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Hugh Hefner 1926 – 2017 Playboy – Instagram

Father's Day Backgammon with Marston and Cooper. Repost @cooperbhefner #fathersday

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In my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined a sweeter life.

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Wikipedia says this about Hugh Hefner:

Hugh Marston Hefner (April 9, 1926 – September 27, 2017) was an American magazine publisher, editor, businessman, and playboy. He was best known as the editor-in-chief and publisher of Playboy magazine, which he founded in 1953. He was also the founder and chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, the publishing group that operates the magazine.[1] Hefner was also a political activist and philanthropist in several causes and public issues.

Early life and education

Hefner was born in ChicagoIllinois on April 9, 1926.[2] He was the first child of Grace Caroline (née Swanson; 1895–1997) and Glenn Lucius Hefner (1896–1976), who both worked as teachers. His parents were from Nebraska.[3][4] He had a younger brother, Keith (1929–2016).[5][6][7] Hefner's mother was of Swedish descent, and his father had German and English ancestry.[8][9] Through his father's line, Hefner stated that he was a direct descendant of Plymouth governor William Bradford.[10][11] He described his family as “conservative, Midwestern, [and] Methodist“.[12]

He attended Sayre Elementary School and Steinmetz High School, then during World War II, served as a writer for a military newspaper in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946. Hefner graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a bachelor of arts in psychology and a double minor in creative writing and art in 1949, earning 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.[13]


Hefner with his trademark Playboy Pipe in 1966

While he was working as a copywriter for Esquire, Hefner left in January 1952 after being 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.[14] (Hefner, who never met Monroe, bought the crypt next to hers at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in 1992 for $75,000.[15][16])

After the Charles Beaumont science fiction short story “The Crooked Man” was rejected by Esquiremagazine in 1955, Hefner agreed to publish it 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.”[17] In 1961, Hefner watched Dick Gregoryperform 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.[18]

On June 4, 1963, Hefner was arrested for promoting obscene literature after an issue of Playboy featuring nude shots of Jayne Mansfield was published.[19] The case went to trial and resulted in a hung jury.[20]

In the 1993 The Simpsons episode “Krusty Gets Kancelled“, Hefner guest-voiced himself.[21][22] 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.[23] Hefner guest-starred as himself in a 2006 episode of Seth Green‘s Robot Chickenon the late-night programming block Adult Swim.[22] He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for television and has made several movie appearances as himself. 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.” [24]

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.[25] 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.[26]

Personal life

Hefner with his then-partners Holly Madison(left) and Bridget Marquardt, 2007

In 1949, Hefner married Northwestern University student Mildred (“Millie”) Williams, who was also born in 1926. They had two children: daughter Christie Hefner (born 1952) and son David (born 1955).[27] 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 infidelity and in the fond hope that it would preserve their marriage. The two were divorced in 1959.[28][29]

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 admitted to being “‘involved' with maybe eleven out of twelve months' worth of Playmates” during some of these years.[30] Donna MichelleMarilyn ColeLillian MüllerShannon TweedBarbi BentonKaren ChristySondra 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.[31] 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.[32]

Hefner had a minor stroke in 1985 at the age of 59. After re-evaluating his lifestyle, he made several changes. The wild, all-night parties were toned down significantly and in 1988, daughter Christie began to run the Playboy empire. The following year, he married Playmate of the Year Kimberley Conrad; they were thirty-six years apart in age. The couple had two sons: Marston Glenn (born 1990) and Cooper Bradford (born 1991).[33]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.[34]

In January 2009, Hefner started dating Crystal Harris,[35] joining the Shannon Twins after his previous “number one girlfriend”, Holly Madison, had ended their 7-year relationship.[36]On December 24, 2010, he became engaged to Harris, to become his third wife.[37] Harris broke off their engagement on June 14, 2011, five days before their planned wedding.[38]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”.[39]

Hefner's brother Keith died at the age of 87 on April 8, 2016, one day before Hefner's 90th birthday.[40]

Playboy 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 RoderickIzabella St. JamesTina Marie JordanHolly MadisonBridget Marquardt, and Kendra Wilkinson. Madison, Wilkinson and Marquardt appeared on The Girls Next Door depicting their lives at the Playboy Mansion.[41] In October 2008, all three girls decided to leave the mansion. Hefner soon began dating his new “Number One” girlfriend, Crystal Harris,[42] along with identical twin models Kristina and Karissa Shannon.[43] The relationship with the twins ended in January 2010.[44] After an 11-year separation, Hefner filed for divorce from Conrad, citing irreconcilable differences.[45] Hefner has stated that he only remained nominally married to her for the sake of his children,[46] and his youngest child had just turned 18.[33] On December 24, 2010, Hefner presented an engagement ring to Crystal Harris, publicly announcing the proposal the following day.[15] Hefner and Harris had planned to marry June 18, 2011.[47][48] Harris called off the wedding just 5 days before they were due to be wed.[49] Twenty-six-year-old Harris and eighty-six-year-old Hefner reconciled and were married on December 31, 2012.[50][51][52]

In 2012, Hefner announced that his youngest son, Cooper, would likely succeed him as the public face of Playboy.[53]

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.[54] It was later sold to Daren Metropoulos, a principal at private equity firm Metropoulos & Co, for $100 million. Metropoulos plans 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.[55]

Politics and philanthropy

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.”[56]

He donated and raised money for the Democratic Party.[57] However, he had more recently referred to himself as an independent due to disillusionment with both the Democratic and Republican parties.[58] However, in 2012, he supported Barack Obama‘s reelection campaign.[59]

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 personally contributed $27,000 (or 1/9 of the total restoration costs) by purchasing the letter Y in a ceremonial auction.[60][61]

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.[62]

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,[63] a controversial 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.[64] 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.[60] Sylvilagus palustris hefneri, an endangered subspecies of Marsh rabbit, is named after him in honor of financial support that he provided.[65][66]

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.”[67]


Hefner died of natural causes at his home in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California on September 27, 2017, at the age of 91.[68][69][70]


  1. Jump up^ Corporate Officers. Playboy Enterprises, Inc.
  2. Jump up^ “Hugh Hefner Biography: Producer, Entrepreneur (1926–)” (FYI / A&E Networks). Archived from the original on May 17, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  3. Jump up^ “Mr Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream”. Steven Watts. Google Books. Retrieved October 10, 2009.
  4. Jump up^ Algis Valiunas, “The Playboy and His Western World” Archived May 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.. May 2010.
  5. Jump up^ “Hugh Hefner’s Roaring 70s”Vanity Fair. February 2001.
  6. Jump up^ “HUGH HEFNER: JUST A TYPICAL METHODIST KID”. Roger Ebert. 1967.
  7. Jump up^ “Keith Hefner Dead: Hugh Hefner’s Brother Dies at 87”. April 8, 2016.
  8. Jump up^ Mullen, William (August 8, 1984). “Hef”Spokane Chronicle. Retrieved July 23, 2010.
  9. Jump up^ Roberts, Gary Boyd. “#58 Royal Descents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources”. New England Ancestors. Retrieved July 23, 2010.
  10. Jump up^ “Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner tells how he created an identity in order to fulfill his dreams”Time. October 2, 2005.
  11. Jump up^ Quintanilla, Michael (February 5, 1999). “STYLEMAKER / Hugh Hefner. The king of swingers reenters the singles scene.; Pajama Party”.
  12. Jump up^ Hugh Hefner On His Role In Fighting Segregation. (July 23, 2010). Retrieved on May 3, 2012.
  13. Jump up^ Hugh M. Hefner Playboy Enterprises. Retrieved January 2, 2009.
  14. Jump up^ Hugh Hefner: The Ultimate Lifestyle Entrepreneur. Retrieved on May 3, 2012.
  15. Jump up to:a b ,Charles McGrath (February 3, 2011). “How Hef Got His Groove Back”The New York Times.
  16. Jump up^ Westwood Village Memorial Cemetery.
  17. Jump up^ “Hugh Hefner, Gay Rights Pioneer”,
  18. Jump up^ “Column: Dick Gregory understood the political power of comedy”Chicago Tribune. August 22, 2017. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  19. Jump up^ Pitzulo, Carrie (2011). Bachelors and Bunnies: The Sexual Politics of Playboy. University of Chicago Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-226-67006-5.
  20. Jump up^ Hugh Hefner Biography.
  21. Jump up^ “”The Simpsons” guests stars over the years”. February 17, 2012.
  22. Jump up to:a b “The Original Playboy: A Timeline of the Life and Accomplishments of Hugh M. Hefner”. April 8, 2016.
  23. Jump up^ Variety, June 7, 1999
  24. Jump up^ “Hugh Hefner on Twitter”.
  25. Jump up^ Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel. (December 7, 2010). Retrieved on May 3, 2012.
  26. Jump up^ “Hugh Hefner, Playboy Magazine Founder and Star of Girls Next Door, Dies at 91”MSN. September 27, 2017. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  27. Jump up^ Playboy Time Line.
  28. Jump up^ “12 Things You Never Knew About Hugh Hefner”. June 25, 2015. Cosmopolitan.
  29. Jump up^ “The Many Loves of Hugh Hefner”Fox News.
  30. Jump up^ Acocella, Joan “The Girls Next Door”The New Yorker, March 20, 2006
  31. Jump up^ “Faces of the week”BBC News. May 26, 2006.
  32. Jump up^ “HUGH HEFNER RETURNS TO HALLS AND HAUNTS OF A CHICAGO CHILDHOOD” October 18, 1992. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  33. Jump up to:a b Cooper Hefner.
  34. Jump up^ “Hugh Hefner: A History of Romance”The Hollywood Reporter. July 27, 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  35. Jump up^ Miller, Korin (January 5, 2009). “Meet Playboy founder Hugh Hefner's other girlfriend, Crystal Harris”Daily News. New York: Daily News, L.P. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  36. Jump up^ Miller, Korin (October 7, 2008). “‘Girls Next Door's' Holly Madison splits with Playboy Hugh Hefner”Daily News. New York: Daily News, L.P. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  37. Jump up^ Simao, Paul (December 26, 2010). “Hugh Hefner Acknowledges Engagement on Twitter”Reuters. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  38. Jump up^ TMZ Staff. “Crystal Harris”TMZTime Warner. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  39. Jump up^ “Cover”. Playboy. July 2011.
  40. Jump up^ “Keith Hefner Dead: Hugh Hefner’s Brother Dies at 87” April 8, 2016. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  41. Jump up^ A New Boy for Former ‘Girl Next Door'. February 10, 2009
  42. Jump up^ Korin Miller Meet Playboy founder Hugh Hefner's other girlfriend, Crystal Harris. NYdailynews. January 5, 2009
  43. Jump up^ Party's over for Playboy king Hugh HefnerThe Age October 18, 2008. Accessed October 30, 2008
  44. Jump up^ Strip Scribbles: What’s next for Hef after divorce, Shannon twins?. (February 15, 2010). Retrieved on May 3, 2012.
  45. Jump up^ “Hugh Hefner Finally Files for Divorce”People. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  46. Jump up^ “Hugh Hefner files for divorce from wife”Reuters. September 9, 2009. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  47. Jump up^ “Reuters: Hugh Hefner Acknowledges Engagement on Twitter”. December 26, 2010. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  48. Jump up^ Hugh Hefner Gets Engaged During Philadelphia Blizzard on MusicMonday. December 27, 2010.
  49. Jump up^ “Hugh Hefner's Fiancée Calls Off Wedding—Just Five Days Out!”. June 14, 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  50. Jump up^ “Playboy founder Hugh Hefner marries his “runaway bride””. Reuters. January 1, 2013.
  51. Jump up^ “Hugh Hefner, Crystal Harris Wed at Playboy Mansion”The Hollywood Reporter. December 31, 2012.
  52. Jump up^ D'Zurilla, Christie (January 2, 2013). “Hugh Hefner, Crystal Harris finally marry on New Year's Eve”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  53. Jump up^ “Playboy's Hugh Hefner and son Talk Succession”The Wall Street Journal. November 29, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  54. Jump up^ “Washington Post: Playboy Mansion for sale but Hugh Hefner wants to stay put”. January 12, 2016. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
  55. Jump up^ “Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion sells for $100 million”Reuters. Retrieved August 17,2016.
  56. Jump up^ Playboy Enterprises, Inc., “Playboy Foundation – Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards“. Accessed July 12, 2011.
  57. Jump up^ Hugh Hefner's Federal Campaign Contribution Report Archived December 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine..
  58. Jump up^ Hefner, Hugh [@hughhefner] (July 30, 2011). “My parents were Republican, I'm a registered Democrat, but these days I'm an Independent, not happy with either Party.”(Tweet) – via Twitter.
  59. Jump up^ Hefner, Hugh [@hughhefner] (November 7, 2012). “While I was playing dominoes with the girls, we got the news that Obama had been re-elected. We're celebrating at the Mansion.” (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  60. Jump up to:a b “Hugh Hefner saves iconic Hollywood sign”. London: Times Online. April 27, 2010. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  61. Jump up^ “The History of the Sign: 1978: A Sign is Reborn”. Hollywood Sign. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  62. Jump up^ Hefner Gives $2M to USC Film School Associated Press, November 16, 2007.
  63. Jump up^ “Hugh Hefner & Jenny McCarthy Fund Autism Research”Celebrity Halo. October 2008. Retrieved December 29, 2008.
  64. Jump up^ 2010 founder’s hero of the heart Award (PDF). November 18, 2010. Retrieved May 9,2015.
  65. Jump up^ “My True Love Gave To Me … A Bat Species!”CBS News. February 11, 2009. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  66. Jump up^ “Lower Keys Rabbit” (PDF). United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  67. Jump up^ “Playboy founder Hugh Hefner writes passionate plea in support of gay marriage” August 23, 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  68. Jump up^ Mansnerus, Laura (September 27, 2017). “Hugh Hefner, Who Built Playboy Empire and Embodied It, Dies at 91”The New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  69. Jump up^ Schudel, Matt (September 27, 2017). “Hugh Hefner, visionary editor who created Playboy magazine, dies at 91”Washington Post. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  70. Jump up^ Kogan, Rick. “Hugh Hefner, Playboy founder who built his empire in Chicago, dies at age 91”

Further reading

External links

?Hugh Hefner Playboy 1926 – 2017

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Marilyn Monroe was Playboy's 1st Centerfold

?Marilyn Monroe 1st Playboy Centerfold?

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TBT Throwback Thursday to 1971 with Hugh Hefner in front of the Playboy Mansion with his Mercedes Benz Pullmann 600 and his Maserati Ghibli

Hugh Hefner 1926 – 2017

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