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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Chaos in Libya; Interview with Hugh Hefner
Aired February 22, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: There's not a man alive who hasn't wished he could be Hugh Hefner for just a single day.
HUGH HEFNER, "PLAYBOY" FOUNDER: A lot of people think they know everything about me, but they don't.
MORGAN: He's still the "Playboy's" playboy, and the man is nearly 85.
HEFNER: And I think age is just a number, but the more numbers, the better.
MORGAN: Hugh Hefner may not be slowing down, but he's definitely settling down for the third time, and he says, the last time, marrying his 24-year-old girlfriend, Crystal Harris.
HEFNER: It's just a very, very good time to be alive.
MORGAN: Tonight, Hugh Hefner, his life behind closed doors at the Playboy mansion.
And the latest on the chaos in Libya.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. We'll talk with American icon Hugh Hefner in a moment. But first two big breaking stories tonight.
CNN can project that Rahm Emanuel is the winner in the Chicago's mayor's race. He was of course President Obama's former chief of staff.
And in Libya tonight, there are some more dramatic scenes. We're going to run straight now to Ben Wedeman, CNN's man inside Libya, who just filed this report. In fact, we have Ben live on the phone.
Ben, can you hear me?
MORGAN: Ben Wedeman, can you hear me?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Piers.
MORGAN: You can. Ben, let me ask you straight away. WEDEMAN: It's OK.
MORGAN: What is happening tonight in eastern Libya tonight? One of the few journalists inside, you've done an incredible job. What is going on there right now?
WEDEMAN: Well, at the moment, I think people are really bracing for the possibility that certainly after hearing that rather incoherent but threatening speech from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi that he may be trying to launch some sort of counteroffensive against the eastern part of the country.
He made it clear that he is going to hunt down and execute his opponents around the country. And the problem, of course, is that this eastern part of the country is outside of his control.
Now we heard from some sources that there are fears that he's trying to recruit Egyptian tribesmen, who are loyal to him to stage some sort of counterattack against the eastern flank of his opponents here in the eastern part of the country. So it certainly does appear that after that speech that tensions are increasing -- Piers.
MORGAN: Yes, Ben, I saw earlier the footage of you talking to some of the local Libyans who seemed outraged by what was going on. What's the mood of the people there? Do you think -- do they believe, as the Egyptian people believed, that they can actually get rid of Gadhafi finally?
WEDEMAN: Well, I think they do. They do feel that despite his rhetoric, despite his violent reaction to the protests, that essentially he is gradually losing ground. We're seeing that the eastern part of the country, of course as we've been reporting, is no longer under his control.
We've seen lots of diplomats around the world, Libyan diplomats, declaring that they are loyal now to the anti-Gadhafi forces. We've seen two Libyan aircraft defecting to Malta yesterday. So it does appear that gradually -- sort of the string is tightening around his neck.
We're also hearing that some of the critical tribal support that he's enjoyed for many years is also beginning to fade away as there does seem to be a growing realization that he's increasingly isolated, not only internationally, but even among his traditional allies -- Piers.
MORGAN: And finally, Ben, I mean, you've covered this region a long time. You know the people who run these regimes. Gadhafi is reputed to be the worst of the bunch when it comes to the violent end of how he may defend himself.
How bad could this get and how quickly could it happen if he decides, right, I'm not going without a huge fight here? What's he potentially able to do?
WEDEMAN: Well, he still has a fairly sizable air force. The armed forces, at least in the western part of the country, do appear to be loyal to him. There' the potential for problems are extreme. Of course, he did give up his nuclear weapons program, but there are fears, for instance, that he still possesses chemical weapons. He still has some warships that he could deploy.
I mean, really, the possibilities are endless. And that really is what concerns people. Because Gadhafi is clearly in a corner. He's, as I said, isolated domestically and internationally. He's seen that some of his traditional allies fading away.
In fact, I spoke with one of -- a senior intelligence officer until just last week had been one of his oldest allies. He had actually taken part in the 1969 coup that overthrew the monarchy. And he said, at this point, Gadhafi has become a tyrant. He's irrational and he just -- he switched sides. He went over to the anti-Gadhafi forces. So even his oldest allies seem to be jumping ship.
MORGAN: Ben, thank you very much. You're doing a great job there. Please keep safe and keep reporting for CNN from inside Libya.
Now I want to welcome my special guest for this evening, Hugh Hefner.
Hugh, do I call you Hugh? Hef? What do you like to be called?
HEFNER: Hef. Hef.
MORGAN: Hef. Hef. What do you make of what's going on in the world right now? You've been through so many things, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the end of the Russian revolution.
What do you make of what we're seeing now?
HEFNER: Very exciting. And I think quite unexpected. I think it's a modern and very different kind of revolution in which Twittering seems to play a major role because --
MORGAN: And you Tweet, of course?
HEFNER: I do. When I was in high school, I was a jitterbug, now I'm a Twitterbug.
MORGAN: But it's fascinating to see so many of these young people in the Middle East taking on these old dictators and bringing them down through sheer force of, we want change, isn't it?
HEFNER: Well, it is the purest form of democracy. In other words, to be able to be heard everywhere around the world is wonderful. Very exciting times.
MORGAN: You've always campaigned for equality and freedom, you always stood for those -- liberation, in many ways. Do you see sort of a real sea change going on here? Do you think it's the end of these old kind of dictatorial ruling families around the world who are fleecing their own people?
HEFNER: I think it will be -- you know, I don't think there's a simple answer to that. It depends on the individual country and you know some dictators will go willingly, and some, there will be violence and bloodshed. But, you know, the exciting part is that people are being heard for the first time.
MORGAN: What do you make of the state of America right now? Obviously been through a terrible recession. I'm sure that your business, like everybody's, got hit by that. What's the answer for America, do you think?
HEFNER: Well, I think we need to get back to fundamentals in terms of -- you know, both conceptually and economically. I think we need to get -- remember where we were to begin with and get back to basics.
MORGAN: What are the fundamentals of America, Incorporated, if you were running it like a business? What's back to basics?
HEFNER: Well, one of the things I would be thinking about -- I mean what's happened, of course, is that we've outsourced half of our businesses, and national boundaries don't have a lot of meaning anymore. I mean, we live in one very small global village. And we need to learn to live in that context. And I think we need to -- we need some learning.
I mean, I think America has been the -- you know, dominant force in the world for a very long time and squandered some of that opportunity.
MORGAN: I had Donald Trump on the show recently, I'm sure you know of old, and he was very scathing about China, saying they're the enemy, that America must have nothing to do with them, that we should be putting restrictive trade stuff on them and so on. What do you think?
HEFNER: There's no future in that. I think, again, it gets back to the fact that I do think we live on one very small planet. And you know, I also think that the changes lead us increasingly towards -- globally towards democracy and freedom, and that's the exciting part.
MORGAN: Which is obviously what America has always stood for, but China in particular, seems to me, you can make an enemy of them, but you're not going to win that war. I mean China's economy is expanding so fast that so will their military. That they ought to be, I would argue, more of a friend to America.
HEFNER: And they traditionally were. I mean when I was growing up, you know, during World War II, I served during World War II. You know the Japanese were the enemy and China was our friend. Making the distinction between China and Japan was very important back then.
Well, again, you get back to the same basics, which is, you know, we live on one small planet. Most of our interests as people are essentially the same. We need to look for those common connections.
MORGAN: "Playboy" sells around the world, doesn't it?
MORGAN: Do you have any sales in places like China at the moment or not?
HEFNER: We are one of the most famous brand in China.
HEFNER: On the mainland of China where the magazine is not yet permitted, we are one of the most famous menswear brands. There are over 200 stores, Playboy stores --
MORGAN: So you sell the merchandise, but you can't sell the magazine?
HEFNER: That's correct. And at the same time, we just opened a casino, Playboy Club Casino in Macau.
MORGAN: When I was in Shanghai recently, I found that the barriers are definitely coming down there. It's getting much more liberal, I would say, as the young people, through the Internet, have found out what's available in the rest of the world, they want some of this.
It can't be long before "Playboy" is allowed to be on sale?
HEFNER: Yes. Yes. That's what you get with democracy. When Russia came apart, when the Soviet Union came apart, the first American magazine that all of the iron curtain countries wanted was "Playboy." It wasn't just the pretty ladies, it was the stuff. You know, the cars, the wheels, the fashions, you know, the lifestyle.
MORGAN: Yes, your original concept was always lifestyle, not just the face.
HEFNER: Yes. Exactly.
MORGAN: And you put the two together, and you have the ultimate businessman's magazine.
Which countries do you think you'll never get into with "Playboy"? Or do you think --
HEFNER: I don't know, but I suppose some of the Muslims will be the last, I suppose. But I think because of the open communication around the world now, desires and yearnings are the same everywhere. So I think that, you know, that repression will give way in time. MORGAN: We've got 10 percent jobless in America right now. How do you get America back to work? What's the fast way that Obama can try and sort this?
HEFNER: Man, you're asking the wrong guy in terms of that. I think that -- I do think -- that I think -- you know I've been a big fan initially of Obama, but I think he missed the point in the very beginning, because jobs is what it's really all about. In other words, the other considerations, health care and all the rest, it was all very worthwhile, but we need to put people back to work. You need to get the economy working.
MORGAN: Do you think America needs to go back and build things again? Do you think it's forgotten what it did so magnificently 40, 50 years ago?
HEFNER: Well, not only do we need to put people to work, we need to become more sophisticated in terms of technology. We need to take a look at what happened to our educational system.
If you line us up against other foreign countries in terms of education, et cetera, we are not the greatest anymore. We pride ourselves on being the greatest, but we've lost track of things.
MORGAN: We'll take a short break, and when I come back, we'll bring a young lady on to the set who has apparently tamed the Hef.
CRYSTAL HARRIS, HUGH HEFNER'S FIANCEE: Hi, I'm Crystal Harris and I'd like to show you around a couple of Hef and I's favorite spots at the mansion.
So I've lived at the mansion for a little over two years, and I definitely did not have monkeys before. We have a whole zoo.
Here we are at the tennis courts. And I don't think I've ever played tennis here, but we've taken the net down and we've had a roller disco party here. The tennis court also hosts the casting calls for Playboy in L.A. We set up tents and have all the girls come here and it's also the place for the haunted house at the Halloween Party.
So I saved the best for last. The Game House is Hef and I's favorite hangout spot. Let's go check it out. We have a lot of classic pinball machines, which are a lot of fun. The most recent Playboy one. Hef's better at it than I am.
After we got engaged, we kind of just came in here and celebrated and hung out and played games together. So there you have it. The Game House. And thank you so much for checking it out and going on the tour with me.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was Hugh Hefner's fiancee, the lovely Crystal Harris, giving us a tour of the Playboy mansion earlier today. And Crystal joins us now.
MORGAN: How excited do you sound in that video?
HARRIS: That was fun. That was fun giving a tour of the mansion.
MORGAN: I totally get why you want to marry Hef.
Hef, what do you possibly see in Crystal?
HEFNER: Yes --
MORGAN: I mean seriously.
HEFNER: What indeed?
HEFNER: I saved the best for last.
MORGAN: Can I see the ring?
HARRIS: Here's the ring.
MORGAN: Good grief. That's a rock. It's not a ring.
HARRIS: It's pretty big.
MORGAN: You could have had any woman in the world -- you've had most of them, so how did you -- how did you narrow it down to Crystal?
HEFNER: Well, I've just -- just literally, you know, it's fate, obviously. I mean, you know, I certainly didn't see it coming. I was not planning on, you know, to some extent, it was Woody Allen who said in one of his movies, marriage is the death of hope, and I had not had a lot of luck in my first couple of marriages, but you know I found myself in a relationship.
We've been together for about 2 1/2 years now, where I just couldn't imagine spending the rest of my years with anyone else. And it just doesn't get better than this. I mean we laugh a lot, and that's what it's all about.
MORGAN: And I think you've got a -- you've got a scoop for me. You're going to reveal the date of the wedding?
HARRIS: The date of the wedding. Can I tell him?
HARRIS: It is June 18th.
MORGAN: June 18th.
HARRIS: This year, Saturday.
MORGAN: We'll be there obviously.
HARRIS: We're excited.
MORGAN: It's going to be a huge CNN breaking news event.
HARRIS: Great. You're invited.
HEFNER: A June bride.
HARRIS: A June bride.
HEFNER: And my brother will be my best man. The groomsmen will be my two youngest sons, Markston and Cooper. And --
HARRIS: It's going to be a lot of fun. We've done --
HEFNER: The bridesmaids --
HARRIS: Bridesmaids -- are my best friend, Ana, as my maid of honor, and my two sisters are going to be my bridesmaids. And --
MORGAN: Is it going to be a big glitzy Hollywood affair? Is it going to be at the mansion and --
HEFNER: It will be at the mansion but it will be a little more intimate.
HARRIS: It's going to be fun. I mean he got married once in the front yard so I asked if we could do it in the backyard.
HARRIS: There's a -- they're all pretty.
HEFNER: In front of the waterfall.
HARRIS: We have a waterfall, a Koi pond.
MORGAN: And how did you propose, Hef?
HEFNER: Well, it was on Christmas Eve. We were opening presents and I hid the ring inside a little box of -- her favorite princess, Disney princess is Ariel, the mermaid.
HARRIS: Yes, I love (INAUDIBLE).
HEFNER: So I had a little Ariel box and it hidden in it was the ring.
HARRIS: Yes. He handed it to me and I was winding it up, and like what's going on? I knew it was a little music box, I opened it, it starts twirling and the ring was inside -- I was -- I was, I mean, I knew. He didn't -- he just said, I hope it fits. And it didn't. It was too big.
MORGAN: So look --
HEFNER: Then she started to cry.
MORGAN: Let me just play the opposite end of this -- of this happy union. There'll be people watching who say, Crystal, come on, what are you doing marrying a guy in his 80s? What's the magic of Hugh Hefner?
HARRIS: I love Hef. He's the nicest person I've ever met in my entire life. I have so much fun with him. And it's hard for me to keep up with him. I mean, for my birthday, I wanted to go bowling and for his birthday he wanted to go to two different nightclubs at the Palms in Las Vegas.
So it's fun. We laugh -- we have so much fun together. It's the best.
HEFNER: And you really don't know -- you know I've said it more than once before, age really is just a number. You really don't know how long you've got. How long does the average marriage last?
MORGAN: Groucho Marx I think said, you're only as old as the woman you feel.
HEFNER: I didn't say that. Those are the lines they lay on me.
MORGAN: Is that true, Hef? I mean, do you feel young ladies keep you feeling young?
HEFNER: I do think -- yes, I think without question, a relationship with somebody younger does keep you alive, absolutely.
MORGAN: I mean, no offense to you, but fidelity has never been your strong point. When you say your vows to Crystal, are you actually going to mean them? I mean --
MORGAN: Could you imagine being faithful to her?
HEFNER: I was faithful -- I was married -- my last marriage, which was not successful, I was faithful to it.
MORGAN: So you actually are going to be genuine faithful to Crystal?
HEFNER: Yes. Absolutely.
HEFNER: Yes. Without question.
MORGAN: So what happens to all the other women in the mansion?
HARRIS: They still come around, every weekend. Everyone's there.
MORGAN: OK. But they're not allowed anymore to partake?
HARRIS: They're not allowed upstairs. No.
MORGAN: Really? So --
HEFNER: Unless she invites them.
MORGAN: So you've hung up your sword, for want of a better phrase?
HEFNER: Well, you never know. I mean, you know.
MORGAN: That's what I mean. I mean, Crystal, do you trust him? Is this --
HARRIS: Yes. I trust him. We have fun.
HEFNER: Oh yes.
MORGAN: But you honestly believe Hef will not have sex with any other woman ever again other than you?
HARRIS: I don't know what to say. I'm like what?
MORGAN: That's what we said.
HARRIS: We don't have a traditional anything, so it's --
HEFNER: I will never do anything behind her back. Let me put it that way.
MORGAN: So as long as she goes along with it, it's fine?
HEFNER: Yes. Yes.
MORGAN: There'll be people watching again, who are looking at you, going, you jammy, jammy man. How -- do you know jammy means?
HARRIS: I'm like, what's jammy?
MORGAN: Jammy is a quaint old British phrase, how did you get so lucky, seriously? You're rich, you've got your health, you've got Crystal.
HARRIS: We have fun. I mean, I'm -- you know I'm lucky. I'm lucky, too. We're both --
MORGAN: Do you feel lucky?
HEFNER: If life is a crapshoot, I've been shooting 7's since forever. No, from my own perspective, I'm a guy who dreamed impossible dreams and made them come true. You know, from my own perspective, I'm the luckiest cat on the planet.
MORGAN: We were talking before you came out, Crystal, about obviously quite serious things.
MORGAN: You know, the Middle East, most other thing. I mean do you talk about politics much with Hef, I'd imagine?
HARRIS: No, no, we don't talk about politics. Just the fun stuff.
HARRIS: I mean, we have CNN playing all the time at our house. And, you know --
MORGAN: Do you ever watch that?
HARRIS: Yes, we watch it. We've been watching your show.
MORGAN: You have?
MORGAN: How am I doing?
HARRIS: Good. Pretty good.
HEFNER: We wouldn't be here.
HEFNER: We don't go with losers.
MORGAN: Hef, you look in great shape. I mean I know you're a little bit deaf in one ear. What other sort of war wounds do you have?
HEFNER: Well, I have a lower back problem which I got in the wars. I got it back in the early '80s with one too many Playmates in bed but --
HARRIS: I thought that was just like a story you told me.
HARRIS: I don't know that's the truth.
HEFNER: It's the truth --
MORGAN: We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, I want to talk to you about how the whole "Playboy" thing started, because that is always fascinating.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEFNER: I wouldn't have started "Playboy" if I was afraid of controversy. I think that controversy is the way you change things. I want to live in a society in which people can voice unpopular opinions.
BILL MAHER, HBO's "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": There are probably a lot of people today out there enjoying freedoms who have no idea that Hugh Hefner was the pioneer.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was a clip from the documentary "Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel." It's nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
I'm back now with Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris, his fiancee.
I suppose, Crystal, when you look at the young Hef, I mean do you kind of wish that you were with him when he was that age?
HARRIS: I mean, I think he looks great at all ages.
MORGAN: What do you think, Hef? When you see yourself back in those firebrand days?
HEFNER: I wish that we would have met earlier.
HARRIS: Not -- when I see those, I see his sons in him, in the younger Hef. MORGAN: Yes. Someone wrote about you once that you'd slept with thousands of women, but you'd unbelievably managed to never fall out with any of them. Is that true?
HEFNER: Essentially, yes. And it's something I've tried to make a point of. I think that something very sad, if one winds up at odds with a former wife or a love, because I think you give up a part of yourself.
MORGAN: So you always try and stay friends with them all?
MORGAN: I mean what about your recent exes that obviously we all know about. Have they all taken news of the engagement well, or has there been a little bit of (INAUDIBLE) tension?
HEFNER: Some have been kind --
MORGAN: Some tension?
HEFNER: Anger and some not quite so kind.
MORGAN: Who's taken it the worst, Crystal, would you say?
HARRIS: I don't know. Whoever doesn't approve or doesn't take it well, I just ignore them.
MORGAN: The Shannon girls, have they --
HARRIS: They're so happy.
MORGAN: They're happy.
HARRIS: The Shannon twins are so happy for us.
MORGAN: Holly -- Holly, OK about it?
HEFNER: I think Holly had mixed emotions.
MORGAN: Because she probably wanted to be Mrs. Hefner herself.
HEFNER: Well, I don't want to put words in her mouth. I think the reality -- and you know, and some fans because they keep -- we running "The Girls Next Door" show from five or six years ago, where you know Crystal was my girlfriend, and I feel as if that's current events.
MORGAN: Where Holly was, you mean?
MORGAN: Yes, Holly was. So it's quite confusing. They're watching a show where you're with somebody else.
HEFNER: And I said in one of my Tweets, you can't confuse, you know, reality with reality TV. I mean, not at the same time.
MORGAN: Do you ever keep score of how many women you've managed to --
HEFNER: I've stopped doing that a long time ago.
MORGAN: At what point did you stop? What was the tally then?
HEFNER: I don't know what the number was. But I think there's something more in important in relationships than quantity.
MORGAN: Is there? Is there anything -- is there anything more important to your life than sex?
HEFNER: Oh, yes, absolutely. Sure.
MORGAN: Like what?
HEFNER: Well, I think that perhaps love, friendship.
HARRIS: Everything. Yes. It's not as important.
HEFNER: Sure. I mean --
MORGAN: But I've heard you talking about the --
HEFNER: It's easy, of course, you know, it's like saying, is money important, you know, only if you don't have any.
HEFNER: You know, if I wasn't having good sex life, I would probably put that at the top of the list.
MORGAN: And how much is you -- I don't want to be personal but how much is your ability to continue having a good sex life down to the wonder drug Viagra?
HEFNER: Well, I wouldn't want to try it without. I mean, that's what it's there for. It breaks down the -- you know, it eliminates the problem in terms of age.
MORGAN: Is he -- I mean, I guess women imagine that Hugh Hefner must be one of the greatest lovers of all time.
HARRIS: We have the best time together no matter what we're doing. I mean, we love just -- we like putting on our PJs and curling up and watching murder mysteries and fun stuff. We watch "The Bachelor," We watch all kinds of stuff.
MORGAN: What do you guys talk about?
MORGAN: What do you talk about?
HEFNER: Well, almost everything.
HARRIS: I ask him -- you know, I want to know everything about Hef. I ask him all these questions. I ask him everything. I'm not a jealous person. I want to know, like, did you know Marilyn Monroe. Did you sleep with her? Did you do this?
MORGAN: Well, actually, that's a damned good question.
HARRIS: Did you want to? You I ask him everything.
MORGAN: This is great. you should be doing my job. Let me try this one.
HEFNER: Two against one here.
MORGAN: Did you know Marilyn Monroe?
HEFNER: She was actually on my -- in my brother's acting class in New York,. But the reality is that I never met her. I talked to her once on the phone, but I never met her.
She was gone, sadly, before I came out here.
MORGAN: She was a remarkable -- Dennis Hopper was in that class too, wasn't he?
MORGAN: Must have been with your brother, because I had the same conversation with him about Marilyn.
HEFNER: Jane Fonda, some famous people in that class.
MORGAN: What's a classic Hefner day like? For you two, when you get married, what will be a classic normal day?
HEFNER: Well, it's fairly well structured. You know, the daytimes, you know, begin late morning, and then I take care of the editorial --
HARRIS: He works Monday through Friday in the office.
HEFNER: And do interviews during the day.
MORGAN: How much of the "Playboy" brand, do you think, is down to you, personally?
HEFNER: Well, I certainly didn't do it alone. But it is certainly a very personal brand. The whole notion of "Playboy," you know, came from my own dreams, my childhood, adolescent dreams.
And I do think that it was not a coincidence that when I -- when my last marriage ended and I came back out and discovered a whole new generation was waiting for me to come out and play, the brand got hot again. The brand, in the last 10, 12 years -- right now, even though we're going through economic problems in terms of publishing, et cetera, the brand is hotter now on a global level than ever.
MORGAN: Your early life was quite puritanical. You didn't even lose your virginity until you were in your 20s?
HEFNER: My parents were very puritan, Nebraska farm people. They gave me good ideals, but they were also very repressed.
MORGAN: What would they have made of the empire you've built?
HEFNER: Well, they were around long enough to see what it was all about. My dad actually came to work for me. And he was a public accountant. He came to work for me as my treasurer. And my mother, when I was starting the magazine, starting it actually in 1952 with nothing, I went to anybody to -- you know, a dollar here, a dollar there, and she gave me 1,000 dollars.
MORGAN: To get it all going?
HEFNER: She got it all back, many, many times over.
MORGAN: When we come back, I want to talk about what you did with that money, because you managed to turn "Playboy" into this sensation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEFNER: The guests there and the performers were of every race. There was no particular concern in terms of racial taboos, because there were no concerns of racial taboos in my life. It's very difficult for people to really remember what it was like back then. But racial bigotry, the separation that existed --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was another clip from "Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist, and Rebel," which is nominated for an NAACP Image Award. I'm back now with Hef and his fiancee, Crystal Harris.
I mean, "Playboy" was a real trailblazer at the time, wasn't it? Not just in terms of the race aspect we just saw. You brought everybody in together. But in terms of the sexual liberation that it represented. You were doing stuff that people just didn't even dare to do at the time.
HEFNER: Well, in terms of the show, the concept of it was that it was a party in my apartment. So black and white didn't make any difference so far as I was concerned. And that was back then revolutionary. We got no distribution. It was a syndicated show, and we got no distribution in the south. And I knew that.
MORGAN: What was the premise of "Playboy"? What was your real intent? What did you want to achieve with the brand?
HEFNER: I wanted to create a lifestyle magazine. Most men's magazines after World War II were outdoor adventure magazines. And I was not interested in hunting and fishing and et cetera. I liked the -- you know, the more urban life.
So I wanted to create a magazine that created a sense of a bachelor's existence with some style. And in that time frame, that was very revolutionary, because you have to remember, 1952, 1953 was a very conservative decade.
MORGAN: You were pushing the envelope, weren't you? You were quite risque, even then. He still is, right?
HEFNER: Yes. Marching to my own drummer.
MORGAN: He's always been a bit of a naughty boy, hasn't he?
HEFNER: A nice one.
HARRIS: He took the girls and I to see the Justin Bieber movie on Valentine's Day.
MORGAN: Really? I don't know why, but that just slightly freaks me out. You're sitting there watching a Justin Bieber movie.
HARRIS: Because we wanted to go see it.
HEFNER: That's right.
HARRIS: And then he wrote a Tweet about it.
HEFNER: I did a Tweet afterwards. I said, take your girl to a Justin Bieber movie and she'll never say never.
HARRIS: That's the title of the movie.
HEFNER: I got 300 Tweets in response to that.
MORGAN: Do you think there are any 84-year-old men anywhere else in the world that take their young fiancee to a Justin Bieber movie and then Tweet about it? There can't be.
HEFNER: And today we got news that Justin and her -- and his father want to come to the mansion.
HEFNER: It's true.
MORGAN: Bieber wants to come to the playboy mansion? HARRIS: I have Bieber fever. We all do, all the playmates.
MORGAN: I'm already fearing for Bieber's life in there. What's going to happen to him?
HEFNER: He'll do all right.
MORGAN: I'm going to hold my hands up now. I went to your Midsummer Night's Dreams party three years ago. Quite extraordinary. I was nearly arrested for trying to go in wearing too many clothes. I had to take clothes off.
And I walked in and I'd already told David Hasselhoff on "America's Got Talent" I was going to this thing. He said to me, oh man, it's crazy; you're going to love it. And I said, I'm taking my fiancee, who is now my wife.
And he said, you're doing what? You do not -- not take sand to the beach. I mean, I walked in the door and there were 800 to 1,000 people, most of whom were young ladies who had very little clothing on, if at all.
Everyone was eating lobster and drinking champagne. You were in this weird tent in the middle of the whole thing, presiding over about 35 women. And I remember thinking, this is like a modern day version of Caligula's Rome. This was a sort of orgy in front of me.
HARRIS: It's beautiful.
MORGAN: Is that the idea? Is that the point of these parties?
HEFNER: I think that's the idea.
HARRIS: Yeah. I don't know if it's literally an orgy, but it's like free. Inhibitions are gone. Pillows everywhere, everything --
MORGAN: Is it as orgy-like as it used to be? Can people go there and have sex non grata and things?
HARRIS: I've walked in on a couple of people in the game house. Not mentioning any names.
HEFNER: Shocked to discover there's gambling going on here.
HARRIS: People can sneak away if they wanted to. There's rooms. There's the grotto. There's everything.
MORGAN: Is this going to be a healthy place for Justin Bieber to find himself?
HEFNER: He's going to bring his father. Watch out for the father, I guess.
MORGAN: I mean, the "Playboy" brand still has this wonderfully kind of sexy, naughty mystique to it, doesn't it? Despite all competitors being thrown your way, whether you like what you do or not -- and I've always found it great fun -- there's no doubt, you can't dispute that you've got here through sheer hard work and a real concept of what your brand is.
That's what I've always felt with "Playboy." It's all about you. You lead the life. You are marrying this beautiful young girl. You do go to Bieber movies.
HEFNER: Well, somebody's got to do it.
MORGAN: Do you want to grow up?
HEFNER: I think that's the key. When people say, they want to be me when they grow up, I said the key to that is don't grow up.
HARRIS: I don't want to grow up either.
HEFNER: I mean it in a very positive way. There are too many rules and restrictions. At the same time, from my perspective, I have lived continually a very moral life.
MORGAN: Of course you have.
HEFNER: Of course I have.
MORGAN: You said that with a straight face. After the break, we're going to bring out somebody who can perhaps testify to this. This is your son.
HEFNER: It'd be a pleasure.
MORGAN: I'm back now with Hugh Hefner and his fiancee, Crystal Harris. We've been joined now by Hef's son, Cooper Hefner. Cooper, how are you?
COOPER HEFNER, SON OF HUGH HEFNER: I'm good.
MORGAN: Now, let's just cut to the quick here. You are 19.
C. HEFNER: Yes.
MORGAN: Crystal, you are 24. So your step mom --
C. HEFNER: I knew you were going to ask this.
MORGAN: -- is going to be five years older than you. How do you feel about that?
C. HEFNER: I mean, it is what it is. I like Crystal a lot. I'm used to it. I've grown up with dad dating younger women. So it's not out of the ordinary.
HARRIS: We don't think of it like that, either. We just have fun.
MORGAN: But it is a bit weird, isn't it?
C. HEFNER: Not really. It's not weird because it's normality. I mean, I've never known anything different.
MORGAN: Normality in the Playboy Mansion, where anything goes.
C. HEFNER: Yeah.
MORGAN: What's it like being Hugh Hefner's son?
C. HEFNER: I knew you were going to ask that too.
MORGAN: Am I that predictable?
C. HEFNER: It's -- again, I don't have anything else to base it off of. So it's -- I guess it's a little surreal when you compare it to other people's lives. But, I mean, he's just dad to me.
MORGAN: What kind of dad is he?
C. HEFNER: He's a good dad. He's very good. He's supportive. I look up to him. He's incredible.
MORGAN: When you bring girlfriends back, do you get a bit worried when the old man pops his head --
C. HEFNER: No. No, I don't think so. No, he's not that -- no.
MORGAN: Well, he is, really. He's a naughty boy.
HARRIS: No, not that naughty.
C. HEFNER: Yeah, not that naughty.
MORGAN: Hef, what kind of son has Cooper been? It can't be easy being your son? So how's he dealt with the pressures of -- so many kids of famous people deal with it badly. How's he done?
HEFNER: He's a fantastic son.
HARRIS: He's great. He's going to college. He's a filmmaker. He's awesome. I love --
HEFNER: Got his own band.
MORGAN: You must be very popular with your band mates?
C. HEFNER: Yeah.
MORGAN: When the Midsummer Night's Dream party comes around, it's like, lads, good news, I've got some tickets.
C. HEFNER: That's right. That's right.
HARRIS: They're kind of used to it too.
C. HEFNER: To tell you the truth, everybody who I consider a close friend, I've grown up with, you know? I'm very selective about who my friends are, just because of my last name. And I think that, you know, I have incredible friends.
MORGAN: Let me try to get an honest answer out of you. It must have been sometimes embarrassing to be a Hefner, when you were a young lad? A young teenager, maybe?
C. HEFNER: Yeah. I mean, I think that it's done a full circle in a lot of ways. You know, when I was growing up, I used to lie about who I was. Not because I was embarrassed of what my dad did, but just because I didn't want the, you know, attention. And the older I've gotten, I think the more I've learned about the company and the more time I spend with my dad, there's nothing to be -- I mean, I look up to him.
There's nothing to be ashamed of. I really don't -- I'm not embarrassed.
HEFNER: It doesn't get better than this.
MORGAN: Could you imagine going into the business?
C. HEFNER: Absolutely.
MORGAN: Do you think you will?
C. HEFNER: We've talked about it. And I definitely would love to be involved when I'm older.
MORGAN: What do you make of his choice of brides? Obviously, he's had a lot to choose from. So --
C. HEFNER: Again, I like Crystal very much. And she's nice to me and nice to him. I mean, what else do you ask for besides wanting your parents to be happy?
HARRIS: We have fun. We go on trips together. We all just went to Chicago to see the house Hef grew up in. We just have so much fun. We bond. I hang out with Sam all the time, Cooper's girlfriend. She's one of my closest friends.
MORGAN: I couldn't imagine you calling Crystal mom.
C. HEFNER: I won't be calling her mother.
HARRIS: And I won't be calling him stepson or anything.
C. HEFNER: I think you base your relationship on a friendship.
HARRIS: We're friends.
C. HEFNER: Yeah.
MORGAN: What is life like in the mansion for you?
C. HEFNER: Well, I have a girlfriend. So I'm very happy. Life at the mansion, I don't know. It's good.
MORGAN: If you could sum it up in one word, what would you say?
C. HEFNER: It's good.
MORGAN: That's two words.
C. HEFNER: Good.
MORGAN: We have a short break. Hef, the next question I want to ask you is who is your perfect pin up, other than Crystal obviously?
MORGAN: It all began with Marilyn Monroe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: thank you to Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Hugh Hefner and so many other people that put money in order to protect the land.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger thanking Hugh Hefner for saving the iconic Hollywood sign from developers. I'm back now with Hef.
That was a great moment, wasn't it? There's the California governor thanking you for saving, as he said, the most famous sign in the world.
MORGAN: Why was it important to you, the Hollywood sign?
HEFNER: I grew very much influenced by the movies. I escaped into that fantasy world when I was a kid. And I think the sign, it was more than a sign. It is an iconic representation of dreams.
So when the sign was falling apart in the 1970s, I put together a party and raised money to save the sign. And then we came back again in the recent past to save the land around the sign.
MORGAN: You're in your mid 80s now. Your mother lived to be 101.
MORGAN: So clearly there's a lot of potential. How old would you like to see? HEFNER: There's a song Sinatra did. If you can survive to 105, people will wish you drive. A hundred five, plus.
MORGAN: Do you ever think about death? Do you worry about dying?
HEFNER: No. I think about being alive.
MORGAN: And it's good?
HEFNER: It's good.
MORGAN: Good to be alive if you're Hugh Hefner. Life's pretty good right now?
HEFNER: Never been better.
MORGAN: Of all the pin-ups you've ever had in the history of "Playboy," what's been your personal favorite?
HEFNER: Well, it all began with Marilyn Monroe.
MORGAN: I think we've got that one, actually. There it is. That's such an iconic image.
Would that be your favorite?
HEFNER: It would have to be.
MORGAN: Do you think she was the greatest pin up of them all?
HEFNER: I think she's the major sex star of the 20th century. You know, without Marilyn, I wouldn't be here.
MORGAN: And you bought that picture for 500 dollars and it became a business that's worth -- what are you worth now?
HEFNER: I stopped counting a while back.
MORGAN: Can I guess?
HEFNER: I don't know. It's --
MORGAN: But you're north of 100 million dollars, right?
HEFNER: Yes, yes. The company is worth two, three, 400 million.
MORGAN: The business has definitely been hit by changing times. It's not what it used to be. The sales -- obviously, it was seven million. It's now 1.5 million. Still very. healthy sales for a magazine. But how have you seen the threat from the Internet to your kind of territory? Has it been ruinous in terms of the long term business plan? Or have you been able to adapt to changing dynamics?
HEFNER: It has to do with adapting. I think that the reality is that, you know, "Playboy" was there, supplied the torch for the beginning of the sexual revolution. With the arrival of the sexual revolution, "Playboy" was less unique.
I think the reason we survived and prevailed is because we've always been more than just a sex magazine. It's a lifestyle magazine and done with class. I think that increasingly now, our future will involve the Internet, electronic technology and the brand. It's the brand and the definition of the way you live your life.
MORGAN: Do you get offended if people call you sleazy? Do you dislike that? Or do you understand why some people would find this kind of thing --
HEFNER: Because I think that "Playboy" and my life are a Rorschach test. They project their own dreams, fantasies and prejudices on to my life. It says as much about them as it does about me. That's the kind of world we live in. America remains essentially a very puritan people.
MORGAN: How would you like to be remembered? What would you like you epitaph to say?
HEFNER: As somebody who had some positive impact on changing the social sexual values of his time. I'm pretty secure in that.
MORGAN: How do you think you'll be remembered?
HARRIS: The same. He's an icon. He's changed the world. And he keeps continuing to change the world.
MORGAN: Cooper, what do you think of the old man? When push comes to shove and you have to assess him as a cultural figure in America, how do you think he'll rate?
C. HEFNER: I think that he's done incredible things. And I mean, things that people dream of doing. And he's accomplished so much that I was not aware of when I was younger.
MORGAN: I certainly would second that. It's been a great pleasure to interview you.
HEFNER: My pleasure.
MORGAN: Thank you so much. And good to meet you, Crystal. Good luck with the wedding. Cooper, good luck with your duties on the day.
C. HEFNER: Thank you very much.
MORGAN: That was the immortal legendary Hugh Hefner and Crystal, his wife to be, and Cooper, his son.
Now here's my colleague Anderson Cooper with "AC 360."