When an industry has been in existence for as long as Hollywood has been, it tends to have icons and legends, whose names go down in the history of the industry as pioneers and important foundations of a continuously thriving and successful industry. In the 70s, one name that was on everyone’s lips was Barbi Benton, who spent just sixteen years in show business but did enough to leave a lasting impression.
While Barbi Benton was in the business, she was involved in all aspects of the industry, from modelling to acting to singing, she was a multi-talented woman who stormed the industry as early as the age of 16.
She retired from show business at the age of 36 to a more reserved life, which she has maintained to date. In this article, we explore everything you need to know about her. Read on to learn more.
Before she became Barbi Benton to the world at large, she was Barbara Lynn Klein, born on the 28th of January, 1950 into a Jewish family of educated and middle-class parents.
Although she was born in New York City, she was raised in Sacramento and attended Rio Americano High School where her introduction into the world of performing arts began through piano lessons and tearoom modelling.
Just before she graduated high school, at the age of 16, she began her career as a model but did not fully commit to the profession until she graduated, enrolled at UCLA for a degree to become veterinarian, dropped out and took a job with Playboy magazine.
She began to work with Playboy on the show, Playboy After Dark as an extra before she was elevated into the role of co-host and began a relationship with the famed Hugh Hefner.
Her Playboy career included four appearances on the cover of the magazine and two nude photo appearances.
As an actress, she made her debut in 1968 on the show, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and continued to appear in several others well until 1987 when she made her last appearance on television as an actress in The Love Boat, culminating an acting career with a total of 24 credits in her filmography.
As a singer, Barbi Benton released her first single in 1975 and went on to release five albums, with four of them under the Playboy label between 1975 and 1978. Her debut album, Barbi Doll peaked at number 17 on the US Country Billboard chart.
Outside of her work in show business, Barbi Benton also worked as an interior decorator, before she said goodbye to the spotlight in 1986.
Fans of Barbi Benton often wonder why she retired early from show business and while there are a number of rumours as to why, the answer could simply be that she had accomplished all she set out to do, including becoming a wealthy woman.
Over the course of her career in the business, she appeared in 24 movies and TV shows, was a successful model who helped popularized the Playboy brand, and she was also a recording artist with five published albums, all of which helped her to a net worth of $20 million.
Family – Children, Daughter
Although Barbi Benton famously dated Hugh Hefner, the two never got married. She, however, got married to George Gradow, a real estate magnate. The marriage began on the 14th of October, 1979, after a brief relationship, and they have remained together ever since.
Since they got married, the couple had two children, a son – Alexander, who was born on the 23rd of August, 1986 and a daughter – Ariana, who was born on the 13th of July, 1988.
Not much is known about her daughter or her son but they are both believed to be leading successful lives individually, having been raised by parents who were successful people in their chosen professions.
Where Is Barbi Benton Now?
As mentioned in the introduction, Barbi Benton said goodbye to the industry at the age of 36 in 1986 and while many who retire early often make a U-turn, that hasn’t been the case with Barbi Benton.
She has retreated from public life and is believed to be living her life quietly between her two homes in Aspen, Colorado and Los Angeles.
The most recent sighting of Barbi Benton in public was in 2014 when she made a TV appearance for an interview about the notorious sexual predator, Bill Cosby.