Dick Rosenzweig, Longtime Playboy Executive, Dies at 84

Dick Rosenzweig, whose 61-year tenure with Playboy Enterprises included serving as president and executive producer of the Playboy Jazz Festival, has died. He was 84.

A longtime friend and trusted adviser to Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, Rosenzweig died May 6 at his home in Beverly Hills of pancreatic cancer, a family publicist announced.

Rosenzweig also was a founding member of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and The Wallis Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.

“Dick was a thoughtful, elegant and extremely trustworthy man. To me, he was a man who defined high character,” producer Brian Grazer said in a statement.

Born in 1935 in Appleton, Wisconsin, Rosenzweig graduated from Northwestern University in 1957. A year later, he was hired as assistant to the vice president of advertising at Playboy in Chicago and soon began a stint as the first executive assistant to Hefner.

After serving as senior vp and director of marketing, Rosenzweig was appointed executive vp of the publishing group, the company’s largest division.

In 1977, he moved to Los Angeles, where he was given responsibility for all West Coast operations. Rosenzweig launched new publications, including international editions, and served as executive producer of such series as The Girls Next Door at E! and The Playboy Club at NBC.

He also was a producer on the 2008 film The House Bunny, starring Anna Faris.

The first Playboy Jazz Festival in Los Angeles took place at the Hollywood Bowl in 1979 and has been held every summer until this one, canceled because of the COVID-19 virus.

“I really don’t feel that the Playboy festival would have been more than a one-time event in 1979 without Dick’s total support, enthusiasm and guidance,” said Darlene Chan, a veteran producer of the event. “He really was the driving force for the longtime continuation of the festival and was responsible for making it the landmark event that it is.”

Most recently executive vp for Playboy Enterprises, Rosenzweig maintained an office at the Playboy Mansion until Hefner’s death in 2017.

“There is so much that I admire and will miss that speaks on behalf of the wonderful person Dick was,” Cooper Hefner, former chief creative officer of Playboy and son of Hugh Hefner, said. “It was seen in his unwavering loyalty to my father and his many years as an organizational lead at Playboy; it was present in his consistent engagement in various projects that served to improve his community and city; it was evident in his affinity for family. Like so many others, I am better as a result of having been a beneficiary of Dick’s friendship, guidance and love.”

Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Judy; nephews Steven and Emmett; and niece Debra. A memorial celebrating his life is planned.

This story was originally published on The Hollywood Reporter.