Hugh Hefner’s philosophy on life

In a 1993 interview, Hefner told 60 Minutes why he savored life and how his "typically American" upbringing made him who he was

60 Minutes never profiled Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, who died Wednesday at age 91. But Lesley Stahl did speak with him at length in 1993 for a story about his daughter, Christie Hefner, who at the time had become CEO and Chairman of the Board of Playboy Enterprises.

ot-hughhefner.jpg

Hugh Hefner, 1993.

CBS News

In unaired parts of that interview, Hefner also discussed his own life. (An excerpt of Stahl's interview with Hefner is posted in the video player above.)

"One of the things about my life that sets it apart to a certain extent is that there has never been any hypocrisy in it," Hefner said, wearing a cream pullover sweater in place of his trademark silk robe and pajamas. "I am what I appear to be -- if anybody was paying attention."

"The most precious thing you have in the world is time. Use it the best way you can."

People were paying attention, Stahl assured Hefner, who said that anytime people wrote about him, it became a litmus test for the way society saw itself.

"It reflects typically, a little bit about me and a great deal about the fantasies and the fears and prejudices of our time, because my life has been so intimately interconnected in such a public way with the great guilts of American puritanism and sex and wealth."

Hefner also described his "typically American" upbringing: "Very repressed, very puritan, middle class, Midwest, Methodist." He noted that he had two great influences in his life: movies, and a mother who raised him in a home "in which there was not the ability to show love." The combination shaped him; he told Stahl that he escaped into the fantasies of movies and romantic music as an equivalent of affection.

"I think most of my life has been a search and a quest for that perfect world that was described in the films and songs," he told Stahl.

Hefner also dispensed his philosophy on life, telling Stahl people should "savor" it:

For most people life is a train trip, and you don't see anything out the window. It's all rushing past. And the destination is death. And you ought to get off the train and walk around. Live your life day to day. Because we're here for a moment. You've got to savor what you're doing. That's the heart of what it's all about. The most precious thing you have in the world is time. Use it the best way you can.

Lesley Stahl's 1993 60 Minutes interview with Hugh Hefner was produced by Rome Hartman.