Playboy empire founder Hugh Hefner, whose magazine described him as living by the motto "Marriage is the death of hope," has proposed to the most recent of his companions at the Playboy mansion.

The object of Hefner's affections is Kimberley Conrad, 24, the magazine's Miss January 1988 who moved into his mansion in January, along with her two dogs and a cat."Mr. Hefner has indeed popped the question Saturday night at a romantic moment over the wishing well at the Playboy mansion," Hefner spokesman Bruce Binkow said.

Conrad, whose picture appears on the cover of the issue, said the fact that Hefner is 38 years older than her doesn't concern her. "I adore him," she said.