Hugh Hefner, editor-in-chief of Playboy Magazine, died of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles on Wednesday at the age of 91. Over the past year, Hefner’s health had been deteriorating, and he stopped appearing publically, according to TMZ.
Hefner founded his iconic magazine in 1953 for $8,000, which featured a nude Marilyn Monroe. Other celebs who have appeared on the cover of the magazine include Cindy Crawford, Pamela Anderson, Madonna, Carmen Electra, Drew Barrymore, and Kim Kardashian. But the magazine was more than just naked pics. Hefner also featured articles by prominent writers such as Norman Mailer, Jack Kerouac, Ray Bradbury, and Kurt Vonnegut.
He lived in the Playboy Mansion, which became notorious for its hedonistic parties attended by the rich and famous. Known for hanging out in his signature silk pajamas, Hefner sold the estate last year for $100 million under the condition that he could live there until his death.
Hefner had three wives: high school sweetheart Mildred Williams, 1989 Playboy Playmate of the Year Kimberly Conrad, and Crystal Hefner, who was 60 years his junior. They were still together when he died. Hefner had two children with his first wife, Christie, and David, and two with his third, Marston and Cooper.
He launched the members-only Playboy Club in the ‘60s, which entertained many for nearly two decades. He was also a big advocate for birth control and contributed funds to fight states where the pills were outlawed. Hefner also supported lower-court cases that led to Roe v. Wade, noted Vanity Fair.
The Playboy editorial staff made an unusual decision in 2016 to stop posting nude images, stunning the public. But they reversed their decision in early 2017 after Cooper Hefner took over as chief creative officer. Cooper tweeted at the time: “I’ll be the first to admit that the way in which the magazine portrayed nudity was dated, but removing it entirely was a mistake.”
Numerous celebs took to social media to pay tribute to the icon.
Kim Kardashian tweeted: “RIP to the legendary Hugh Hefner! I’m so honored to have been a part of the Playboy team! You will be greatly missed! Love you Hef! Xoxo.”
Pamela Anderson said: “Outside of my family You were the most important person in my life. You gave me my life… People tell me all the time That I was your favorite… I’m in such deep shock.”
Jenny McCarthy wrote: “RIP #Hef Thank you for being a revolutionary and changing so many people’s lives, especially mine. I hope I made you proud.”
Larry King added: “Hugh Hefner was a GIANT in publishing, journalism, free speech & civil rights. He was a true original, and he was my friend. Rest well Hef.”
Bob Saget said: “Hugh Hefner’s definition of obscenity: “Racism, war, bigotry, but sex itself, no. What a sad cold world this would be if we weren’t sexual beings…I mean, that’s the heart of who we are.”
Interesting facts about Hefner:
- He was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in high school
- He purchased a plot in a Los Angeles cemetery for $75,000 so he could be buried next to Marilyn Monroe
- His first wife had an affair while he served in the Army, leading to their split
- He had a stroke in 1985 but fully recovered
- When he was dating Holly Madison he had several girlfriends and reportedly gave each of them each a $1,000 weekly allowance; they also had a 9 p.m. curfew
- He prevented the demolition of the famous Hollywood sign by donating $900,000 to preserve it
- He was very anti-drug
- He estimated that he slept with over 2,000 women
- He reportedly had a genius IQ of 152 but was not a good student
- He lost his virginity at the age of 22
- He was distantly related to George W. Bush and John Kerry
- He had a rabbit named after him, the Sylvilagus Palustris Hefneri