By  on October 13, 2005

NEW YORK — American Playboy icon Hugh Hefner is apparently still a swinger at 79.

Sandwiched between his three vivacious live-in girlfriends — Kendra Wilkinson, 20, Holly Madison, 25, and Bridget Marquardt, 31 — the founder of the $329 million Playboy Enterprises empire was at the Virgin Megastore here Tuesday to launch a line of undies, apparel and accessories.

The licensed line, which is produced by the Los Angeles-based California Sunshine and bears "The Girls Next Door" label, is named after the eight-episode reality show on "E" which began airing in August and dwells on the bombshell blondes' secret lives shared in the Playboy mansion with Hefner. Suggested retail prices range from $13.99 for cotton undies to $24.99 for baby T-shirts.

Hefner noted that when it comes to lingerie he prefers "French lace," but quickly added that a cotton T-shirt also is sexy looking.

The foursome made an appearance Wednesday at the Virgin Megastore in Chicago, and will visit the Los Angeles unit Tuesday. The line will be sold exclusively at 18 Virgin Megastores nationwide, as well as at the Playboy Concept Boutique at The Forum Shops in Las Vegas and on playboystore.com.

In New York, a line of 300 frenzied Playboy fans turned out to catch a glimpse of Hef. Over 500 November issues of Playboy were sold at the two-hour signing event.

Regarding "The Girls Next Door" show — which he described as "Charlie's Angels meets Alice in Wonderland" — Hefner said, "You wouldn't believe how many times I've been approached about doing a reality TV show at the mansion. But I trusted producer Kevin Burns, who did an autobiography of me on A&E called 'American Playboy.' He had a notion of doing a show from a young, personal point-of-view."

Indeed, the show provides an intimate snapshot of the world-famous party mansion and his girlfriends. Madison, whom Hefner calls "The Sweet One," loves party planning and her miniature dogs; Marquardt, "The Beauty and the Brains," is a horror film buff, and Wilkinson, "The Wild One," is into massage therapy and martial arts. Wilkinson said the "biggest challenge" while taping the show is "getting miked" (microphoned) around her breasts.

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