Hefner made his mark in Baltimore and for eternity

It has been 40 years since Hugh Hefner’s Light Street Playboy Club closed its doors after a 13-year run in Baltimore, a victim of changing cultural tastes.

Hefner, 91, died Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was the founder of Playboy magazine, which first rolled off the presses in 1953, and he established Playboy Clubs in major American cities, like Baltimore, that showcased its famous Bunnies.

Baltimore was the 19th club he established, and he was present at its re-opening (after a fire) in 1970, overnighting in a king-size bed at the Statler Hilton, in one of the 12 rooms that were reserved for his entourage.

The Baltimore Playboy Club, like all of the franchises, featured waitresses and hostesses in Bunny garb: bunny ears, silk leotards, tails and three-inch heels. (The club, which opened three years after scheduled, was met with a bit of community opposition and liquor-license troubles.)

During the club’s tenure, such actors and professional athletes as Reggie Jackson, Chuck Norris, Bubba Smith and Paul Blair graced its rooms and ogled the scenery.

In December 1953, a young unknown model named Marilyn Monroe graced the cover of the inaugural issue of Playboy.

Marilyn Monroe, who died in 1962, was buried in a crypt at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles.

Hefner will now spend eternity in a crypt next to Monroe. He purchased the plot in 1992 for $75,000.

“To me there’s something poetic in the fact that we’ll be buried in the same place,” Hefner said in a 2000 Playboy interview. “And that cemetery also has other meanings and connections for me,” he said. “Friends like Buddy Rich and Mel Torme are buried there. So is Dorothy Stratten.”

Some of the other notables resting there include Dean Martin, Roy Orbison, Truman Capote, Farrah Fawcett and actress Dominique Ellen Dunne — daughter of Vanity Fair writer Dominick Dunne — who was murdered in 1982.

lsears@baltsun.com

Follow me on Twitter @jugglingklutz

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