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Hugh Hefner Passes At 91

A look back on the the history of the PlayBoy founder, Hugh Hefner, in the wake of his death at 91.

  • Perfect timing: New York Times. “Hefner the man and Playboy the brand were inseparable. Both advertised themselves as emblems of the sexual revolution, an escape from American priggishness and wider social intolerance,” The article continues, “Both were derided over the years—as vulgar, as adolescent, as exploitative, and finally as anachronistic. But Mr. Hefner was a stunning success from his emergence in the early 1950s. His timing was perfect.”
  • Gay rights: The Washington Post acknowledged his impact on gay rights as tremendous. In 1955 Hefner ran a futuristic short story where heterosexuality was illegal and homosexuality the norm. The piece had been rejected elsewhere, and even some of Hefner’s own readers were scandalized. His response? “If it was wrong to persecute heterosexuals in a homosexual society, then the reverse was wrong, too.”
Black Playboy logo on a pink background
  • 1967 cover story: Time: Time showed their cover from 1967 which featured an article on Hugh Hefner. “America was undoubtedly ready for it anyway, but Hefner seized the moment. He was the first publisher to see that the sky would not fall and mothers would not march if he published bare bosoms; he realized that the old taboos were going, that, so to speak, the empress need wear no clothes.”
  • Smart investment: People talked about how a young Hefner launched his magazine in 1953 with $8,000 investment from 45 investors, which included his mom.
  • Visiting the Playboy Mansion: Rob Lowe recalls what it was like to visit in the 1980s as a young movie star Esquire saying it was, “Awesome, obviously.”
  • Hef and his style: A piece in the Hollywood Reporter praises Hefner as an icon in fashion for men. His silks and robes, make him the original “pajamas dresser.”
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