Playboy’s success led to many celebrities, including Drew Barrymore, Farrah Fawcett and Linda Evans, posing for the magazine, while also turning some models into celebrities, including singer Deborah Harry and model Lauren Hutton.
Several Australian stars also featured in Playboy’s US and Australian magazines, including Elle McPherson, Dannii Minogue, Melissa George, and Sophie Monk. Dannii Minogue’s cover was the highest-selling edition of the Australian Playboy magazine.
Hugh Hefner, the founder and original editor of Playboy, which plopped the post-war sexual revolution onto countless coffee tables around the world, died of natural causes Wednesday. He was 91. Playboy confirmed their founder’s death.
Hefner, known to almost everyone as “Hef,” is survived by his wife, Crystal, and four grown children: Christie, who was chief executive of Playboy Enterprises for more than 20 years; David; Marston; and Cooper. Memorial plans weren’t immediately available, Playboy said.
“He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history,” the younger Hefner said. Cooper Hefner, chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, said Wednesday night: “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. Hugh Marston Hefner was born in Chicago, the son of two city schoolteachers. He joined the Army as an infantry clerk after high school and went on to become a copywriter for Esquire magazine.
Throughout the 1960s, Hefner left Chicago only a few times. In the early 1970s, he bought the second mansion in Los Angeles, flying between his homes on a private DC-9 dubbed The Big Bunny, which boasted a giant Playboy bunny emblazoned on the tail. Hefner was host of a television show, Playboy After Dark, and in 1960 opened a string of clubs around the world where waitresses wore revealing costumes with bunny ears and fluffy white bunny tails. Network television briefly embraced Hefner’s empire in 2011 with the NBC drama The Playboy Club, which failed to lure viewers and was cancelled after three episodes. In the 21st century, he was back on television in a cable reality show The Girls Next Door with three live-in girlfriends in the Los Angeles Playboy mansion.
Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner poses for a portrait at his Playboy mansion on July 27, 2010 in Los Angeles. Hefner, who built Playboy into a multimillion-dollar adult magazine and entertainment empire tied to a Lothario lifestyle of lavish parties and beautiful women, died Wednesday at his home, the iconic Playboy Mansion in Hollywood. He was 91.
While the magazine managed to both inspire and ride the “s e x ual revolution” of the 1960s and 70s, in recent years it has struggled in the face of tough competition from the availability of free magazine online.
For a brief period from mid-2016 through early 2017, the magazine experimented with avoiding nudity, before returning to its previous formula. “Hefner took a progressive approach not only to sexuality and humor, but also to literature, politics and culture,” the statement said, calling the “Playboy Interview,” or an extensive discussion between a well-known person and an interviewer, a “standard setter.” The statement said Playboy magazine was aimed at more than the market for nude images.
Hefner also led free-speech battles in the U.S., fighting all the way to the Supreme Court after the U.S. Post Office refused to deliver his magazine, the statement noted. Hefner was survived by his wife, Crystal, his sons, Cooper, David and Marston, and his daughter, Christie, the statement said.