Barbi Benton was born Barbara Klein in New York on January 28, 1950. By 1952, her family had moved to Sacramento, California when her father, a military doctor, was assigned new duties there. Benton attended Rio Americano High School in Sacramento before heading for Los Angeles at age 16, where she began modeling to supplement her allowance.
By the time she met Hugh Hefner in 1968, she was getting regular work on television shows as diverse as Hee Haw, The Love Boat as well as Playboy After Dark which filmed A-list entertainers performing in Hugh Hefner's mansion surrounded by lovely women. Benton said she pretended to be Hefner's girlfriend for a couple of episodes and soon found herself living the role full time. She was on her way to becoming a multifaceted icon of 1970s glamor. Shortly after meeting Hefner, at his suggestion, she changed her name to the more showbiz-friendly Barbi Benton. When he asked me out, Barbi recalls, "I was 18 and he was 42. I said I'd never gone out with anyone older than 24, and he said, 'That's all right. Neither have I.' We hit it off right away, and it lasted for eight years!"
Benton was Hugh Hefner's own personal playmate throughout the 1970s, but she also became a recording star, a Las Vegas headliner and a movie actress, with credits including Deathstalker, The Naughty Cheerleader and Hospital Massacre.
Barbi Benton has recorded eight albums, the last of which she personally produced in 1979. She also composed the songs, sang them and played piano.
She left Hefner for she eventually realized that he was not really interested in starting a new family. Benton married George Gradow, a successful developer on October 14, 1979. The couple now has two children, 16 and 18 years old. Benton mostly concentrates on building and designing homes now.