Weird History

The FBI Sting That Made Hef's Assistant Kill Herself Almost Brought Down Playboy

On January 19, 1975, Bobbie Arnstein, Hugh Hefner's executive secretary, was found dead in a hotel room. She had committed suicide by overdosing on pills, leaving behind a succinct suicide note and an angry and distraught Hefner.  

Arnstein struggled with suicidal tendencies, but Hefner believed these were exacerbated by an FBI "witch-hunt" against the Playboy empire that resulted in Arnstein's arrest for cocaine possession. Arnstein was not the first Playboy employee to die – and not the first to commit suicide, either – but her story is tragic, not only for the fact that she protected her employer with her dying breath.