Hugh Hefner, one of the biggest playboys of all time, passed away at the Playboy Mansion of natural causes at the age of 91 on September 27, 2017.
The intrepid visionary essentially created a sub-culture with Playboy magazine, which he founded more than 60 years ago with $600 of his own money and $1,000 borrowed from his mother. Loved ones say he lived an ‘impactful life’, which we think is an understatement by any measure.
Hefner is survived by his wife Crystal and four children — Christie, who served as CEO of Playboy Enterprise for more than 20 years; David; Marston; and Cooper.
In a statement by Playboy Enterprises, Cooper Hefner, currently the company’s Chief Creative Officer, said:
“My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom.
He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history.”
It’s almost hard to believe a legendary playboy like Hefner — born in April 1926 in Chicago — was the son of strict religious parents. He was a smart child with an IQ supposedly around 152; however, he was described as ‘unenthusiastic’ by his teachers.
He began a student newspaper in high school and participated in various humanitarian causes. After graduating in 1944, he joined the Army as an infantry clerk but still continued writing and drawing cartoons in military newspapers. He came up with the idea of Playboy after his discharge in 1946.
He then completed a course at the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to the University of Illinois, where he edited a campus magazine called Shaft. There he created the ‘Coed of the Month’ section, from which he drew inspiration for Playboy.
Hefner was dedicated to issues of personal freedom, even writing a lengthy paper about sex laws in America. He managed to land a job at Esquire’s office in New York after college, a job he would later quit after the company refused his request for a $5 raise.
He then scraped together enough money from family and friends to start Playboy. The rest, as they say, is history.
Rest in peace, Hugh.