Marquardt, who was catapulted to instant fame on the hit E! reality series, knew O’Connor, 82, even before the blonde bombshell moved into the mansion. O’Connor worked for the Playboy founder for over 40 years.
“I have so many memories of her 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,” Marquardt told Celebuzz.
Even in her later years, Hefner’s confidante was game for anything, she said.
“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,” Marquardt remembered with fondess.
“She was flirty, feisty and funny all wrapped up into one.”
All jokes aside, O’Connor was the motherly figure for everyone at the mansion in times of need.
“Every morning Holly [Madison] and I would go down to her office and talk to her about everything,” Marquardt said. “So she was always there for us to vent or just to help us out.”
Marquardt, who moved out of the Playboy Mansion in 2009 when the long-running show came to an end and she and her co-stars Madison and Kendra Wilkinson broke things off with the 86-year-old media mogul. But that didn’t keep her away from her home away from home.
“Even when I moved out of the mansion I would still go back just to see her!” laughed Marquardt, who’s been dating director Nick Carpenter for over three years. “We would talk for hours and Hef would even have to come down and say ‘hey girls, you’ve got to get outta here so Mary can get back to work.’”
“She was motherly to the mansion and a good friend.”
And as a Hef’s right hand woman, O’Connor wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is.
“She was a spitfire. She wouldn’t hesitate in telling us we were being ridiculous. She was so honest.”
So would she dare to put the man of the house in his place?
“Oh absolutely! She was the only person who was able to do that and he respected it,” she said.
Marquardt, 39, hasn’t spoken to her ex since news of O’Connor’s passing hit the news Monday, but she will.
“I haven’t talked to Hef yet,” she said. “It will take time to digest it and I’m sure we’ll see each other soon at a memorial.”
Hefner Tweeted the news of O’Connor’s passing Sunday night with kind words of remembrance: “Mary passed away today. We loved her more than words could say.”
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