Jill Ann Spaulding: How Did the Aspiring Playboy Model Die?

Holly Madison- Host of The Playboy Murders

Jill Ann Spaulding, once on the brink of a career as a Playboy Model, actively engaged in the industry by attending various parties. However, a pivotal event compelled her to redirect her path, leading her to share her experiences through a self-published exposé. This tell-all book sheds light on the darker aspects of the industry. Years after the book’s release, Jill became entangled in a murder-suicide incident that claimed three lives, including her own. Investigation Discovery’s ‘The Playboy Murders’ episode titled ‘Playboy Model Tells All’ unravels Jill’s life story and investigates the circumstances surrounding her untimely demise.

What Happened to Jill Ann Spaulding at Playboy?

Jill Ann Spaulding, born on April 29, 1970, in Phoenix, Arizona, relocated to Washington with her family before returning to Phoenix at the age of 14. A graduate of Mountain View High School in Mesa, Arizona, Jill displayed remarkable ambition even during her high school years. Raised in a family with modest means, she took on various jobs to support herself. Immediately after high school, she utilized her savings to acquire her own mobile home. In her self-published book, Jill recalled her grandmother planting the idea of becoming a Playboy model in her mind. While initially not giving it much consideration, a certain fascination began to take root.

At the age of 21, Jill crossed paths with Bruce Gifford, a 43-year-old man. This relationship stirred concerns within her family, leading to a rift and severed ties between Jill and her parents. While concurrently managing a successful recycled clothing store named Exchange she had established, her aspirations of becoming a Playboy model lingered in the background. On a spontaneous whim, she submitted her photos to Playboy. The rejection she faced intensified her determination to pursue this desire even more fervently.

In her book, Jill candidly revealed her decision to undergo a significant physical transformation. She enlisted the help of a personal trainer, adopted a platinum blonde look, and underwent breast augmentation and liposuction surgery. Recognizing the need to work her way up to be associated with Playboy, she strategically positioned herself as a poker player, a skill at which she excelled, in pitches to Playboy for a potential pictorial. Simultaneously, she took on smaller modeling gigs to bolster her portfolio and persistently applied to Playboy. Her persistence paid off when she received a call, earning her a pictorial and featuring her biography in the magazine.

Following the publication of her article in 2002, Jill experienced the unexpected thrill of being invited to the iconic Playboy Mansion, a coveted accomplishment she had long desired. Accompanied by her boyfriend, Bruce, who waited for her in Los Angeles, she got the chance to attend the glamorous party. Some speculate that her boyfriend played a significant role in motivating her to pursue connections within the Playboy circle. Her interactions at the party caught the attention of none other than Hugh Hefner himself, leading to subsequent invitations and continued involvement in Playboy Mansion events.

Despite her best efforts, the competitive nature of the industry presented challenges, making her quest to fully integrate into the Playboy circle a demanding endeavor. During this period, Bruce embarked on a career as a paparazzi photographer in Los Angeles, establishing his own company, Film Magic, in collaboration with Getty Images. Quickly gaining recognition, he became one of the prominent paparazzi figures in Los Angeles. Simultaneously, Jill continued to be a familiar presence, frequently photographed and attending various high-profile parties. Despite her persistent efforts to secure a spot as a Playboy model by submitting applications, Jill faced continual rejection from the publication.

Jill, then 30 years old, recognized that her aspirations of becoming a Playboy model had reached an impasse. Consequently, she shifted her focus to writing a book titled ‘Upstairs.’ This expose delved into the inner workings of the Playboy mansion, revealing graphic details about the activities that transpired within. Upon its release in 2004, the book stirred significant controversy, with some models mentioned in it expressing hurt and labeling it as a form of “revenge porn.”

Jill Ann Spaulding Sadly Passed Away in 2017

Jill Ann Spaulding eventually married Bruce Gifford following their involvement in the Playboy scene. Despite spending approximately two decades together, their relationship began to unravel after marriage, leading to a separation. At the age of 47, Jill initiated a new chapter in her personal life by dating someone closer to her age, 45-year-old Benjamin Childs. The couple quickly formed a close bond, deciding to visit Jill’s grandfather’s house in Mesa, Arizona, in December 2017 for Christmas.

On December 23, 2017, around 2:30 p.m., the police responded to reports of a possible shooting near Jill’s grandfather’s house. In what appeared to be a tragic murder-suicide, Jill and Benjamin were found shot to death, allegedly by 67-year-old Bruce. While the police refrained from making immediate assumptions, they theorized that Jill and Benjamin had arrived at the house, encountering Bruce. An altercation between Benjamin and Bruce ensued, resulting in Bruce shooting the couple before taking his own life.

Read More: Victoria Vetri: Where is the Former Playboy Model Now?