‘I don’t want to be Hugh Hefner, just Derick Daniels’

I never met Hugh Hefner, but in 1979 I interviewed Derick Daniels, the Raleigh newspaper scion tapped by Hefner to shape up sloppily-run Playboy Enterprises.

“Hefner — the vicarious experience — is our most important promotional product,” Daniels told me in his Chicago office.  “It’s a helluva lot more productive than taking out ads in the Wall Street Journal touting ourselves. But I couldn’t stand the lack of privacy that goes with having your life promoted that way….

“I don’t want to be Hugh Hefner, just Derick Daniels.”

Being “just Derick,” however, wasn’t exactly a commitment to the piety so prominently espoused by his grandfather Josephus. When Derick Daniels died in 2005, at age 76, Frank Daniels Jr. recalled that his cousin had been attracted to Playboy “because it had the three things in the world he enjoyed the most: drinking, gambling and women. You scored pretty well with all three with Playboy.”

 

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