Hugh Marston Hefner (April 9, 1926 – September 27, 2017) was an American magazine publisher and life-stylist. He was founder and editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine, a revolutionary publication, aimed at a sophisticated young readership, with revealing glamour photographs and sensational articles provoking charges of obscenity. The first issue, in 1953, featuring Marilyn Monroe in her nude calendar shoot, sold over 50,000 copies.
Hefner extended the brand into a world network of Playboy Clubs, as well as his own luxury mansions where the Playboy ‘playmates’ shared his wild partying life, keenly reported in the media. An advocate of sexual liberation and freedom of expression, Hefner was a political activist in other causes too, including the Democratic party, First Amendment rights, animal rescue, and the restoration of the Hollywood Sign.
Hefner in November 2010
Hugh Marston Hefner
April 9, 1926
|Died||September 27, 2017 (aged 91)|
|Resting place||Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery|
|Alma mater||University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (B.A.)|
|Occupation||Businessman, magazine publisher|
|Known for||Editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine, chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises|
|Board member of||Playboy Enterprises|
(m. 1949; div. 1959)
(m. 1989; div. 2010)
|Partner(s)||Barbi Benton (1969–1976)|
Brande Roderick (1999–2000)
Holly Madison (2001–2008)
Bridget Marquardt (2002–2009)
Kendra Wilkinson (2004–2008)
|Children||4, Christie, David, Marston, and Cooper|
Hefner was born in Chicago on April 9, 1926, the first child of Grace Caroline (née Swanson; 1895–1997) who worked as a teacher, and Glenn Lucius Hefner (1896–1976), an accountant. His parents were originally from Nebraska. He had a younger brother, Keith (1929–2016). His mother was of Swedish descent, and his father had German and English ancestry.
Through his father's line, Hefner claimed descent from Plymouth governor William Bradford. He described his family as "conservative, Midwestern, [and] Methodist". His mother had wanted him to become a missionary.
He attended Sayre Elementary School and Steinmetz High School, then served from 1944 to 1946 as a U.S. Army writer for a military newspaper. Hefner graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 1949 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a double minor in Creative Writing and Art, having earned his degree in two and a half years. After graduation, he took a semester of graduate courses in Sociology at Northwestern University, but dropped out soon after.
In January 1952, Hefner left his job as a copywriter for Esquire after he was denied a $5 raise. In 1953, he took out a mortgage, generating a bank loan of $600, and raised $8,000 from 45 investors, including $1,000 from his mother ("Not because she believed in the venture," he told E! in 2006, "but because she believed in her son."), to launch Playboy, which was initially going to be called Stag Party. The first issue, published in December 1953, featured Marilyn Monroe from her 1949 nude calendar shoot and sold over 50,000 copies. (Hefner, who never met Monroe, bought the crypt next to hers at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in 1992 for $75,000.)
After the Charles Beaumont science fiction short story "The Crooked Man" was rejected by Esquire magazine in 1955, Hefner agreed to publish the story in Playboy. The story highlighted straight men being persecuted in a world where homosexuality was the norm. After the magazine received angry letters, Hefner wrote a response to criticism where he said, "If it was wrong to persecute heterosexuals in a homosexual society then the reverse was wrong, too." In 1961, Hefner watched Dick Gregory perform at the Herman Roberts Show Bar in Chicago. Based on that performance, Hefner hired Gregory to work at the Chicago Playboy Club; Gregory attributed the subsequent launch of his career to that night. In 1959, Hefner reinvented himself and bought a Chicago mansion in December of that year, a move which brought Playboy into the public eye.
On June 4, 1963, Hefner was arrested for promoting obscene literature after he published an issue of Playboy that featured nude shots of Jayne Mansfield in bed with a man present. The case went to trial and resulted in a hung jury.
In the 1960s, "private key" clubs would be created by Hefner, and these clubs would be racially diverse, in a time where the scent of segregation was still lingering heavy in the air. Also during the civil rights movement in 1966, Hefner sent Alex Haley to interview George Lincoln Rockwell, much to Rockwell's surprise because Haley was black. Rockwell had founded the American Nazi Party and would be later described by some as the "American Hitler". Rockwell agreed to meet with Haley only after gaining assurance from the Playboy writer that he was not Jewish, although Rockwell kept a handgun on the table throughout the interview. The interview was recreated in Roots: The Next Generations in 1979, with James Earl Jones as Haley and Marlon Brando as Rockwell; Brando won a Primetime Emmy Award for his portrayal of Rockwell. Haley had also interviewed Malcolm X in 1963 and Martin Luther King Jr. in 1966 for the newly established 1962 "playboy interview"; all three interviewees would be assassinated by 1968.
In 1970, Hugh Hefner stated that "militant feminists" are "unalterably opposed to the romantic boy-girl society that Playboy promotes" and ordered a hit piece in his magazine against them.
In the 1993 The Simpsons episode "Krusty Gets Kancelled", Hefner guest-voiced himself. In 1999, Hefner financed the Clara Bow documentary, Discovering the It Girl. "Nobody has what Clara had. She defined an era and made her mark on the nation," he stated. Hefner guest-starred as himself in the 2000 Sex and the City episode "Sex and Another City". In 2005, Hefner guest-starred on the HBO TV shows Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage. Hefner guest-starred as himself in a 2006 episode of Seth Green's Robot Chicken on the late-night programming block Adult Swim. In the 2007 Family Guy episode "Airport '07", Hefner guest-voiced himself. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for television and made several movie appearances as himself on the small screen. In 2009, he received a "worst supporting actor" nomination for a Razzie award for his performance as himself in Miss March. On his official Twitter account he joked about this nomination: "Maybe I didn't understand the character."
A documentary by Brigitte Berman, Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel, was released on July 30, 2010. He had previously granted full access to documentary filmmaker and television producer Kevin Burns for the A&E Biography special Hugh Hefner: American Playboy in 1996. Hefner and Burns later collaborated on numerous other television projects, most notably on The Girls Next Door, a reality series that ran for six seasons (2005–2009) and 90 episodes.
Known to friends and family as simply "Hef," in 1949, Hefner married Northwestern University student Mildred ("Millie") Williams. They had two children: daughter Christie (b. 1952) and son David (b. 1955). Before the wedding, Mildred confessed that she had an affair while he was away in the army. He called the admission "the most devastating moment of my life." A 2006 E! True Hollywood Story profile of Hefner revealed that Mildred allowed him to have sex with other women, out of guilt for her own infidelity and in the hope that it would preserve their marriage. The two were divorced in 1959.
Hefner remade himself as a bon vivant and man about town, a lifestyle he promoted in his magazine and two TV shows he hosted, Playboy's Penthouse (1959–1960) and Playboy After Dark (1969–1970). He was also the chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, which is the publishing group that operates the magazine. He admitted to being "'involved' with maybe eleven out of twelve months' worth of Playmates" during some of these years. Donna Michelle, Marilyn Cole, Lillian Müller, Shannon Tweed, Barbi Benton, Karen Christy, Sondra Theodore, and Carrie Leigh – who filed a $35 million palimony suit against him – were a few of his many lovers. In 1971, he acknowledged that he experimented in bisexuality. Also in 1971, Hefner established a second residence in Los Angeles with the acquisition of Playboy Mansion West and, in 1975, moved there permanently from Chicago.
In 1985, Hefner had a minor stroke at age 59. After re-evaluating his lifestyle, he made several changes. The wild, all-night parties were toned down significantly and in 1988, daughter Christie took over the operation of the Playboy empire. The following year, he married Playmate of the Year Kimberley Conrad; they were 36 years apart in age. The couple had two sons: Marston Glenn (born 1990) and Cooper Hefner (born 1991). The E! True Hollywood Story profile noted that the notorious Playboy Mansion had been transformed into a family-friendly homestead. After he and Conrad separated in 1998, she moved into a house next door to the mansion.
Hefner became known for moving an ever-changing coterie of young women into the Playboy Mansion, including twins Sandy and Mandy Bentley. He dated as many as seven women concurrently. He also dated Brande Roderick, Izabella St. James, Tina Marie Jordan, Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt, and Kendra Wilkinson. Madison, Wilkinson, and Marquardt appeared on The Girls Next Door depicting their lives at the Playboy Mansion. In October 2008, all three girls decided to leave the mansion. After an 11-year separation, Hefner filed for divorce from Conrad citing irreconcilable differences. Hefner has stated that he only remained nominally married to her for the sake of his children, and his youngest child had just turned 18.
In January 2009, Hefner began a relationship with Crystal Harris; she joined the Shannon Twins after his previous "number one girlfriend", Holly Madison, had ended their seven-year relationship. On December 24, 2010, he became engaged to Harris, to become his third wife. Harris broke off their engagement on June 14, 2011, five days before their planned wedding. In anticipation of the wedding, the July issue of Playboy, which reached store shelves and customer's homes within days of the wedding date, featured Harris on the cover and in a photo spread as well. The headline on the cover read "Introducing America's Princess, Mrs. Crystal Hefner". Hefner and Harris subsequently reconciled and married on December 31, 2012.
Hefner's brother Keith died at the age of 87 on April 8, 2016, one day before Hefner's 90th birthday.
In January 2016, the Playboy Mansion was put on the market for $200 million, on condition that Hugh Hefner would continue to work and live in the mansion. Later that year it was sold to Daren Metropoulos, a principal at private equity firm Metropoulos & Company, for $100 million. Metropoulos planned to reconnect the Playboy Mansion property with a neighboring estate that he purchased in 2009, combining the two for a 7.3 acre (3-hectare) compound as his own private residence.
The Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award was created by Christie Hefner "to honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for Americans."
He donated and raised money for the Democratic Party. In 2011, he referred to himself as an independent due to dissatisfaction with both the Democratic and Republican parties. Nonetheless, in 2012, he supported Barack Obama's reelection campaign.
In 1978, Hefner helped organize fund-raising efforts that led to the restoration of the Hollywood Sign. He hosted a gala fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion and contributed $27,000 (or 1/9 of the total restoration costs) by purchasing the letter Y in a ceremonial auction.
Hefner donated $100,000 to the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts to create a course called "Censorship in Cinema", and $2 million to endow a chair for the study of American film.
Both through his charitable foundation and individually, Hefner also contributed to charities outside the sphere of politics and publishing, throwing fundraiser events for Much Love Animal Rescue as well as Generation Rescue, an anti-vaccinationist campaign organization supported by Jenny McCarthy.
On November 18, 2010, Children of the Night founder and president Dr. Lois Lee presented Hefner with the organization's first-ever Founder's Hero of the Heart Award in appreciation for his unwavering dedication, commitment and generosity.
On April 26, 2010, Hefner donated the last $900,000 sought by a conservation group for a land purchase needed to stop the development of the famed vista of the Hollywood Sign. Sylvilagus palustris hefneri, an endangered subspecies of marsh rabbit, is named after him in honor of financial support that he provided.
The Barbi Twins who are among a notable cohort of celebrity Playmates, including Pamela Anderson and Hefner's third wife Crystal Harris, praised the publishing icon for providing centerfolds and extended members of the Playboy family with a platform for activism and advocacy on behalf of animal populations in need.
Hefner supported legalizing same-sex marriage, and he stated that a fight for gay marriage was "a fight for all our rights. Without it, we will turn back the sexual revolution and return to an earlier, puritanical time."
He is interred at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, in the $75,000 crypt beside Marilyn Monroe. "Spending eternity next to Marilyn is an opportunity too sweet to pass up," Hefner had told the Los Angeles Times in 2009.
In The Guardian, journalist Suzanne Moore wrote that Hefner threatened to file a lawsuit against her for calling him a "pimp". Defending her position, Moore argued that "he was a man who bought and sold women to other men". She further stated that "Part of Hefner's business acumen was to make the selling of female flesh respectable and hip, to make soft porn acceptable."
Writing for The Independent, English writer Julie Bindel argued that Hefner "caused immeasurable damage by turning porn – and therefore the buying and selling of women's bodies – into a legitimate business."
In the Los Angeles Times, Robin Abcarian wrote that Hefner "probably did more to the mainstream exploitation of women's bodies than any other figure in American history," adding that he "managed to convince many women that taking off their clothes for men's pleasure was not just empowering, but a worthy goal in itself." She further stated that Hefner "embodied the aesthetic notion that images of women — and women themselves — exist to please men."
Writing for Christianity Today, Ed Stetzer wrote that during his lifetime, when Christie Hefner visited the Playboy Mansion, he would have the residence systematically "cleaned" in order "to keep the realities from his own daughter". Stezer further lamented the consequences of Hefner's role as a "general" of the sexual revolution:
It's hard to fathom that anyone would have known what this would have turned into. Parents growing up today are fighting to keep their children pure. Spouses are fighting to keep their marriages intact. And many enslaved and trapped in the adult entertainment industry have been figuratively and literally stripped not only of their clothes, but their very value as people made in the image of God. If this does not concern us, what will?
Hefner's former girlfriend, Holly Madison, said that while she lived in the Playboy Mansion, Hefner "would encourage competition—and body image issues—between his multiple live-in girlfriends. His legacy is full of evidence of the exploitation of women for professional gain."
On October 3, 2017, it was announced that Academy Award-winning actor Jared Leto would play Hugh Hefner in a biopic directed by Brett Ratner with the screenplay by Jeff Nathanson. However, the film was indefinitely put on hold and it was confirmed that Leto would not portray Hefner following an emergence of sexual harassment allegations against Ratner on November 2, 2017.
"Airport '07" is the twelfth episode of season five of the animated sitcom Family Guy. The episode originally broadcast on Fox on March 4, 2007. The plot follows the Griffin family's neighbor Quagmire being dismissed from his job as a pilot after Peter sabotages his airplane by emptying the fuel tank, causing it to crash. Peter, Joe and Cleveland make a plan to get Quagmire his job back and, although the plan itself fails, Quagmire is re-hired.
Written by Tom Devanney and directed by John Holmquist, the episode received mostly positive reviews from critics. According to Nielsen ratings, it was watched by 8.59 million households in its original airing. The episode featured guest performances by Barclay DeVeau, Hugh Hefner, Phil LaMarr, Rachael MacFarlane and Fred Tatasciore, along with several recurring guest voice actors from the series.Centerfold
The centerfold or centrefold of a magazine refers to a gatefolded spread, usually a portrait such as a pin-up or a nude, inserted in the middle of the publication, or to the model featured in the portrait. In saddle-stitched magazines (as opposed to those that are perfect-bound), the centerfold does not have any blank space cutting through the image.
The term was coined by Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine. The success of the first issue of Playboy has been attributed in large part to its centerfold: a nude of Marilyn Monroe. The advent of monthly centerfolds gave the pin-up a new respectability, and helped to sanitize the notion of "sexiness". Being featured as a centerfold could lead to film roles for models, and still occasionally does today.Early on, Hefner required Playboy centerfolds to be portrayed in a very specific way, telling photographers in a 1956 memo that the "model must be in a natural setting engaged in some activity 'like reading, writing, mixing a drink'...[and]... should have a 'healthy, intelligent, American look—a young lady that looks like she might be a very efficient secretary or an undergrad at Vassar.'" Hefner later said that the ideal centerfold is one in which "a situation is suggested, the presence of someone not in the picture"; the goal was to transform "a straight pinup into an intimate interlude, something personal and special."Some magazines later adopted the practice of having a trifold or quatrefold centerfold, using a longer sheet of paper at that spot and folding the extra length into the magazine. Racier adult magazines used this space to showcase more explicit imagery: "In order to represent breasts, genitals, anus, and face all within the tri-fold frame of the centerfold, models were propped up, legs spread, raised, and then jack- knifed against their bodies, arms plunged between them to spread the labia."Though the term has become linked in the public consciousness with erotic material or models, many other magazines such as Life, Time and National Geographic have published fold-out spreads on other subjects.Christie Hefner
Christie Ann Hefner (born November 8, 1952) is the former Playboy Enterprises Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, a company created by her father, Hugh Hefner. She stepped down from her position at Playboy on January 30, 2009. She has often worked with the progressive political organization Center for American Progress. Their site describes her as having "long been involved in electing progressive candidates, advancing women, First Amendment issues and advancing treatment for people with HIV/AIDS." She is currently chairman of the board of Hatch Beauty and serves on the advisory board of Springboard Enterprises.Crystal Hefner
Crystal Hefner (née Harris) (born April 29, 1986) is an American model and television personality. She was the Playboy Playmate of the Month for December 2009, and is the widow and the third wife of Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner from December 31, 2012 until his death on September 27, 2017.Eugena Washington
Eugena Washington (born October 8, 1984 in Columbia, South Carolina, United States) is an American model, best known for being second runner-up on America's Next Top Model, Cycle 7 and for appearing in the music video of rapper B.o.B's single "Nothin' on You". In Playboy magazine's post-nude era, she was the first Playmate of the Year, and was the last to be announced by Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion.Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award
The Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award is an award created in honor of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. The Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards were established in 1979 to honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for Americans. Since the inception of the awards, more than 100 individuals including high school students, lawyers, librarians, journalists and educators have been honored.
Nominees have traditionally come from the areas of journalism, arts and entertainment, education, publishing, law and government, and winners are selected by a panel of distinguished judges.Kendra Wilkinson
Kendra Leigh Baskett (née Wilkinson; born June 12, 1985) is an American television personality, businesswoman, glamour model, and author. She is known for being one of Hugh Hefner's three girlfriends and for her role on the E! reality television series The Girls Next Door, on which her life in the Playboy Mansion was documented. Although not a Playboy Playmate, she has appeared in three nude pictorials with her Girls Next Door co-stars and fellow Hefner girlfriends Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt. Her first reality series, Kendra, debuted in June 2009.Matt Whelan
Matt Whelan is a New Zealand actor and comedian. Whelan is known for his roles as Brad Caulfield in the New Zealand television comedy-drama programme Go Girls. He has also played Playboy founder Hugh Hefner in the Amazon Original series American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story. Whelan plays DEA agent Van Ness in the Netflix original series Narcos.Playboy
Playboy is an American men's lifestyle and entertainment magazine. It was founded in Chicago in 1953, by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. Notable for its centerfolds of nude and semi-nude models (Playmates), Playboy played an important role in the sexual revolution and remains one of the world's best-known brands, having grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (PEI), with a presence in nearly every medium. In addition to the flagship magazine in the United States, special nation-specific versions of Playboy are published worldwide.
The magazine has a long history of publishing short stories by notable novelists such as Arthur C. Clarke, Ian Fleming, Vladimir Nabokov, Saul Bellow, Chuck Palahniuk, P. G. Wodehouse, Roald Dahl, Haruki Murakami, and Margaret Atwood. With a regular display of full-page color cartoons, it became a showcase for notable cartoonists, including Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Cole, Eldon Dedini, Jules Feiffer, Shel Silverstein, Erich Sokol, Roy Raymonde, Gahan Wilson, and Rowland B. Wilson. Playboy features monthly interviews of notable public figures, such as artists, architects, economists, composers, conductors, film directors, journalists, novelists, playwrights, religious figures, politicians, athletes, and race car drivers. The magazine generally reflects a liberal editorial stance, although it often interviews conservative celebrities.
After a year-long removal of most nude photos in Playboy magazine, the March–April 2017 issue brought back nudity.Playboy After Dark
Playboy After Dark is an American television show hosted by Hugh Hefner. It aired in syndication through Screen Gems from 1969 to 1970 and was taped at CBS Television City in Los Angeles.Playboy Enterprises
Playboy Enterprises, Inc. is an American privately held global media and lifestyle company headquartered in Beverly Hills, California. It was founded by the late Hugh Hefner to initially manage the Playboy magazine empire. The company is structured with two primary business segments: Media (which manages content for print, digital, social, mobile, TV and radio platforms) and Licensing (which licenses the Playboy name, Rabbit Head design and other trademarks, logos and images for use in connection with consumer goods, venues and events). Today, Playboy Enterprises, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the development and distribution of content, products and high-profile events that embody both “eroticism and fine art.” The Playboy rabbit logo is one of the most widely recognized and popular brands in the world.
Sales of Playboy magazine peaked in 1972 at over 7 million copies. By 2015 the circulation had fallen to 800,000. The company now derives over 40 percent of its revenues from its media division, and about half of the revenue comes from the licensing of consumer products.Playboy Enterprises, Inc. is based in Beverly Hills, California, having closed its former headquarters in the top office floors of 680 N. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois, in April 2012. In January 2013, the company said it employed 165.Playboy Mansion
The Playboy Mansion, also known as the Playboy Mansion West, is the former home of Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner, who lived there from 1974 until his death in 2017. Barbi Benton convinced Hefner to buy the home. Located in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California, near Beverly Hills, the mansion became famous during the 1970s through media reports of Hefner's lavish parties which were often attended by famous celebrities and socialites.Currently owned by Daren Metropoulos, the son of billionaire investor Dean Metropoulos, the mansion is also used for various corporate activities and serves as a valuable location for television production, magazine photography, charitable events, and civic functions.Playboy Playmate
A Playmate is a female model featured in the centerfold/gatefold of Playboy magazine as Playmate of the Month (PMOM). The PMOM's pictorial includes nude photographs and a centerfold poster, along with a pictorial biography and the "Playmate Data Sheet", which lists her birthdate, measurements, turn-ons, and turn-offs. At the end of the year, one of the twelve Playmates of the Month is named Playmate of the Year (PMOY). Currently, Playmates of the Month are paid US$25,000 and Playmates of the Year receive an additional US$100,000 plus a car and a motorcycle. In addition, Anniversary Playmates are usually chosen to celebrate a milestone year of the magazine.
Playboy encourages potential Playmates to send photos with "girl next door" appeal for consideration; others may submit photos of Playmate candidates, and may be eligible for a finder's fee if their model is selected. In addition, "casting calls" are held regularly in major US cities to offer opportunities for women to test for
Playboy. The Playboy photographers and Hugh Hefner then select which models become Playmates. The Playmate of the Year is chosen personally by Hugh Hefner, taking into account an annual readers' poll.According to Playboy, there is no such thing as a former Playmate because "Once a Playmate, always a Playmate".The Aristocrats
"The Aristocrats" (also called "The Debonaires" or "The Sophisticates" in some tellings) is a taboo-defying off-color joke that has been told by numerous stand-up comedians since the vaudeville era. The joke was the subject of a 2005 documentary film of the same name. It received publicity when it was used by Gilbert Gottfried during the Friars' Club roast of Hugh Hefner in September 2001.The Girls Next Door
The Girls Next Door, also known as The Girls of the Playboy Mansion, is a reality television series which originally aired on E! from August 7, 2005 until August 8, 2010. The series was created by executive producer Kevin Burns and Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine.
The show was followed by four spin-offs, Kendra, Kendra on Top, Bridget's Sexiest Beaches, and Holly's World.The History of Sex
The History of Sex is a 1999 five-part documentary series by Jim Milio, Kelly McPherson, and Melissa Jo Peltier; and narrated by Peter Coyote. It was first aired on The History Channel. It features interviews of Hugh Hefner, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Helen Gurley Brown, and more.