Margie Price, who worked at the St. Louis Playboy Club in the 1960s, was sad to learn of Hefner’s death.
“I felt badly, you know? He's 91, so he had a good life. He was a special guy, actually,” Price said. “He took things out of the closet and put it out there for people to do and see and to be proud of their sexuality. I don't think he exploited women. Some people do and that's their opinion."
Price was employed as a Playboy bunny when the St. Louis club opened in 1962 in the 3900 block of Lindell. She worked as a bunny for four years.
"Yeah, I couldn't serve alcohol because I wasn't old enough, so I played the pool table; the bumper pool table," she said.
Price stayed with the company and held a variety of positions. When the Lindell location closed, she was the first bunny to own a Playboy Club of her own at a new location at Interstate 55 and Lindbergh. She had may opportunities to meet Hugh Hefner over the years.
"With Hef, I don't agree with his lifestyle and all that stuff. I didn't partake in that. I took the part I loved, that helped me become a better person," she said.
Price said she appreciated Hefner's business talents and his support of women's rights.
Price and her husband operated their Playboy Club at I-55 and Lindbergh until 1985. They have since gone on to other businesses and for several years, Price has served as executive director of the St. Louis Men's Group Against Cancer.