Home / Celebrity Gossip / An end of an Era – Hugh Hefner Iconic Founder Of Playboy Died at 91
end Era Hugh Hefner Iconic Founder Playboy Died 91

An end of an Era – Hugh Hefner Iconic Founder Of Playboy Died at 91

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, who helped usher in the 1960s sexual revolution with his groundbreaking men’s magazine and built a business empire around his libertine lifestyle, died on Wednesday  at his Beverly Hills-area home, the Playboy Mansion, at age 91, Playboy Enterprises said.

Hefner, once called the “prophet of pop hedonism” by Time magazine, peacefully passed away at his home, due to natural causes, Playboy Enterprises said in a statement.

Hefner was sometimes characterized as an oversexed Peter Pan as he kept a harem of young blondes that numbered as many as seven at his legendary Playboy Mansion. This was chronicled in “The Girls Next Door,” a TV reality show that aired from 2005 through 2010. He said that thanks to the impotency-fighting drug Viagra he continued exercising his libido into his 80s.

Playboy a upscale men’s magazine, combining images of nude women with in-depth articles, interviews and fiction by writers and subjects including Norman Mailer, Alex Haley, Bertrand Russell and Jimmy Carter. was reportedly founded by Hefner with $600 and $1000 borrowed from his mother more than 60 years ago. The first centerfold, a feature of the monthly magazine, was of Marilyn Monroe late in 1953.

“My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom,” Cooper Hefner, Playboy Enterprises’ chief creative officer, said in the statement.

“He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history,” the son added.

Hefner was sometimes characterized as an oversexed Peter Pan as he kept a harem of young blondes that numbered as many as seven at his legendary Playboy Mansion. This was chronicled in “The Girls Next Door,” a TV reality show that aired from 2005 through 2010. He said that thanks to the impotency-fighting drug Viagra he continued exercising his libido into his 80s.

“I’m never going to grow up,” Hefner said in a CNN interview when he was 82. “Staying young is what it is all about for me. Holding on to the boy and long ago I decided that age really didn’t matter and as long as the ladies … feel the same way, that’s fine with me.”
Hefner settled down somewhat in 2012 at age 86 when he took Crystal Harris, who was 60 years younger, as his third wife.

He said his swinging lifestyle might have been a reaction to growing up in a repressed family where affection was rarely exhibited. His so-called stunted childhood led to a multi-million-dollar enterprise that centered on naked women but also espoused Hefner’s “Playboy philosophy” based on romance, style and the casting off of mainstream mores.

“I’ve never thought of Playboy quite frankly as a sex magazine,” Hefner told CNN in 2002. “I always thought of it as a lifestyle magazine in which sex was one important ingredient.”

Hefner proved to be a genius at branding. The magazine’s rabbit silhouette became one of the best known logos in the world and the “bunny” waitresses in his Playboy nightclubs were instantly recognizable in their low-cut bathing suit-style uniforms with bow ties, puffy cotton tails and pert rabbit ears.

Playboy bunnies celebrating the inaugural flight of Mr. Hefner’s new DC-9 jetliner, the Big Bunny, in 1970. Credit George Brich/Associated Press

He was compared to Jay Gatsby, Citizen Kane and Walt Disney, but Mr. Hefner was his own production. He repeatedly likened his life to a romantic movie; it starred an ageless sophisticate in silk pajamas and smoking jacket hosting a never-ending party for famous and fascinating people.

“What I created came out of my own adolescent dreams of fantasies,” he told CNN. “I was trying to redefine what it meant to be a young, urban unattached male.”

After writing copy for Esquire magazine, Hefner married and worked in the circulation department of Children’s Activities magazine when he began plotting what would become Playboy magazine.

The first issue came out in December 1953 – featuring nude photos of actress Marilyn Monroe – and was a hit. As the magazine took off, it was attacked from the right because of the nudity and from the left by feminists who said it reduced women to sex objects.

Hefner once declared sex to be “the primary motivating factor in the course of human history” and, using that as a business model Playboy flourished during the sexual revolution and into the 1970s with monthly circulation hitting 7 million.

He ran into trouble in the 1980s with competition from Penthouse and Hustler – magazines that had much more explicit photos – and Playboy’s social impact faded considerably by the 21st century. The Playboy Clubs closed in 1991 but would be partially revived.

After suffering a minor stroke in 1985, Hefner made daughter Christie chief executive officer of Playboy Enterprises and she gave the business a makeover before stepping down in 2009. Hefner’s son, Cooper, who was nearly 40 years younger than Christie, assumed a major role in the company in 2014.

Playboy magazine, starting with its March 2016 issue, did away with full frontal nudity in a rebranding that would have been unimaginable in the publication’s heyday.

While the magazine managed to inspire and ride the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s and ’70s, in recent years it has struggled in the face of tough competition from the availability of free pornography online.

For a brief period from mid-2016 through early 2017, the magazine experimented with avoiding nudity, before returning to its previous formula.

In August 2016, one of Hefner’s neighbors, a private equity investor, announced he had bought the Playboy mansion for $100 million with the understanding Hefner could stay there until he died.

Hefner is survived by his wife, Crystal, who was 25 when he married her at age 85; sons, Cooper, David and Marston; and his daughter, Christie.

 

Check Also

Meet Julia Tulupova Girl Suitcase

Meet Julia Tulupova: A Girl With A Suitcase

Leave a Reply