Hillbilly-Music.com—The People. The Music. The History.
Barbi Benton
Born:  January 28, 1950
Hee! Haw!

About The Artist

New York City-born Barbara Lynn Klein grew up in Sacramento, California, the daughter of a physician. After high school, she entered UCLA as a pre-vet major but soon dropped out as she could not stand the sight of blood. Hearing that Hugh Hefner was auditioning extras for a TV program, Playboy After Dark, she was not only chosen, but she and Hefner became lovers, a relationship that lasted for six years. As a scantily clad and nude model, she appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine four times, beginning in 1969 and last in 1985, as well as a couple of other features but never as a playmate. She took the stage name of Barbi Benton by 1969.

Barbi joined the cast of Hee Haw in 1971 remaining for five years and appearing in numerous skits and sometimes singing. In 1974, she began recording for Hefner's Playboy label and over the next three years had three long play albums (Barbi Doll, Barbi Benton, Something New) and several single releases. The A side release of her third single "Brass Buckles" became a genuine hit reaching number five on the country charts. Although written by someone else, it seems almost autobiographical as it concerns a little girl who "outgrows brass buckles on her shoes" and ends up on the "cover of Playboy magazine." Three other numbers hit the lower echelons of the charts, one of them a duet with established country star Mickey Gilley.

Album - Barbi Doll - Barbi Benton - 1974
Single - Duet - Mickey Gilley - Barbi Benton - 1975

Promo Ad - Venetian Room - Fairmont Hotel - San Francisco, CA - December 1975
Promo Ad - Tower Records - Barbi Benton - December 1975
Promo Ad - Music Circus '82 - Sacramento, CA - Oklahoma! - Barbi Benton - Tom Netherton - July 1982

From 1976, Benton left Hee! Haw! and concentrated on television appearing as a regular on the short-lived Sugar Time in 1977 and in such shows ranging from The Love Boat to Charlie's Angels. She also appeared in several motion pictures.

In October 1979, she married well-to-do realtor George Gradow and her acting career began winding down over the next three or four years. As of 2020, she is retired, the Gradows dividing their time between homes in Aspen and Los Angeles, the parents of two grown children.

Brass Buckles - Barbi Benton - Playboy Records (P 6032) - 1975

Credits & Sources

Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

 
Playboy
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  6008 A Welcome Stranger
  6008 B That Country Boy of Mine
  6016 A Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep with You
  6016 B If You Can't Do It, That's Alright
  6032 A Brass Buckles
  6032 B Put a Little Bit on Me
  6043 A Movie Magazine, Stars in Her Eyes
  6043 B He Looks Just Like His Daddy
  6045 A Roll You Like a Wheel (w/ Mickey Gilley)
  6045 B Let's Sing a Song Together (w/ Mickey Gilley)
  6056 A The Reverend Bob
  6056 B Ain't That Just the Way
  6078 A Staying Power
  6078 B San Diego Serenade
  6094 A Needing You
  6094 B In the Winter