Only Hugh

BY Jeremy Kinser

July 30 2010 7:30 PM ET

HUGH HEFFNER MAIN X390 (COURTESY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Reverend Malcolm Boyd, who is openly gay, is interviewed in the documentary and it appears you two have been friends for many years. Who do you consider your closest gay friend?
Malcolm is certainly a friend and, as a matter of fact, for many years I didn’t even know he was gay. I met him originally in the ’60s in Chicago. He hung out at the mansion quite a bit. He wrote a best-selling book within the context of religious literature called Are You Running With Me, Jesus? He was a good friend then and he’s a good friend today.

Were there other gay or lesbian people who were instrumental in the success of your company?
Probably, though I don’t particularly ... [Laughs] To me, being gay is kind of like being black or being from some other country. I don’t particularly think in those kind of terms.



Did you ever consider publishing a gay or lesbian version of Playboy?
No. Though many people think that somehow we are associated with Playgirl. And the primary appeal of Playgirl is gay.

I know that you’re a big film buff and you've made a significant donation to the University of Southern California film program. I follow you on Twitter and have read that you show a lot of old films to the Playmates at the mansion. And I just learned that you were a producer on The Celluloid Closet documentary. How did that come about?
I don’t remember particularly the details of it. Throughout the last 20 years or so I’ve funded and been involved in the production of a number of documentaries, mostly about old Hollywood and about the making of movies. That was simply one of them.

Earlier this year you donated $900,000 for the land purchased to save the Hollywood sign. Why is the preservation of this landmark so important to you?
Well, quite frankly, back in ’78, I was the one who initiated the idea of saving the sign itself. I said at the time, “This sign is iconic. It is our Eiffel Tower. It represents the dreams of a great many people that are fueled by the movies and the history of Hollywood.” When it got around to supplying the last money to take care of keeping the mountaintop clear for it, I just felt it was important. That’s all.






Tags: film

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