Home Lifestyle News Flamboyant founder of Playboy empire passes away at 91

Flamboyant founder of Playboy empire passes away at 91

28th Sep 17 11:30 am

Hugh Hefner will reportedly be buried next to the vault of Marilyn Monroe

“Life is too short to be living somebody else’s dream” were the famous words by Hugh Hefner, the flamboyant founder of Playboy magazine, who passed away today due to ‘natural causes’ at his Playboy mansion in Los Angeles.

Born to strict Methodist parents, Hugh M. Hefner was born in 1926 and was the eldest of two brothers. He served two years in the Army during World War II before joining Esquire as a copywriter. By 1953, Hefner wanted to start his own venture and managed to raise $8,000 from 45 investors, including his own mother.

The first issue of the Playboy magazine hit the newsstands in December that year with a never seen before nude picture of Marilyn Monroe in the centerfold. That issue sold more than 50,000 copies, and went on to hit a yearly circulation of 200,000 and 1 million within the next five years. Since Hefner’s death, it has emerged that the millionaire will be buried next to Monroe’s Westwood Village cemetery, which Hefner had reportedly bought for £56,000.

The magazine not just revolutionised the face of American publishing and pop culture, but also foretold the beginnings of American sexual revolution. Asked by The New York Times in 1992 of what he was proudest, Hefner said: “That I changed attitudes toward sex. That nice people can live together now. That I decontaminated the notion of premarital sex. That gives me great satisfaction.”

Hefner had once said that sex is “the primary motivating factor in the course of human history” and he embodied this motto in his business model all through the years. In the 1980s, the magazine saw severe competition from rival magazines, which had much more explicit content, and the Playboy Clubs also faced the possibility of shutting down. Things, however, revived for the group.

After suffering a minor stroke in 1985, Hefner made his daughter, Christie Hefner, the chief executive of Playboy Enterprises. Christie gave the business a makeover before stepping down in 2009. Hefner’s son, Cooper, who was nearly 40 years younger than Christie, assumed a major role in the company in 2014.

Cooper said in a statement today: “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.”

“I’m never going to grow up,” Hefner had once said in an interview to CNN: “Staying young is what it is all about for me”. The iconic cult figure of American pop history may have left the material world behind, but we are sure that he continues to smoke his pipe and live the high-life wearing silk pyjamas, up in the heavenly mansion.

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