Hugh Hefner (April 9, 1926 – September 27, 2017) was an American businessman, magazine publisher and playboy. He was the editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine, which he founded in 1953. He was also the chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, which is the publishing group that operates the magazine. An advocate of sexual liberation and freedom of expression, Hefner was a political activist and philanthropist in several other causes and public issues.
Hefner, affectionately called 'Hef', had an IQ of 152, considered Genius level. It's no wonder then that Hugh earned his degree in a mere two-and-a-half years, instead of the usual four years that it takes in the US. The Playboy founder majored in psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Hefner studied for one semester towards an MA degree. During that time, he wrote a paper titled "Sex Behavior in the U.S. Law". He received an A-grade for the research he did for the paper. Hef is a distant cousin of John Kerry and George W. Bush.
Before building a multi-million-dollar brand around the objectification of women, Hefner served in World War II and toiled in the publishing industry in different jobs, including some stabs at cartooning and as a copywriter for Esquire. One of his positions was being the circulation director of a Chicago-based children's magazine.
He founded Playboy magazine in 1953, using a picture of a nude Marilyn Monroe, a $600 loan against his furniture and investments from family members to launch the magazine with a total of $8,000. He originally wanted to call the magazine "Stag Party". It became one of the most talked-about publishing empires in history.
Hefner's favorite hangout when he was a college student was Bunny's Tavern, a bar and restaurant where the waitresses dressed up as bunnies. He opened his first Playboy Club in Chicago in 1960 where waitresses dressed up as bunnies served the customers. Eventually there were dozens of clubs as far as Japan and Jamaica and they featured the hottest entertainers of the time, such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Sonny & Cher. The clubs began closing in the late 1980s amid escalating costs.
Hefner lived in his famous Playboy mansion under strange arrangements - he never outright owned it. It technically belonged to Playboy Enterprises, which leased it to him for $100 a year.
When I got the Playboy Mansion I didn't leave the property for months, to shop or to go anywhere.
In 2016, the estate's next-door neighbor bought it for $100 million. But Hefner didn't want to move, so he paid $1 million a year in rent to stay there, for what turned out to be just about one year.
He's been married three times, and always has multiple girlfriends around him. His first two marriages have given him four kids. Hefner told that he saved himself for his first wife Mildred Williams. After they had sex in 1949, when he was 22, Mildred revealed that she had cheated on him before their wedding while he served in the army.
That was the most devastating moment in my life.
Before he died, Hefner said he slept with more than 1,000 women.
Hefner's iconic smoking jacket look started in the late 1960s. At that point, Playboy was a roaring success and Hefner moved his office into his bedroom to make things easier. Then he realized he could wear them all day.
I started wearing them all the time because I was working at night, and then I started wearing them when I entertained.
He reportedly owned more than 200 custom-made smoking jackets and pajamas. He did not wear underwear underneath, according to the New York Times.
He holds two Guinness World Records: Longest tenure as Editor-in-Chief and the largest collection of personal scrapbooks. He collected photos from his time working on the Playboy magazine and with his friends at the mansion.
It was probably just a way of creating a world of my own to share with my friends. And in retrospect, in thinking about it, it's not a whole lot different than creating the magazine.
In 1992, he bought a mausoleum drawer next to the Marilyn Monroe for $75,000 so he is buried there.