RICHARD S Rosenzweig
August 8, 1935 – May 6, 2020
Richard “Dick” Rosenzweig, former Executive Vice President of Playboy Enterprises, Inc. Dies at 84.
Dick Rosenzweig, longtime executive at Playboy Enterprises, Inc. and a founding member of what is now known as The Wallis Center for the Performing Arts, died on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 84. His wife and partner of 53 years, Judy Henning, said he was receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer.
A long-time friend and trusted advisor to Hugh M. Hefner, Rosenzweig served as executive vice president of Playboy Enterprises, Inc., president and executive producer of the internationally acclaimed Playboy Jazz Festival, and led the company’s subsidiary, Alta Loma Entertainment, Inc. into mainstream feature film as well as television and stage production. "Dick was a thoughtful, elegant, and extremely trustworthy man. To me, he was a man who defined high character,” said Academy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer.
Rosenzweig joined Playboy during the publication’s infancy. On a fateful day in 1958 while working in Chicago on the staff of Dun and Bradstreet, Inc., he discovered that a parade blocked his route. He stepped into a nearby building to pass the time by visiting a friend at the newly formed Playboy office. The friend alerted him to a job opening in the advertising department.
He was hired by the budding publishing company and began as an assistant to the advertising vice president. Over the next six decades, Rosenzweig held a variety of positions within the company, including production and syndication manager of the first Playboy's Penthouse television series; special assistant to the editorial director, Playboy magazine; and associate promotion director, HMH Publishing Company.
Cooper Hefner, former Chief Creative Officer of Playboy and son of the late Hugh M. Hefner, commented, “There is so much that I admire and will miss that speaks on behalf of the wonderful person Dick was. It was seen in his unwavering loyalty to my father. Like so many others, I am better as a result of having been a beneficiary of Dick’s friendship, guidance, and love. He will be missed by many.”
In 1977, he and Judy moved to Los Angeles, where he was made responsible for all West Coast operations for Playboy, including the Entertainment Group. He also became president and executive producer of the Playboy Jazz Festival. "Dick Rosenzweig was one of the most respected and beloved members of the Playboy family. During his 61-year tenure, his accomplishments were immeasurable, resulting in everything from TV's groundbreaking Playboy's Penthouse, to the legendary 'Big Bunny' jet, to the internationally acclaimed Playboy Jazz Festival, to his role as executive producer of E!'s hit television series, The Girls Next Door. He will be dearly missed," stated Playboy CEO Ben Kohn.
To friends and neighbors, Dick was known as a committed supporter of the arts, an avid collector of contemporary art, and a champion of the city of Beverly Hills. He served on the Beverly Hills Arts and Culture Commission, Beverly Hills General Plan Committee, Beverly Hills Convention and Visitors Bureau, was president of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, and was honored with the chairmanship of the city’s Centennial Celebration in 2014. He was a founding member of the board and executive committee of the Beverly Hills Cultural Center Foundation in 1996, was elected president, and served as vice chairman of what has become The Wallis Center for the Performing Arts in June 2000. Dick and his wife Judy were founders of the Museum of Contemporary Art. In July 2000, he was elected chairman of the Modern and Contemporary Art Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Rosenzweig has also distinguished himself in such posts as chairman of the board for more than a decade of Children of the Night, a nationally honored program for runaway teens; as a board member of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California; as a groundbreaker of the American Cinematheque; and as a board member of the Henry Mancini Institute of the American Jazz Philharmonic.
In 1993, he was appointed by the mayor to the Economic Advisory Committee of Beverly Hills and was awarded the Beverly Hills Medal by the City Council for his outstanding services to the community. In 1995, he was elected president of The Maple Counseling Center in Beverly Hills, a nationally recognized community counseling facility, after serving for two years as a member of the Center's board of directors. He was re-elected to that post in 1996 and served as its chairman from 1997-1998. He was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to the Economic and Business Development Board of California in 1996.
Born in Appleton, Wisconsin, in 1935, he received a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University School of Communication in 1957. He then served for six months in the United States Army active reserve at Fort Bragg, NC in the 305th Psychological Warfare Battalion.
Completing an advanced management program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Business in 1975, Rosenzweig was named to Who's Who In America that same year. He became a member of the Producers Guild of America in March, 2007 and additionally holds membership in the following organizations: The American Film Institute (2005), The Recording Academy (2006), The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (2004) and International Documentary Association (2007.)
Dick is survived by his wife, Judy Henning; his nephew Steven Ziven and wife Lynn and their children Lisa and Jason; niece Debra Ziven; brother-in-law Alvin Ziven; and nephew Emmett Murphy and extended family. Dick Rosenzweig leaves a great legacy of contributions to worthy endeavors to his community, family, and much loved friends. Donations in his memory can be made to The Wallis Center for the Performing Arts. https://thewallis.org
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
RICHARD S Rosenzweig
May 27, 2020
Stephen and I were so happy to know Judy and Dick when we all lived on Schiller Street in Chicago. They were wonderful next door neighbors and we were honored to call them friends. May Dick rest in peace as we all mourn his passing.
Charles "Skip" Rubin
May 21, 2020
As a former judge in Beverly Hills, I met and became friends with Dick and Judy shortly after they settled in Beverly Hills. My wife Maud and I have been blessed with their longtime friendship.
We can say without hesitation, that Dick was one of the most talented businessmen and art and jazz aficionados we have known. His eclectic accomplishments and unwavering dedication to community and charitable causes were amazing. On top of all that, he was a loyal and supportive husband and a really nice and very decent man.
He would be the first to admit that he couldn't have done it without his beautiful wife Judy Henning's love, advice and support.
Dick will remain in our hearts forever.
Charles "Skip" Rubin and Maud Adams
May 21, 2020
Dick was a good friend. He was an early supporter of our company,
Always living up to his commitments. We had a good time. Mr. Hefner was fortunate to have DICK’s association. Our entire family will miss him so much
May 14, 2020
I first met Dick back in 1989. I had offered to assist Children of the Night in their search for a home and shelter. Mr. Rosenzweig called me in for an interview with him. I was four years out of architecture school and had just completed my licensing requirements as an Architect. He was very protective of Dr. Lois Lee and her organization and respectfully grilled me about my intentions on why I wanted to assist with Children of the Night. That interview left a huge impression on me. Dick was very involved with the new shelter and was always available to me for questions and advice during its design and construction. I’m very thankful to have such a wonderful memory of him in my life.
May 11, 2020
I always looked forward to having lunch or dinner with Dick and Judy . They're such a classy couple .We got together in Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas over the years.
He was such a achiever and a special good friend to my brother Emmett.
May 9, 2020
Dearest family ,
My late father and Richard Rosenzweig were special friends ! They did business together with Playboy Enterprises !
They had a special bond !
Later in life, I had the privilege of meeting Richard ! He was always kind to me ! He always told me how much my late father meant to him as a friend .
That will always mean a great deal to me .
You will be missed in the community of Beverly Hills and our family too.
Daughter of Warren and Anne Ackerman