By Oluwatoyin Adeleye
The original Playboy and boss of ‘Girls of the Playboy Mansion’, Hugh Hefner is dead.
Hefner died on Wednesday, September 27 at his home, the Playboy Mansion near Beverly Hills, California at the age of 91.
His death was announced by Playboy Enterprises.
He created Playboy magazine and spun it into a media and entertainment-industry giant, squiring attractive young women (and sometimes marrying them) well into his 80s.
–The first issue of Playboy was published in 1953, when Mr. Hefner was 27 years old, a new father married to 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.
Mr. Hefner was reviled, first by guardians of the 1950s social order, including J. Edgar Hoover, and later by feminists. But Playboy’s circulation reached one million by 1960 and peaked at about seven million in the 1970s.
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.
–He founded The Playboy magazine after he was denied a $5 raise at Esquire magazine, where he worked as a copywriter in 1951.
–Initially, it was titled “Stag Party.” He later said that his staff consisted of a card table and a typewriter.
–In December 1953, Hefner came out with the first issue of the magazine, featuring Marilyn Monroe’s nude calendar shoot. More than 54,000 copies of the issue were sold, at 50 cents each.
–Hefner selected a rabbit as the Playboy mascot for its “humorous sexual connotations.” Later, Playboy’s art director Art Paul confessed to have drawn the logo in less than half an hour. By the 1970s, Playboy’s rabbit head logo was so popular that readers could simply draw a rabbit head on an envelope and were assured that their message would reach the desired destination.
–The November 1972 issue of Playboy magazine was its best-selling, with 7,161,561 copies sold to date. It featured Pam Rawlings on the cover, and the centerfold featured Lena Söderberg.
–Hefner’s name is mentioned for a couple of Guinness Book of World Records. The first mention is for having the longest career as an editor in chief of the same magazine, and the second mention is for possessing the largest collection of personal scrapbooks.
–Drew Barrymore, Madonna, Sharon Stone, Naomi Campbell, Kelly Brook, Brooke Burke, Cindy Crawford and Elle Macpherson are only a few of the celebrities to have adorned the cover of Playboy magazine.
–Marilyn Monroe holds a special place in Hefner’s heart because she was the first model to appear in his magazine. Hefner intended to continue his relationship with the gorgeous actress and model even after his death: he had bought the burial vault next to Monroe at Westwood Village Memorial Park, in Westwood, California, U.S.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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