Saturday, April 4, 2009 | 7:44 p.m.
- The Kats Report: At 83, Hefner remains a study in smart sensuality (4-3-2009)
- Robin Leach: Hef’s celebrating his 83rd with past and present girlfriends (4-3-2009)
- Playboy founder to celebrate birthday at the Palms (4-1-2009)
- Robin Leach: Strip Scribbles: Beauty queens and Playboy Bunnies head for the Palms (3-30-2009)
Hugh Hefner kicked off a day-long birthday party today at the Palms.
The Playboy magnate will turn 83 years old on Thursday.
The festivities got underway today at 2:30 p.m. as the resilient playboy made his way to the Palms Place pool.
Flanked by girlfriends Crystal Harris, 22, and 19-year-old twin sisters Karissa and Kristina Shannon, Hefner was cheerful, dressed in a colorful playboy shirt, white pants, a black sport coat and his signature captain’s hat.
Press and camera crews for “The Girls Next Door” greeted the birthday boy’s entourage as the group settled into seats on the patio near the pool.
Moments later, the original “Girls Next Door,” Bridget Marquardt, Kendra Wilkinson, and Hef’s former No. 1 squeeze, Holly Madison, came by to say hello.
“I’ve good company. Young people keep me young,” Hefner said. “I get older but they stay the same.”
Marquardt, Wilkinson, and Madison lived with the Playboy icon in his iconic estate, the Playboy Mansion, for over five years before going their separate ways last year.
Now 35, 23, and 29, respectively, the trio has since been replaced by a younger trifecta of blondes.
Marquardt and Wilkinson admitted it was all pretty surreal.
“That used to be us!” Wilkinson remarked, motioning toward Hefner’s three new lady friends.
“You see it from the outside and it’s like, oh my God,” she laughed.
Marquardt agreed. “It’s such a unique situation,” she said.
Yet there was no animosity in the afternoon air as girlfriends past and present joined Hefner to pose for photographers.
Madison, who finished a month-long stint on “Dancing With the Stars” this week, said photographers are an essential part of any Playboy birthday celebration.
She had her fair share of party planning experience during her tenure as Hef’s No. 1. She said that three things are required for any Hef-related celebration: “Press, Jack and Coke and beautiful women.”
There was no shortage of any of those today at the Palms.
Hefner sipped glasses of Jack Daniels and Coke throughout the afternoon, as he fielded questions from a seemingly endless stream of media.
Meanwhile, a smattering of stunning ladies lingered and mingled nearby.
Former Playboy models Jennifer Pershing, Deanna Brooks, Tiffany Fallon, Hiromi Oshima, Kelly Carrington, Janine Habeck, Alison Waite, Ida Ljundqvist, Stacy Fuson and Patrice Hollis were among those seen enjoying the afternoon sun.
Wilkinson and Marquardt’s significant others, Hank Baskett and Nicholas Carpenter, also attended the party.
“We’re all great friends,” Wilkinson said. Her fiancé agreed and said it’s not awkward at all.
“It’s been very nice getting to know Hef. He’s just down to earth, family-oriented kind of guy,” the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver said.
Baskett said he and Hefner have been friends since the minute they realized they shared not just a woman, but a favorite comic, too.
“It was one of those male bonding moments,” Baskett said. “We ‘re both big Flash Gordon fans … It was like a match made in heaven.”
Wilkinson said she views the collection of former and current boyfriends and girlfriends as “friends and family.”
In fact, Wilkinson and Baskett will tie the knot at the Playboy Mansion on June 27 and Hefner had agreed to walk Wilkinson down the aisle.
She said Saturday’s festivities were “kind of like a birthday party-slash-anniversary” for her and Hefner.
The two met at Hefner’s 78th birthday party five years ago, and Wilkinson said she knew exactly how to mark the occasion: with a card.
“That’s all he likes,” she said. “He likes cards with nice things written in them, and he likes pictures in frames, and he likes candy.”
She said her card carried a simple but heartfelt message.
“I wrote for both of us,” Wilkinson said as she and Baskett linked arms. “I said, ‘Thanks for being such a good friend to Hank and I, we love you so much and, PS, I miss you’.”
This afternoon’s pool party was just the beginning of Hefner’s birthday extravaganza.
After catching some midday sun, he and his guests retreated indoors to prepare for the night ahead. Before they left, however, the birthday boy shared his plans.
“Once we finish the pool party we’ll be having dinner at N9NE, the restaurant,” he said. After that, the iconic playboy said they will move the party upstairs, where the group will “spend some time at the Playboy Club and Moon.”
And how does Hugh Hefner end his night of birthday celebrations in Las Vegas?
Hefner said he plans to do it with “a little private gathering in my suite.”