Hugh Hefner is mourning the loss of his loyal secretary of more than 40 years, Mary O'Connor. She died Sunday afternoon, January 27 after a short illness at the age of 84 in Sherman Oaks, California. "Mary passed away today. We loved her more than words can say," the 86-year-old Playboy founder remembered his trusted confidant.
O'Connor was surrounded by her brother and close friends at the time of her death. She is survived by her brother James Feuchtinger, and sister-in-law Sheila, together with several nieces and nephews and an army of grateful friends and fans. Service arrangements will be announced on Tuesday, January 29 for her family and friends to pay their respects.
Before O'Connor's bad health took a turn for the worst on Sunday, Hefner informed his Twitter followers that Crystal Harris whom he got married to on New Year's Eve came to visit the ailing secretary. "Crystal is going to visit Mary O'Connor, who is not doing very well. Mary has our prayers. We all love her," so he wrote.
O'Connor was credited as the one who reunited Hefner and Harris after Harris infamously dumped Hefner just a few days before their marriage. "It's Mary O'Connor that brought Crystal Harris back," he explained shortly after their reconciliation last year. "Crystal was miserable & said so. Mary told Crystal to write and tell me, which she did."
During her years of working for Hefner, O'Connor made several appearances on "The Girls Next Door", the wildly successful E! reality show documenting Hefner's Playboy bunny girlfriends and their life at the mansion. Though camera-shy, the fiercely-loyal secretary often offered comedic relief on the show with her frank side comments.
One of the girls who once appeared on the show, Bridget Marquardt, tweeted her condolence, "Thank you for all the sweet messages. Mary O'Connor will be missed.#RIPMary." Harris wrote a similar note, "Hef's long time secretary & my dear friend Mary O'Connor has passed away. It's a very sad day here at the Playboy Mansion. We love you Mary."
In an interview with Celebuzz, Marquardt said, "I have so many memories of her (O'Connor) since I met her 11 years ago. I used to go over to her house for garden parties and dinner parties and to play cards or dice. She traveled the world with us for Hef's 80th birthday to five different countries and I remember playing a prank on her at the Kentucky Derby."
"She was flirty, feisty and funny all wrapped up into one," Marquardt said lovingly of the late secretary. "Every morning Holly [Madison] and I would go down to her office and talk to her about everything, so she was always there for us to vent or just to help us out."
Another former "Girls Next Door" star Kendra Wilkinson also sent her prayers for the late secretary, "RIP Mary O'Connor. She was an amazing person who helped me through so much. But I know she's happy with her boo Captain Bob. :)" Captain Bob is Mary's husband who passed away around nine months ago.