Former Playboy Mansion employee remembers Hugh Hefner

Mark Hopkins worked for years for Hugh Hefner at the Playboy mansion. (WSYX/WTTE)

Mark Hopkins planned on spending two weeks in California to visit his sister. He ended up staying nine years.

"I was being evicted from my apartment because they didn't like my dog," Hopkins said. "I had just broken up with my girlfriend. I hated my job and boom. This thing just falls into my life."

"This thing" was a job at the Playboy Mansion. He was able to apply after becoming friends with someone who worked there as a butler. That job changed his life.

"It was like, 'oh my God'. This kid from Whitehall, Ohio who stumbles into a dream job at the Playboy Mansion," he said. "I had this stupid smile on my face all the time seeing Clint Eastwood walk through the door, John Belushi show up in the evening."

Hopkins spent six months working as a butler. He was then promoted to being Hefner's valet. He spent more than three years in that role.

"A friend of mine said, 'they don't know you're not cool. You can act can you? Act like you're cool'," he said. "That's what I focused on and I think I fooled them for a while."

He traveled with Hefner and even bought his clothes.

"He just didn't like to travel because he had to put real clothes on," Hopkins said. "He couldn't travel in his pajamas."

The craziest stories won't leave the Playboy Mansion though.

"Some things will stay in the vault," he said.

Not everyone may have approved of Hefner's sex life but Hopkins said Hefner never hid anything about it.

"He did it honestly and openly and didn't apologize for it," Hopkins said. "The most important thing for me was that he was truly good to the people around him."

Eventually Hopkins had his fill and moved back to Columbus. He got married, had four children and started a career in communications, but he will always have fond memories about his time working for Hefner.

"I'm sorry to see he won't be padding around the mansion in his slippers and pajamas anymore," he said. "I'll miss that."

Hefner was 91 when he passed away Wednesday.

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