In April of 1985, Hugh Hefner — the Playboy founder and owner who normally walked around his mansion in a robe with a smile that almost touched end to end — arrived to the press conference he called wearing formal attire, his demeanor much less jovial.
I suspect this will change the nature and focus of my life. To have that experience and come back from that is something of a miracle and blessing. When you come that close to the edge and look over, the dramatic nature of what occurred gave me permission in a single day to drop the luggage of a lifetime.
Hefner was talking about the stroke he had suffered just a few weeks earlier, a stroke he attributed to acclaimed director Peter Bogdanovich, who had helmed classics such as The Last Picture Show and Paper Moon. Bogdanovich had not directly caused the stroke, but rather it was the book he wrote a year earlier that caused the stress-induced health crisis of the Playboy tycoon.
The book, The Killing of the Unicorn, told the tale of a beautiful Canadian girl, who rose to prominence as a Playmate, and then a budding actress and model in Hollywood. Unfortunately, the Cinderella fantasy ended with a shotgun blast to her face, a murder that Bogdanovich ultimately blamed — at least partially — on Hefner, among others. The ripples in the sea of humanity that this young, beautiful woman’s splash created do not end there, nor do they begin there. They start at an ice cream shop in Canada.