Lillian Muller Interview
(Playmate Of The Year” in 1976)
She was Playboy Magazine’s “Playmate Of The Year” in 1976.
In Playboy Magazines 45th Anniversary issue, she was named one of the top 100 “Sex Stars Of The Century”.
She’s been featured in more than 30 film and television shows with people like Tom Selleck, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson, Bill Cosby, Pierce Brosnan, Elliot Gould, Vincent Price, Dudley Moore, Kirstie Alley and Ted Danson.
She’s probably the most featured Playmate Of The Year, in the history of Playboy Magazine appearing on eight Playboy Covers!!
She appeared in Rod Stewart’s video “Do You Think I’m Sexy”, and Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” video.
She’s been interviewed on “Good Morning America”, “Extra” and “The Tonight Show”.
In 2003, Norwegian TV2 made a documentary about her life.
These days you’ll find her on the speaker’s circuit talking about health and fitness.
Lillian Muller is her name, and she gave us quite an interview covering her background and what she’s all about today.
Q – Somebody’s getting married!
A – Well, yeah I am engaged. I got engaged a year ago to my finance, on his 60th birthday, in Venice where he was born. We went over there for 2 weeks.
Q – What does he do for a living? I’m trying to figure out what kind of a guy gets to marry a Playboy Playmate?
A – Well, he’s actually one of the top fashion photographers in the world.
Q – That would explain it.
A – And has been for over 30 years. He was the one who actually shot my calendar in 2004. I did my first and only calendar when I turned 50. I’d never done a calendar before. When I met him I was 48 years old. He said, ‘If you play your cards right the best is still to come’. He goes, ‘Before 50, there’s still a lot of beautiful, sexy girls out there. But, after 50 you’re really in a league by yourself’, which is kind of true. I don’t know how many beautiful, sexy women still keep it together after 50, but I don’t think there’s more than maybe a dozen.
Q – Well now, you don’t drink…..
A – No. I’ve never had an alcoholic drink or cigarette or tried drugs in my lifetime.
Q – You’ve been a vegetarian for 25 years?
A – No. Actually I’ve been a vegetarian for 30 years. I became a vegetarian at 27.
Q – How rare do you think it is to be a vegetarian, and not drink, smoke or take drugs and be in Show Business?
A – I haven’t met anybody else. (Laughs). So, I guess it’s pretty rare. I came to America from London. I was a Top Model. A Pin-up model, you know Page 3 London Sun. I did a lot of bathing suit catalogs and layouts. I’d never done anything nude. Playboy saw me and brought me over here. I became a Centerfold and became Playmate Of The Year. Even living at the (Playboy) Mansion with all the drugs and alcohol and everything else going on there-----I never touched it. I was the only one by the way. I definitely was the only girl not touching that stuff over there. They were doing a lot of partying in the 70’s. There’s something for sure that happens when you’re a vegetarian, and you don’t eat animal products. You don’t take in the energy of that animal that’s been killed. I avoid animal products for several reasons: first of all the cruelty to the animals. Commercial farming is so cruel to the animals. I can’t imagine eating anything that comes from a product of commercial farming. Number Two, how can people think there’s a benefit in eating a dead animal? Even if you’re a vegetarian and you work out, if you don’t have your mind set correct especially as you get older-----forget about it! You have to be an enthusiast. You have to be an optimist. If you’re a negative person complaining about everything, looking at the glass half empty all the time-----how are you going to survive aging is beyond me. I wouldn’t survive it if I was a negative person. You have to be an optimistic, spiritual person I think.
Q – What I fail to understand is how people can go into the gym to work out and then go out drinking. The two would not seem to go together.
A – With the drinking I don’t understand what is the fun in getting up next morning and not remember what you said or did. It happens to a lot of people. I guess I’m a control freak to some point. I want to know what I’m doing at any minute. I can’t imagine being drunk and out of control. These people are so stupid and ridiculous to me.
Q – What prompted you to become a vegetarian?
A – It was right after I became a Playmate Of The Year at 25. I’d been doing films in Europe and was getting into the television business here. I always had very low blood pressure and my energy level was low and I suffered from depression and anxiety. I knew that in spite of having money and being famous that it was not the answer to happiness. I knew that I had to change my lifestyle. I figured there’s something I’m doing totally wrong in my lifestyle. I actually had a voice coach in Los Angeles who was teaching me to speak with not such a strong Norwegian accent. One day she said, ‘It’s really hard to teach you because you’re always depressed. Your energy level is really low’. I’m going to send you to a friend of mine down in Redondo Beach (California). His name is Gene Stanley. He passed last year (2007) at like 90 years old. He was a fantastic natural doctor and his wife Erin Stanley. She’s still alive, actually a minister in Science Of The Mind Church down in Redondo Beach. I remember the first day I went down, I sat there for 6 hours and we talked about lifestyle and aging and sickness and lack of harmony in the body and lack of success in life. I mean, we went into everything. When I walked away from those people that night, I said to myself, this is it. I’m totally changing. No more animal products in my life. I went actually 10 months on fruit. I lived on fruit to detoxify for 10 months straight. I didn’t cheat one time, fruit, water and then colon cleansing. I came out of that a totally new person. From then on I never feared aging, never feared getting old chronologically. I started looking forward to getting older, wiser, and more informed about life, human nature, getting into deeper things about life. Looking sexy and being in all these men’s magazines is all well and good but it’s not something that satisfies.
Q – Before you were named “Playmate Of The Year” in 1976, you were an actress and a model. What convinced you that this would be a good career move?
A – Well, you know something? I didn’t even think of a career move, at that point. I had actually nothing in films when I got my Playmate offer. I had nothing in television. But, I was a Top model in London. In my country Norway, I was the runner-up to Miss Norway, at 18. So, I got into it at a very young age. I remember an agency in London, called Top Models, which still exists today, got a call from Playboy and asked if I wanted to come to America to be a Centerfold based on pictures they’d seen of me in the British media. I thought, yeah, that sounds like fun. I grew up on a farm in Norway and we were very poor, but, we had a couple of aunts, my mother’s sisters that had immigrated to America many years ago; America was like-----wow!! The greatest candy and movie stars. That was like Heaven when they offered me to come to America and be a Centerfold. I didn’t think career move, I just thought of America in general. I came to Hugh Hefner’s mansion in Chicago and stayed. He’s sold it since, but at that time it was still in existence. I shot my centerfold there in one day. They picked me up in a limousine to take me to the studio to shoot my centerfold. And then he came there from the airport in his limo. We kind of met that way and later that night he asked me to come and have dinner with him, at the Mansion. I was very shy. He did all the talking. I just sat down and looked at him totally impressed. We hang out for 2 or 3 weeks, and then it was time for him to go back to L.A. and he asked me to come back to L.A. with him.
Q – After you became a Centerfold, you started working in the movies, and you’ve made over 30 movies.
A – But, I will tell you one thing, I did get my first role in a movie in Germany; my first leading role as a direct result of being a Playboy Centerfold. Actually a photographer I had worked with in London by the name of Bruno Bernard was actually quite well known. He’s like the Bernard of Hollywood fame. He actually discovered Marilyn Monroe. He shot the picture of her on the stairs with the white dress blowing up. He was in England when I was doing all the Page Three Girl pictures and establishing myself as a model in London. He had photographed me and actually told me I was in the same pin-up league as those old movie stars like Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. He had photographed all those girls in Hollywood before working as a staff photographer for the studios. When I came to America and became a Centerfold, living with Hugh Hefner, one night out at the blue Bruno Bernard called me at the Playboy Mansion here in L.A. and said, ‘Would you like to star in a movie in Germany?’ I remember that so vividly. I said, ‘What do you mean starring in a film? I don’t have any acting experience’. He said, ‘I’m sitting here with this director. We’re looking at your August layout in Playboy and he thinks you’re exactly the girl he’s looking for’. It was a straight film, not soft-core. The only thing they said you have to come to Germany right away, to Munich and do a screen test. Bruno Bernard said, ‘I worked with you in the studio and you’re a great model, but being an actress is a little different. And, though you have the look that he wants, he wants to see if you can really cut the acting’. I went to Germany the following week and did a screen test and I passed. They told me right on the spot I had the role.
Q – You also worked with Rock Hudson.
A – Yes.
Q – Were you a fan of Rock Hudson?
A – Yeah. He was very famous. I’d seen him in movies when I was like a kid in Norway. So, when they called me in, it was my second acting project in television here. It was a Movie Of The Week. They called me in for that and I went, ‘Oh, wow’! I walked on the set that morning and he was so tall and he was really handsome. He was the old time movie star like Cary Grant. I played his secretary. He was the cutest, he was the most charming and he flirted with me like crazy. You would have never thought in a million years he was gay. I don’t think it was out in the open that he was gay. I think he came out with that a little bit later or maybe it was right around that time. He was so gorgeous. He was so nice. I had a ball working with him and Tony Curtis.
Q – You were on “The Tonight Show”. Were you interviewed by Johnny Carson?
A – Yes. As a model, I worked for an agency in L.A. called Nina Blanchard, which was a top fashion agency on the West Coast. They contacted her. I was the spokesperson for a product; it was a perfume for men and women. They had me come on and show; I was actually the model doing the modeling job for that perfume. I came on the stage representing that co. but at the same time I had to go and do a skit with Johnny Carson. It developed from just talking about the perfume to a little more personal. He kind of interviewed me a little bit and we did some jokes. It was a very fun moment. That show we had no rehearsal. They said just go out and have fun with Johnny Carson. I was definitely nervous, but, if you have some sense of comedy and some sense of yourself it’s really not that hard. From then on I started to love improv. I loved the sense of danger in doing something in the moment and nothing to fall back on, just, plunge in there and do it. What happens happens. You can fall apart or you can win.
Q – You did a video with Rod Stewart-----“Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”.
A – Not did I just do a video with him, but, a couple of years later he hired me to do a commercial for Japan on Scotch Whiskey. In that commercial we danced around. While he was playing the piano, I was laying across the piano dressed in all white. It was fun. He was great. He didn’t hit on me. Totally respectful. A real gentleman. I really liked to work with him. I never had a negative experience with anyone I worked with in film and television. I worked with Tom Selleck. A true gentleman. Him and I actually went out for awhile. It developed into a little more than co-stars. I co-starred with him in the original ‘Magnum P.I.’-----the pilot. So gorgeous. He’s one of those men that look better in-person than in film. I don’t think film or television ever did him justice, in the looks department. He was so nice and down-to-earth. A great guy.
Q – You were also in Van Halen’s video, “Hot For Teacher”. Were you that school teacher?
A – No. I was not that school teacher. I had a small part in that Van Halen video.
Q – Don’t you have a membership fee that people pay to see photos of yourself on your site?
A – No, because I don’t do nudity anymore. I use my site as a place where people can read about what I’m doing. I don’t have much drive in the direction of being of a naked girl in a man’s magazine anymore. That doesn’t really impress me. Or a naked girl on an internet website.
Lillian has been staring in 2 TV Reality Shows in Norway, in the last year; both are currently on the air, on TV NORWAY (TV NORGE), one of Norway's top two commercial TV channels! One of them is about Extreme sports and is Norway's longest running, most popular reality show. The other is about the lives of 9 Norwegian, successful women in Hollywood.
In Lillian’s next Norwegian TV series, She will host a series, All About Health! Also, on TV Norway. Plus, it looks like she will be on Norway's version of "Dancing With The Stars", next season! Lillian has been doing a lot of Motivational speaking, both in the US and Norway, and she is the spokesperson for several health products in her country.
Official website: www.lillianmuller.com
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