Legendary Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner Has Died at the Age of 91
Legendary Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has died at the age of 91.
Playboy confirmed the news in a tweet dedicated to Hefner:
American Icon and Playboy Founder, Hugh M. Hefner passed away today. He was 91. #RIPHefpic.twitter.com/tCLa2iNXa4
\u201cAmerican Icon and Playboy Founder, Hugh M. Hefner passed away today. He was 91. #RIPHef\u201d— Playboy (@Playboy) 1506568437
PEOPLE magazine spoke to a rep for Playboy. Here's what they said:
Hugh M. Hefner, the American icon who in 1953 introduced the world toPlayboymagazine and built the company into one of the most recognizable American global brands in history, peacefully passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, surrounded bylovedones.
PEOPLE also got a statement from Hefner's son Cooper Hefner, who is the Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises:
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."
Hefner came to fame in 1953 when he published the first issue of Playboy Magazine, using $1600 he was able to save. That issue, of course, featured the iconic Marilyn Monroe. For decades, Playboy was the gold star example of what a men's magazine should be. Each issue featured a unique combination of investigative journalism, celebrity interviews, in-depth essays, notable fiction, and...nudity.
At a certain point, Hefner became just as successful as the brand. He was known for hosting pajamaparties at the Playboy mansion. In the mid-2000s, he pivoted to reality TV, starring in the popular E! show The Girls Next Door.
He was also known for being a legendaryphilanderer. At any given time, he lived with multiple "girlfriends" in the Playboy Mansion at the same time. In 2006,Izabella St. Jameswrote a memoir calledBunny Tales: Behind Closed Doors at the Playboy Mansion, which detailed a hellish environment for her and the other "girlfriends." In 2015,Holly Madison released her memoirDown the Rabbit Hole, which contained even more disturbingdetails about life in the mansion.
Over the last couple of yearsthe Playboy brand slowly lost its pop culture currency. The magazine has had the typical print media struggles. And in June, the family sold the mansion for $200 million.