Where is Barbi Benton now? Is she alive? Wiki Bio
Barbara Lynn Klein was born on 28 January 1950, in New York City USA, so her zodiac sign is Aquarius and she holds American nationality. She is a model, singer, and an actress, best known from posing for the magazine “Playboy”, as well as for portraying a recurring character in the comedy show “Hee Haw”. Although there are rumors circulating the internet about Barbi being dead, she is now leading a peaceful life with her husband in Los Angeles, California.
Early life and education
Barbi was raised as a single child in Sacramento by her Jewish parents – her mother was an investment counselor, while her father worked at a private clinic as a gynecologist.
She grew up being interested in modelling and acting, often watching TV series with her mother; she studied at Rio Americano High School where she was very active learning to play a variety of sports mostly being focused on scuba diving and playing the piano. She practiced her modelling skills while attending too, and upon matriculation enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles where she studied to become a veterinarian, but decided to quit after realizing she gets sick whenever she sees blood.
Career as a model and musician
Barbi launched her career while attending 10th grade, and as soon as she turned 18 she was invited to appear in the TV show “Playboy After Dark”.
Hugh Hefner, the late owner of the magazine “Playboy”, had a crush on Barbi, promoted her to become a co-host of “Playboy After Dark”, and asked her out on a date. Barbi accepted even though unsure about their age difference as Hugh was 42, but they dated for several years while Barbi was appearing in many issues of “Playboy”, and in their shows. It was Hugh who told Barbi to change her name from Barbara Lynn Klein to Barbi Benton.
She was the cover girl of four issues of “Playboy” in 1969, 1970, 1972 and 1985, while she also posed nude twice in 1973 and 1975.
Barbi is also a musician, and has released eight albums with her first being “Barbi Doll” in 1975, followed by “Barbi Benton” in the same year. Among her most notable albums are “Something New” which came out in 1976, “Ain’t That Just the Way” in 1978, and “Kinetic Voyage” which was released in 1988. Barbi is known to have composed the songs she sang, and also played the piano – one of her most popular songs is “Ain’t That Just the Way” which was a huge hit in Sweden.
Barbi made her debut film appearance in the German movie “The Naughty Cheerleader” (“Mir hat es immer Spaß gemacht”) in 1970, which was followed by roles in the satirical comedy “The Great American Beauty Contest” and in the drama film “The Third Girl from the Left” both released in 1973.
She appeared in only three other movies, “For the Love of It” in 1980, “Hospital Massacre” in 1982, and “Deathstalker” in 1983.
Roles in TV series
Barbi made her debut TV show appearance in “Playboy After Dark” in 1968, followed by her guest appearances in “Hee Haw” and “The Sonny & Cher Show” in 1969. She portrayed Liz in a single episode of “Marcus Welby, M.D.” in 1972, followed by roles in “The Midnight Special” in 1973, and in “American Bandstand” and “McCloud” in 1975.
She was invited to guest star in “The Bobby Vinton Show” in 1976, and then portrayed Maxx Douglas in “Sugar Time!” in 1977, while she gained recognition after playing eight different characters in the series “Fantasy Island” between 1978 and 1982.
Concurrently she portrayed four characters in “The Love Boat” from 1978 to 1981, and during those years she also appeared in a single episode of many series and shows, such as “America 2Night”, “The Hollywood Squares”, and “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”.
She served as a co-host of the game show “Tattletales” from 1982 to 1984, and then worked on two other game shows “The Match Game” and “Hollywood Squares”. Barbi appeared as Ava Randolph in a single episode of “Matt Houston” in 1983, and was then praised for her portrayal of Susan Lancaster in “Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer” in 1984. She continued appearing in single episodes of many TV series, including “Safe at Home”, “Murder, She Wrote”, and “Riptide”.
Barbi had two of her own shows in 1990, entitled “Barbi Benton Presents: Best Buns on the Beach” and “Barbi Benton Presents: Stripper of the Year”, but these were not that popular. She appeared in two documentary series – “Hugh Hefner: Once Upon a Time” in 1992, and “Playboy: The Party Continues” in 2000, followed by the miniseries “Playboy’s 50th Anniversary” in 2002.
A few of Barbi’s most recent appearances in TV series have been in “The E! True Hollywood Story – Hugh Hefner: Girlfriends, Wives, and Centerfolds” in 2006, “Extreme Cribs: Episode 5” in 2011, and “Million Dollar Rooms” in 2012.
Love life and husband
Barbi dated her high school sweetheart for two years, but split when he decided to continue studying at college while Barbi dropped out to become a model. She went on to date several men for no more than several months, and then began dating Hugh Hefner in 1969, which lasted until 1976. She met George Gradow, a real estate developer and an actor, in 1976 and they dated for over three years before marrying at a small ceremony held in Los Angeles on 14 October 1979. Barbi gave birth to their son Alexander on 23 August 1986, while their daughter Ariana followed on 13 July 1988. Alexander and Ariana both left home when they were 18, and have followed in their father’s footsteps with Alex becoming a businessman and Ariana a real estate agent.
Barbi and George have homes in Los Angeles, California and Aspen, Colorado.
Hobbies and other interests
Barbi has been interested in all kinds of art since she was a teenager, including painting and sculpting, while she was also interested in designing exteriors and interiors. She began learning about interior decorating in the ‘90s and then became a licensed interior decorator in 2002. Although a lover of animals, Barbi enjoyed wearing fur coats and believed that the animals which were killed for their fur wouldn’t have even been born if people did not want them for their fur – she was widely criticized for her opinion.
She was exercising on a daily basis, and had four to five training sessions at the gym until her late 40s. Barbi also followed a strict diet which was important for her modelling career, while she has continued eating healthy foods to this day. Barbi has her own favorite actors and actresses, some of whom are James Stewart, Paul Newman and Grace Kelly, while some of her favorite movies include “To Catch a Thief”, “Dial M for Murder”, and “The Country Girl”.
Appearance and net worth
Barbi is 70 years old. She has long brown hair and blue eyes, is 5ft 3ins (1.6m) tall, and weighs around 112lbs (51kgs). As of April 2020, her net worth is estimated at over $20 million.