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Hugh Hefner (born April 9, 1926 - September 27, 2017) made a cameo appearance as himself in the Season 9 episode of Roseanne titled "What a Day for a Daydream". Hugh Hefner transformed the adult entertainment industry with his ground breaking publication Playboy magazine. From the first issue featuring actress/sex symbol Marilyn Monroe in 1953, Playboy has expanded into a multimillion-dollar enterprise consisting of publication, TV and web ventures, and mirroring the slightly maverick, rebellious, and oftentimes, hedonistic, sensibilities of its founder.

Early Life and launching of Playboy Edit

Born Hugh Marston Hefner in Chicago, Illinois, "Hef" was the elder of two sons born to Grace and Glenn Hefner, strict Methodists with deep Midwestern roots. Hefner went to Sayre Elementary School and then to Steinmetz High School on the west side of Chicago where, reportedly, his IQ was 152. His teachers, however, described him as "unenthusiastic." While in high school, Hefner founded a school newspaper—an early sign of his journalistic talents.

He served two years in the U.S. Army toward the end of World War II, and was discharged in 1946. He studied at the Chicago Art Institute for two years before enrolling at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he majored in psychology. In 1949, while in college, he met his first wife, Mildred Williams. Hefner earned his bachelor's degree in 1950.

In the early 1950s, Hefner was leading a life typical of many of his peers. He was fresh out of college, young and ambitious, and in an entry-level job with a major corporation at the Chicago office of Esquire magazine. Esquire was a racy publication for men that had transformed itself into a refined periodical, featuring articles on everything from men's fashion to literary works by such writers as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. It also featured illustrations from pinup artists such as George Petty and Alberto Vargas. Hefner worked for Esquire as a promotional copywriter until 1953, when he left the magazine because he was denied a $5 raise.

Out on his own Hefner was determined to start his own publication, one that was similar to Esquire but better. He raised $8,000 from 45 investors—including $1,000 from his mother—to launch Playboy magazine. Hefner had planned to name the magazine "Stag Party" but was forced to change the name to avoid a trademark infringement with the existing Stag magazine. A friend suggested the name "Playboy," after a defunct automobile company in Chicago. Hefner liked the name, as he thought it reflected high living and sophistication.

Hefner produced the first edition of Playboy out of his Hyde Park, Chicago, kitchen. It hit newsstands in December 1953, but did not carry a date because Hefner was unsure as to whether or not a second issue would be produced. To help ensure its success, Hefner had purchased a color photograph of actress Marilyn Monroe in the nude—which had been taken before her movie star career—and placed it in the centerfold of the magazine. The first issue quickly sold 50,000 copies, and became an instant sensation.

After it was rejected by Esquire magazine in 1955, Hefner agreed to publish in Playboy the Charles Beaumont science fiction short story, "The Crooked Man", about straight men being persecuted in a world where homosexuality was the norm. After receiving angry letters to the magazine, 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." [1]

Like its inspiration, Esquire, Playboy magazine has been a leader in redefining the culture of the flamboyant, sophisticated urban single male, regularly featuring celeb centerfolds of such women over the years as Suzanne Somers, Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Farrah Fawcett, Bo Derek, Christie Brinkley, Madonna, LaToya Jackson and Kim Kardashian. Amonst its famous Playmates, which have been featured in centerfolds each month since February 1954, when Margie Harrison (1931-2009) made the first of three appearances as a Playmate, have been Jayne Mansfield (February 1955), the late Anna Nicole Smith (May 1992), the late Dorothy Stratton, who was 1980's Playmate of the Year, and Baywatch TV series alumni Pamela Anderson (February 1990) and Donna D'Errico (September 1995). Like Esquire, its articles have covered everything from men's fashion, music, cars, and electronics to literary works by such writers as Norman Mailer, Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury. It has also featured the artwork of lithgraph artist LeRoy Neiman[2]

Playboy reaching its largest circulation in 1972 when it was distributed to 7.2 million readers. Today, it has over 1.5 million readers and over 5 million people visit each month.

Playboy EnterprisesEdit

Since the mid-1980s, Hefner's daughter, Christie Hefner, had been working with the editorial staff of Playboy magazine. In 1988, Hefner turned over control of Playboy Enterprises to Christie, naming her chair and chief executive officer. She also served as the magazine's editor-in-chief and played a key role in directing Playboy Enterprises' ventures in cable television, video production, and online programming. Christie Hefner stepped down from her position at Playboy Enterprises in January 2009. Hugh has stated that his son Cooper would, in all probabilty, succeed him and his daughter Christie as the "next face of Playboy".

In making the magazine a multi-million dollar enterprise, Hefner remade himself as a "bon viveur" 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.[3] Donna Michelle, Marilyn Coe, Lillian Müller, Shannon Tweed, Barbi Benton (whom he dated from 1968-79), Karen Christy, Sondra Theodore, and Carrie Leigh — who filed a $35 million palimony suit against him — were a few of his many loves.

The Girls Next Door TV seriesEdit

2005 brought the premiere of The Girls Next Door, a reality series focusing on the lives of Hefner and his girlfriends at the Playboy Mansion, on the E! cable television network. Co-created by Hefner, the show's early seasons featured three of Hefner's former girlfriends, Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson, with later seasons featuring twins Kristina and Karissa Shannon, and Crystal Harris, who would later become engaged to Hefner, marrying in 2012. True to form, the series served as a promotional vehicle for many of Hefner's projects and enterprises. With the departure of Marquardt, who launched her own TV series, Wilkinson, who also launched her own series on E! with NFL wideout Hank Baskett, who she would wed soon thereafter, and Madison, who had been in a relationship with Hugh before breaking off the relationship, as well as declining ratings, the show was pulled off of the air in 2009.

Playboy TV channelEdit

Playboy TV, the premium cable and satellite television network that is owned by the Manwin Group, focuses mainly on softcore and some hardcore adult erotica, including motion pictures, first-run television series and specials. The channel, which launched as The Playboy Channel in 1982, is available internationally in countries such as Sweden, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Latin America, New Zealand, Portugal, Greece, Spain and Norway.

Personal life and familyEdit

Hefner married Northwestern University student Mildred Williams (born 1926) in 1949. They had two children, Christie Hefner (born 1952) and David (born 1955).[4] Before the wedding, Mildred confessed that she had 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 sleep with other women, out of guilt for her infidelity and in the hopes that it would preserve their marriage. It didn't; they were divorced in 1959. Hefner had a minor stroke in 1985 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 began to run the Playboy empire. The following year, he married Playmate of the Year Kimberley Conrad. The couple had two sons, Marston Glenn (born 1990) and Cooper Bradford (born 1991).[5] 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, Conrad moved into a house next door to the mansion. After 11 years seperated, Hugh filed for divorce from Conrad, citing "irreconcilable differences". He has publicly stated that he only remained married to her for the sake of his children,a nd his youngest child had just turned 18. The divorce was finalized in March 2010.


  1. [1] Hugh Hefner biography,]
  2. The Top 10 Writers Published Playboy,, accessed October 28, 2013.
  3. Acocella, Joan "The Girls Next Door", The New Yorker, March 20, 2006
  4. Playboy Time Line.
  5. Cooper Hefner.

External linksEdit

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