A former Bunny mother at the Playboy Club that once stood in the heart of Miami reflected on the mark the late Hugh Hefner left in South Florida a day after the passing of the cultural icon.
Alice Wilder, who lives in Miami Springs, called her bunny gig the best job she’s ever had. She said she has fond memories of Playboy’s founder. The most memorable moment was a dance she shared with Hefner at his Miami club.
“He came over, he asked me to dance and I was a dummy because everything to me was stars galore. I was used to it and it was no big deal,” Wilder said.
As the Bunny mother at the club, Wilder hired, trained and offered guidance to younger bunnies. She said she gained many social skills during her time at the club.
“I learned the people skills. I learned the leadership skills. I learned self-assurance. All of this came with Playboy, and then from there, I could grab hold and just continue to grow,” Wilder explained.
In the 1970s, the Miami club was located on 77th Street and Biscayne Boulevard. Several decades later, the lot became home to an auto parts store.
Hefner’s Playboy brand had another location on Miami Beach, along 54th Street and Collins Avenue. In 2017, that building is known as the Castle Beach Club condominiums. In the building’s lower lobby, a relic of the Playboy club remains — an inlay of the cursive letters “HP” in the terrazzo floor.
The Playboy club days in South Florida didn’t last too long – both locations shut down in the early 1980s.