Hugh Hefner's Sister-in-Law Recalls His Quiet, Final Years in the Playboy Mansion: Gin Rummy & Old Movies
While Hugh Hefner's sister-in-law mourns the death of the Playboy founder, she's taking comfort in knowing that he's reunited with his younger brother
Caya Hefner was married to Keith Hefner, who died in December 2016.
“It’s sad that they’re both gone, but I’m happy they’re together,” she tells PEOPLE.
The model remembers Hugh as a “gentleman” who “was always taking care of us.”
“Hef has been a person who has always been there for me and Keith and the family,” she says. “He is a legend. I have so much respect and love for that man. I always wanted to thank him for welcoming me into the family and supporting me. He was always so sweet.”
Caya said life at the Playboy mansion was very routine, from the Fun in the Sun Pool Party on Sundays to game night on Tuesdays. Dinner was served at 5 p.m. on Thursday through Sunday, with a movie after.
“Monday was manly night,” she says. “The guys eat from 6 to 7 p.m. and then watch movies, black-and-white movies.”
She adds of their old routine: “Wednesday is Keith, Hef and a couple of their friends playing gin rummy.”
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Above all, Caya says she will remember the Playboy founder’s laugh.
“It was such a distinctive laugh,” she says. “He’s very charming, and he’s always welcoming and laughing. He would always say, ‘Cheers to that!’ at the dinner table.”
Hugh shared a photo with his younger brother in matching white tuxedos following his 2016 death, writing, “This morning, my dear brother and best friend passed away. I love you, Keith. Rest in peace.”
Keith was a longtime executive at Playboy, handling the training of Bunnies as well as model recruiting.
Hugh was buried in a private funeral at Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles on Saturday next to iconic actress Marilyn Monroe. Hefner — who died at the age of 91 on Wednesday from natural causes at home in the Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones — purchased the plot 25 years ago for $75,000.
- For more on the late Hugh Hefner and his legacy, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
The cemetery is the final resting place of some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Natalie Wood, Farrah Fawcett, Truman Capote, Dean Martin, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Rodney Dangerfield.
— WITH STEPHANIE PETIT