Benton (initially credited as Barbi Klein) appeared on the cover of Playboy four times: July 1969, March 1970, May 1972, and December 1985 and in additional nude photo layouts in the December 1973 and January 1975 issues. Though she was featured in a number of photo-essays, she was never a Playmate of the Month. She landed a spot on television's Hee Haw doing short comedy sketches, and subsequently enjoyed a career as a country singer. She also began acting, and appeared in the West German comedy film The Naughty Cheerleader (1970), before appearing as a featured repeat performer on a number of popular television series, including The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. Benton lived with Hefner from 1969 until 1976 and is known for discovering the Playboy Mansion West, where Hefner resided until his death in 2017. Years later, when the television series The Girls Next Door visited her in Aspen, Colorado, she expressed gratitude that the two had remained friends.
Benton achieved some success as a recording Artist. Her record "Brass Buckles" (1975) was a top-five hit on Billboard's country singles chart. Benton has recorded eight albums, the last of which she personally produced in 1979. She also composed the songs, sang them, and played piano. One of her better-known songs was "Ain't That Just the Way" (1976). It was a number one hit in Sweden for 5 weeks, was also a major hit for Lutricia McNeal in 1996, and was recorded by the Dutch singer Patricia Paay under the title Poor Jeremy in 1977.
Benton left Hee Haw after four seasons to concentrate on a more Hollywood-oriented career. She also starred in the short-lived 1977 ABC-TV comedy series Sugar Time!, about an aspiring female rock group and in films including the slasher Hospital Massacre (1982).
Benton married George Gradow, a real-estate developer, on October 14, 1979. They have two children, Alexander (born August 23, 1986) and Ariana Gradow (born July 13, 1988). They divide their time between homes in Aspen and Los Angeles.