Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, dies aged 91 - Viralyster

Celebrities

Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, dies aged 91

By  | 

Hugh Hefner, the founder and CEO of Playboy magazine, has passed away at the age of 91. His death was announced by Playboy Enterprises.

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.

Long after other publishers made the nude “Playmate” centerfold look more sugary than daring, Playboy remained the most successful men’s magazine in the world. Mr. Hefner’s company branched into movie, cable and digital production, sold its own line of clothing and jewelry, and opened clubs, resorts and casinos.

The brand faded over the years, its flagship magazine’s circulation declining to less than a million.

Mr. Hefner remained editor in chief even after agreeing to the magazine’s startling (and, as it turned out, short-lived) decision in 2015 to stop publishing nude photographs. In 2016, he handed over creative control of Playboy to his son Cooper Hefner. Playboy Enterprises’ chief executive, Scott Flanders, acknowledged that the internet had overrun the magazine’s province.

Hefner

Hefner loved to enjoy luxurious mansions, private jets and female company throughout his life, coining the contemporary term “Playboy”

The first issue of Playboy was published in 1953, when Mr. Hefner was 27, a new father married to, by his account, the first woman he had slept with. He had only recently moved out of his parents’ house and left his job at Children’s Activities magazine. But in an editorial in Playboy’s inaugural issue, the young publisher purveyed another life:

“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.”

His first cover girl was Marilyn Monroe. She would be followed by a legion of famous women who, compared to modern pornography and some magazine competitors, would tastefully pose naked over decades for Hefner’s iconic “Playmate” centrefold spreads.

Battling conservative forces determined to wipe him out, he used his mantle as Playboy’s publisher to become an advocate for free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom. He was one of the biggest champions of the sexual revolution through the 1960s and 1970s.

For teenage boys in the 1970s and 1980s, Hefner introduced many to the female anatomy through the pages of Playboy. While their fathers would say they bought the magazine for its articles, this was known to be a common lie.

At 91, Hefner cannot be said to have lived a dull live. Up until his death yesterday from natural causes, he was still living in his mansion with his latest wife, Crystal. But that was typical Hefner.

Mr. Hefner was to be buried in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, in a mausoleum drawer he had bought next to Marilyn Monroe’s.