Untold Stories Of ‘Hugh Hefner’, Hugh Hefner dies aged 91

September 28, 2017 written by

You may think you know all about Hugh Hefner from magazines, mansions, parties and women. But you don’t know the half of it. In the beginning, he set out to make a magazine and what he started was a revolution.  On Wednesday night, as news of Hefner’s death began to circulate, mourners began to gather at the gates of his Playboy Mansion to pay their last respects.

In the final years of his life, Hefner – who had begun to suffer back problems – began to fade from view, not wanting to be seen using a walker to move around, or be seen fiddling with his hearing aid. Hefner will be buried in an LA cemetery next to Marilyn Monroe – Playboy’s first-ever cover star – in a plot that Hefner bought in 1992 for $75,000.
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Who is Hefner? Hefner the man and Playboy the brand were inseparable. Both advertised themselves as emblems of the sexual revolution, an escape from American priggishness and wider social intolerance. Both were derided over the years — as vulgar, as

Hefner the man and Playboy the brand were inseparable. Both advertised themselves as emblems of the sexual revolution, an escape from American priggishness and wider social intolerance. Both were derided over the years — as vulgar, as both advertised themselves as emblems of the sexual revolution, an escape from American priggishness and wider social intolerance. Both were derided over the years — as vulgar, as adolescent, as exploitative, and finally as anachronistic. But Mr. Hefner was a stunning success from his emergence in the early 1950s. His timing was perfect. 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. The magazine reflected Hefner himself — or at least the invention that became known the world over as Hefner, or simply Hef. He was the personification of the Playboy ideal, the pajama-loving lord of the grandest bachelor pad on Earth. On Wednesday night the official Playboy Twitter account announced: ‘American Icon and Playboy Founder, Hugh M. Hefner passed away today. He was 91. #RIPHef’.

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The magazine reflected Hefner himself — or at least the invention that became known the world over as Hefner, or simply Hef. He was the personification of the Playboy ideal, the pajama-loving lord of the grandest bachelor pad on Earth. On Wednesday night the official Playboy Twitter account announced: ‘American Icon and Playboy Founder, Hugh M. Hefner passed away today. He was 91. #RIPHef’.

The magazine reflected Hefner himself — or at least the invention that became known the world over as Hefner, or simply Hef. He was the personification of the Playboy ideal, the pajama-loving lord of the grandest bachelor pad on Earth. On Wednesday night the official Playboy Twitter account announced: ‘American Icon and Playboy Founder, Hugh M. Hefner passed away today. He was 91. #RIPHef’.

Hefner’s death was confirmed in a statement from Playboy Enterprises that said he ‘passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones.’

Hefner was born on April 9, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois, and went on to become a millionaire after founding the influential men’s magazine in 1953.

He shared the fantasy not only through the magazine but through a string of Playboy Clubs, where anyone able to pay a modest membership fee could be served food and drinks by “Bunnies” — well-endowed women costumed in rabbit ears, puffy tails and satin corsets so tight that sneezing burst the seams. The black-and-white Bunny logo that adorned the magazine and all manner of merchandise, from cufflinks to cocktail napkins, became a coveted mark of suavity.

Despite criticism, Playboy’s sales zoomed to 7 million copies a month in the 1970s — but that was a high from which the magazine inevitably would fall. The 1980s brought AIDS, the end of the Playboy clubs, the rise of the religious right, the Meese Commission on Pornography, all of which had a deleterious impact on circulation. Hefner’s image was tainted by the suicide of a trusted associate who overdosed on drugs and his indirect connection to the Dorothy Stratten tragedy, in which the 1980 Playmate of the Year was murdered by her estranged husband.

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Then, in 1985, Hefner had a stroke. Though he made a full recovery, he decided, as he put it, to “put down some luggage.” In 1988, he turned over day-to-day operations of his enterprises to his daughter, Christie, while retaining the editorship of the magazine.

The next year, the Playboy-in-Chief did the unthinkable: He got married and settled into monogamy for the better part of a decade. When the marriage collapsed in the late 1990s, the king of sybarites was reborn. He entered the new millennium with a harem of blonde, buxom lovelies all young enough to be his granddaughters.

Born in Chicago, Hugh Marston Hefner was an introverted youth who loved to chase butterflies. Fond of drawing and writing, he published his own neighbourhood newspaper when he was 8 or 9. He was also a daydreamer and dawdler, which brought complaints from his teachers. His worried mother took him to a psychologist, whose tests showed that young Hefner had an IQ of 152 — far above average — but was emotionally immature. The psychologist told Grace Hefner that she could help her son by acting more warmly and sympathetically toward him.

After graduating in the top quarter of his class, he was drafted into the Army and served stateside from 1944 to 1946. He served in the U.S. Army for two years toward the end of World War II, and was discharged in 1946. He used to write for a military newspaper. He attended the University of Illinois on the G.I. Bill and majored in psychology while contributing articles and cartoons to the campus paper. He briefly attended graduate school at Northwestern University.

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In 1951, he applied to Esquire magazine and was hired as a promotional copywriter at $40 a week. When Esquire moved most of its operations to New York, he quit and took a sales job at Publisher’s Development Corp., a Skokie, Ill., firm that published a dozen trade and “nudie” magazines. Hefner soon advanced to a higher paying position as circulation promotion director of Children’s Activities magazine. By then he had become the father of Christie Ann; his future successor as head of the Playboy empire, who was born in 1952. A second child, David, was born in 1955.

“We enjoy mixing up cocktails and an hors d’oeuvre or two, putting a little mood music on the phonograph, and inviting in a female acquaintance for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex,” Hefner wrote in the inaugural issue. At its 1975 peak, circulation climbed to 5.6 million

Hefner booked black artists in defiance of segregation laws—and also featured them on Playboy’s Penthouse, which got the show banned in the South and hastened its cancellation. Hefner funded court cases in the 1950s and 60s to challenge states where birth control was outlawed. Hefner spoke often of the joy and wonder of the life he led, and he meticulously archived it all; he also holds the Guinness World Record for largest collection of personal scrapbooks with 2,643.

Hugh Hefner is actively involved with several philanthropic causes. He helped organize fund-raising efforts that led to the restoration of the Hollywood Sign in 1978 and personally contributed $27,000. He is also an animal lover and has organized fundraiser events for Much Love Animal Rescue as well as Generation Rescue. In addition, he donated $900,000 to a conservation group for a land purchase needed to stop the development of the famed vista of the Hollywood Sign in 2010.

As Kiss frontman Gene Simmons bluntly put it in the 2009 documentary Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist, and Rebel: “Show me any guy of any age anywhere in the world. . . that wouldn’t give his left nut to be Hugh Hefner at 20, at 50, at 80.”

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