Playboy Enterprises and moved to an advisory role in 2011.

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He also served as chairman of Playboy’s production company, Alta Loma Entertainment, and as president and executive producer of the Playboy Jazz Festival.

Hefner in 2011 called Rosenzweig a “trusted advisor and business partner.”

Hugh Hefner, the incurable playboy who built a publishing and entertainment empire on the idea that Americans should shed their puritanical hang-ups and enjoy sex, has died.

Last week, Playboy tweeted about Rosenzweig’s death.

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“Dick Rosenzweig, a legendary and beloved member of the Playboy family for over 60 years, has moved on to that great Mansion in the sky,” Playboy tweeted. “He will be dearly missed by Playboy staffers and fans alike.”

Rosenzweig was known as a big supporter of the arts. He received the chairmanship of the Beverly Hills Centennial Celebration in 2014 and had served on the Beverly Hills Arts and Culture Commission. He was a founding member of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.

Rachel Fine, executive director and chief executive of the Wallis, said Rosenzweig was a “tremendously thoughtful and creative leader” who led with humility. “He was a pillar of The
Wallis community and universally well liked and respected by all with whom he collaborated,” Fine said in a statement.

He was elected chairman of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Modern and Contemporary Art Council in July 2000.

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In 1993, the Beverly Hills City Council honored him with the Beverly Hills Medal. Three years later, he was appointed to the state’s Economic and Business Development Board of California.

2012 Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl on June 16, 2012, in Hollywood.

Rosenzweig was born in Appleton, Wis., in 1935. He received a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University School of Communication and later served in the U.S. Army’s Psychological Warfare Battalion. In 1975, he completed an advanced management program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business.

He is survived by his wife Judy; brother-in-law Alvin Ziven; nephew Steven Ziven and wife Lynn and niece Debra Ziven; nephew Emmett Murphy; and other family members.

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