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Hef Throws a Rebirthday Celebration

April 14, 1999|IRENE LACHER

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has just reached the sobering age of 73--which we think qualifies him as a Playman--but don't tell him. He's partying like it's 1999, as the song goes.

And so were about a zillion other pajama-clad people at the Playboy Mansion on Saturday, where Hef's latest mile-marker made some pals so happy they partied for 12 hours beneath a huge white tent.

The dress code was strictly bedroom. One woman who was generally regarded as the best undressed guest clearly came to see and be seen: She was wearing a gold bikini-type thing crocheted in a windowpane pattern with mighty big windows. Oh, yes. And glasses. A plastic surgeon who came as a guest looked at the cloud of negligees sailing by and did the math: "I've either worked on them or I know who did."

Under the circumstances, it wasn't surprising that two of L.A.'s juicier bachelors--George Clooney and Ben Affleck--came without dates. Otherwise, the guest list was oddly eclectic, including Ice T, Dick Van Patten, Gary Busey, Dweezil Zappa, Red Buttons, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Lisa Loeb, Shannen Doherty and Kato Kaelin.

Also boogieing was a bunch of club kids Hefner has picked up on his recent travels with his troika of bombshells--Brandy, Mandy and Sandy.

"It's a rebirth," Hef said of his resurrection as a single man. "[The bachelor's life is] bigger and better than ever before, without question. They were all waiting for me to come out and play, and it's like the focus of a great deal of nostalgic celebration related to an earlier swinging time. The media are all over me, and young people are all over me, and some of them are very attractive women."

No kidding. We asked party guest, dating expert and filmmaker Myles Berkowitz ("20 Dates") to survey the scene.

"The thing that amazes me is that my nephew is 12 years old, my brother is 50, and both of them would die to be here tonight," Berkowitz said with fiance Elisabeth Wagner in tow. "That's how cool Hef is."

Happy birthday to Hugh.


Michael York had just flown in from Rome and Jerusalem, so he had an excuse for holding up the wall at the Hollywood Hills home of Movieline Publisher Anne Volokh. York was still vertical enough to talk about his recent mission--filming "The Code," an independent thriller based on Michael Drosnin's 1997 bestseller "The Bible Code." It's one of three upcoming movies exploring the belief that the Bible contains hidden prophecies, which has got to say something about millennial mind-set.

"At the millennium, we expect something significant, something scary, like the Y2K scare," York mused. "So it's a perfect climate in which to place a thriller."

We are celebrating the calm before the millennium in what Volokh calls her "pleasure dome." OK, you would call it the media room. There she and her husband, Vladimir, have staged monthly coffee-and-clips nights for the last eight years with the help of their party muse and Movieline's editor in chief Virginia Campbell.

"Everyone complains that Hollywood parties are extremely cold," Volokh says. "There are a lot of kisses thrown around, and everyone talks shop. We create an environment where we know more about people and they know more about each other." The idea is to mix and match movie folk in intimate gatherings that have included such brand names as Winona Ryder and Cameron Crowe. After decaf, everyone ascends to the media room, where they watch their favorite film clips, which can be quite telling.

Hmmmm. What have we learned about "Mod Squad" director Scott Silver that we didn't know before, now that we know he loves a certain scene in "Leolo" that we can't describe in a family newspaper. Suffice to say we've signed up Silver for cat sensitivity training.

Volokh will now analyze the inner Scott Silver: "Obviously he likes shock value. I think he's one of those diamonds in the rough. A lot of personality and certainly no desire to please."

Irene Lacher's Out & About column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on Page 2. She can be reached by e-mail at

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