Hugh Hefner

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Hugh Marston Hefner (born April 9, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois - † Sept 27, 2017), also referred to colloquially as "Hef", is the founder, editor-in-chief, and Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises. He is the majority owner of Playboy Enterprise Inc.

Early life

Hefner went to Sayre Elementary School and Steinmetz High School in Chicago, then served in the U.S. Army during the closing months of World War II.

After his service, he majored in psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and resumed his relationship with Mildred Williams. Despite spending less than three years in college before graduating, Hefner found time to edit the magazine Shaft and sold cartoons to magazines. His first salaried job was with a firm that produced and printed cardboard cartons. In 1949 Hefner also completed a semester of graduate courses in sociology and women and gender studies at Northwestern University, where he wrote a term paper examining U.S. sex laws in light of the newly published Kinsey Institute research on male human sexuality. Hefner graduated from the University of Illinois in 1949 with a major in psychology and a double minor in creative writing and art. He explains that some of the ideas for the Playboy magazine came to him while he was a student there.

Hefner married fellow Northwestern student Mildred Williams on June 25, 1949, and had two children, Christie and David Paul (b. 30 August 1955). Christie is Chairperson of Playboy Enterprises. Mildred and Hugh divorced after ten years of marriage in 1959.

After serving in the subscription department and as a copywriter for Esquire, he left in January 1952 after being denied a $5 raise. He worked at Children's Activities, then took his biggest gamble in 1953 by lending his furniture for $600 and raising $8,000 from 45 investors -- including $1,000 from his mother ("Not because she believed in the venture," he told E! in 2006, "but because she believed in her son") -- to launch Playboy.

Private life

Before their wedding, Mildred told Hefner that she had had an affair; he has called the admission "the most devastating moment of [his] life." A 2006 E! THS profile of Hefner revealed she allowed him to cheat on her, out of guilt for her infidelity and the hopes that it would preserve their failing marriage.

After his first marriage, Hefner became the world's most famous and envied womanizer. He has said that during some years, he was "'involved' with maybe eleven out of twelve months worth of Playmates." Hefner has had sustained relationships with Donna Michelle, Marilyn Cole, Lillian Muller, Patti McGuire, Shannon Tweed, and Brande Roderick, all of whom were chosen "Playmate of the Year." Others include Barbi Benton, Karen Christy, ex-Sunday school teacher Sondra Theodore, and actress Carrie Leigh, who filed a $35 million alimony suit against him. Benton, who dated him for 8 years, remains a fixture in Hefner's life and a regular visitor to the Playboy Mansion, which she found for him. In 1971, Hefner has acknowledged, he experimented in bisexuality.

On July 1, 1989, he ended a 30-year run as a bachelor and married Kimberley Conrad, that year's Playboy Playmate of the Year. They separated in 1999, though have yet to divorce.

Hefner has 4 children: Christie Hefner (born November 8, 1952) and David Hefner (born August 30, 1955) with Mildred Williams, and Marston Hefner (born 9 April 1990) and Cooper Hefner (born 4 September 1991) with Kimberley Conrad.

After his separation from Conrad, Hefner began living with an ever-changing coterie of women, ranging in age from 18 to 28. He told Vanity Fair: "And here's the surprise bit—it's what they want!" Soon, Hefner assembled another coterie of girlfriends, notably Brande Roderick. In 2000 she left to take a role in popular series Baywatch. Hefner soon selected 27-year-old Yazmin King as favorite. Later, Tina Marie Jordan became Hefner's "primary" girlfriend, and he quickly selected more young blondes for a posse of seven, one of whom was Holly Madison who joined in 2001. Shortly after Playboy's 50th anniversary, five of the girlfriends, including Izabella St. James, left, leaving Holly and Bridget Marquardt to tend to Hefner.

Hefner celebrating his 80th birthday with Kendra and Bridget in Munich, April 2006.In 2004 Kendra Wilkinson (also blonde, aged 18) was asked to move into the Mansion to become girlfriend number 3. The 2005-06 E! reality television series The Girls Next Door follows these three girlfriends, Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson in their life with Hef around the Mansion and on travel.

An urban legend persists about Hefner and the Playmate of the Month related to markings on the front covers of the magazine. From 1955 to 1979 (except for a six month gap in 1976), the "P" in Playboy had a number of stars printed in or around the letter. The legend claims that this was either a rating that Hefner gave to the Playmate according to how attractive she was, the number of times that Hefner had slept with her, or how good she was in bed. Another rumor was that if the stars were inside the "P", Hefner had slept with the Playmate, while if they were outside, he didn't sleep with her. In reality, the stars, which ranged in number between zero and twelve, were solely used to indicate the domestic or international advertising region for that particular printing.

Bettie Page

Bettie Page was "Miss January 1955", one of the earliest Playmates of the Month for Playboy magazine. "I think that she was a remarkable lady, an iconic figure in pop culture who influenced sexuality, taste in fashion, someone who had a tremendous impact on our society," said Playboy founder Hugh Hefner to the Associated Press in 2008.


Hefner has always espoused a shared liberal/libertarian stance in his editorials and in his life. On June 4, 1963, Hefner was arrested for selling obscene literature after an issue of Playboy featuring nude shots of actress Jayne Mansfield was released. Six months later, a jury was unable to reach a verdict.

His former secretary, Bobbie Arnstein, was found dead in a Chicago hotel room at the age of 34 after an overdose of drugs in January 1975. Hefner called a press conference to allege that she had been driven to suicide by narcotics agents and federal officers. Hefner, whose mansions in Chicago and Beverly Hills had come under the scrutiny of federal agents because of alleged drugs parties, claimed the Government was out to get him because of Playboy's philosophy and its advocacy of more liberal drug laws.

The Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards were created by daughter Christie in 1979 "to honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for Americans."

Hefner and his family have donated and raised great amounts of money for the Democratic Party.

More information on this topic is available at [ Wikipedia:Hugh_Hefner ]

"Hef" in pop culture

  • "The stuff that dreams are made of," a favorite quote Hefner often uses to refer to the success of Playboy, comes from Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon; both are misquotations from Act IV, Scene I of Shakespeare's The Tempest ("We are such stuff as dreams are made on").
  • Has a subspecies of rabbit named in his honor (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri).

His first professional movie was Roman Polanski's film adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth, where he served as the executive producer.

  • He has a cameo appearance in Mel Brooks film History of the World, Part I.
  • He made a cameo in the episode "Krusty Gets Kancelled" of The Simpsons.
  • He is the sponsor for the letter 'Y' in the famous Hollywood Sign in Hollywood. In 1978 he also threw a 'Playboy Party' at the mansion in order to raise money for the renovation of the sign.
  • He makes a cameo appearance in the Family Guy episode "Airport 07" where he prompts Glenn Quagmire to save his friends from a plane crash.
  • Hefner also makes a cameo appearance in "Curb Your Enthusiasm" Episode 46 "The Smoking Jacket".
  • Hefner owns the crypt in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, California, beside Marilyn Monroe.


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