The Backgammon World Loses a Giant (updated)

[Note: I updated this post to properly attribute the authorship of Playboy’s Book of Backgammon, which was written by Lewis Deyong, not Hugh Hefner. Thank you to the many readers who found the error. -Larry Shiller]

Hugh Hefner passed away today at age 91.

Whatever your view of Hugh Hefner, he arguably promoted backgammon better than anyone in history. He wrote the introduction to Lewis Deyong’s Playboy’s Book of Backgammon, held innumerable backgammon parties at the Playboy Mansion in the 1960s and 1970s, and played with major celebrities of the day including Omar Sharif and Lucille Ball.

Candace Mayeron, who runs the California State Championship, said, “Hef was almost single-handedly responsible for the popularity and tremendous growth of backgammon during its heyday in the 70s. What celebrities do, Americans mimic. We’ll miss him. ”

Hefner’s last known photo, taken August 6, 2017, shows him playing backgammon with family. See son Marston Hefner’s tweet and pic here: http://bit.ly/2k6e4vb

Which celeb do you think will take the backgammon baton from Hef? Let us know in the comments below.

[Correction note: Hugh Hefner wrote the introduction for but did not write Playboy’s Book of Backgammon. The author was Lewis Deyong.]

4 Replies to “The Backgammon World Loses a Giant (updated)”

  1. And……. Hugh Hefner could have been the greatest drawing card at tournaments in the decades since the 70’s. Unfortunately, a few greedy backgammon cheats in Los Angeles decided he was a prime sucker for their crooked games It seems they got together and took Hef for some six figure number – he found out and withdrew from active promotion .
    One can only wonder the impact on backgammon that his appearance with three or four bunnies would have done for tournament popularity.

  2. Hugh Hefner was a big promoter of backgammon, but the article says, incorrectly, that he wrote Playboy’s Book of Backgammon. I own this book and it was written by Lewis Deyong. Hugh Hefner only wrote the forward. The content of the book has nothing to do with Hefner or Playboy. The title apparently came from the book being published under the Playboy Press company.

  3. Hefner didn’t write “The Playboy Book of Backgammon” though he obviously was responsible for its publication. The author was Lewis Deyong, who had previously published the book under a different title in the UK (“Backgammon: Learning to Win”). Hefner subsequently republished the book with some minor additions and re-titled it.

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