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Death of a Playmate

Playboy magazine's 1962 'Playmate of the Year,' Christa Speck Krofft, top left, has died of natural causes at the age of 70. Here she is with Hugh Hefner and five other Bunnies in the 1960s

That’s Speck on the top left (courtesy of Getty Images)

BEWARE: Mature content and photographs ahead!

I am very sad to report that on March 22, former 1962 Playboy “Playmate of the Year”—the beloved Christa Speck Krofft—died of natural causes at her home. She was 70 years old.

Speck, a native of Danzig, Germany, was working as a secretary at Bank of America when she was discovered by a magazine talent scout. A short time later, her path led to Hugh Hefner, and that’s when her career really took off.

If you were to ask Speck’s family about her experiences with Playboythey would tell you she was “one of the most celebrated Playmates of her time.” And you know what?

They wouldn’t be lying.

In September 1961, Speck was named “Playmate of the Month,” the first step towards “Playmate of the Year,” which came in 1962. She also worked in the Playboy Club in Chicago—the crown jewel of Hef’s after-hours joints at that time—lived in the Playboy mansion, and appeared in every behind-the-scenes-at-Hef’s spread the magazine ever published. Editors and readers even selected her as one of their ten favorite Playmates of the first decade. Check down below for some great pics!

Pretty impressive resume, don’t you think? But wait… there’s more.

In 1965, Speck married Marty Krofft, the television producer behind children’s shows like Land of the Lost and H.R. Pufnstuf.

Absolutely gorgeous... and in more ways than one (courtesy of the Krofft family)

Absolutely gorgeous… and in more ways than one (courtesy of the Krofft family)

Very cool.

Fans of the 1978 John Belushi classic Animal House may even recognize Speck because her centerfold can be seen there. Bear in mind that the film was supposed to take place in the early 1960’s.

As you can see, Christa Speck Krofft lived a pretty full life. And she will be missed by many, including Hugh Hefner.

“I’m saddened by the death of dear friend 1962 PMOY Christa Speck,” Hef related upon hearing of her passing. But no one said it better than her husband, daughters and grandchildren, who released the following statement:

“Mom had an uncanny ability to make everyone smile and touched so many people with her unique sense of humor. It’s rare to find a human being that holds no judgment and sees the good in everyone. That was our mom. We will miss her terribly.”

Amen to that. Farewell, Christa. And thanks for the memories.

As promised, here’s a gallery of Speck’s work. Please note that all photographs are the property of Playboy magazine. I wish I could claim credit for taking them, though. Damn photographers have all the fun. Enjoy!

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