Hugh Hefner (1926-2017)
American Publisher – Playboy Magazine
April 9, 1926 – September 27, 2017
Hugh Hefner the founder and publisher of the American magazine, Playboy has passed away at the age of 91. According to multiple reports, his death was a result of natural causes.
Hefner was more than just the founder of one of the most iconic magazines of the 20th century, he was a journalist, political activist, philanthropist, and World War 2 veteran.
Hailing from Chicago, Hefner was born into a Midwestern family in 1926. The son of two school teachers, he was raised in a conservative household alongside his younger brother. During World War 2, he served his country as a member of the military newspaper from 1944-1946. Following the end of the war, he went on to study at the University of Illinois graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a double minor in Creative Writing and Art.
Upon the completion of his studies, he began his career as a copywriter at Esquire. After being denied a raise in 1953, Hefner left the magazine with the goal to launch his own, Playboy. Originally called Stag Party, Hefner was able to raise over $8000 dollars from various investors with his mother contributing $1000 dollars. Years later, Hefner went on to say his mother said she invested in his company not because “she believed in the magazine, but because she believed in her son”.
The first issue was published in 1953 and featured photos of Marilyn Monroe’s 1949 nude calendar shoot. The first publication was a major success selling over 50,000 copies across the United States. From there, the Playboy empire grew with the company producing one of the most commercially successful magazines of the 20th century, the launch of a television and online entertainment division, and the purchase of the Playboy Mansion – arguably one of the most recognizable pop culture residences of all time.
Hefner was most well-known for his personal life and the “playboy” lifestyle he lived. It was not uncommon for him to have ongoing relationships with several of the current and past “Playboy Bunnies” at the same time. By his own admission, Hefner has stated that he at times had relationships with up to 11 of the 12 cover models in a given year. The Playboy Mansion is also known for its wild and elaborate parties attracting some of Hollywood’s biggest stars as guests.
He eventually would find loved and was married three times during his life with several other long term relationships.
He leaves behind his current wife, Crystal Hefner as well as his daughter Christie Hefner, and three sons Cooper, Marston, and David Hefner.