Hugh Hefner created the men"s adult entertainment magazine "Playboy," which played a duty in the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Hefner developed his controversial yet groundbreaking magazine into an global enterprise.

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Who was Hugh Hefner?

Hugh Hefner revolutionized the adult entertainment industry with his groundbreaking publishing Playboy. Indigenous the very first issue featuring Marilyn Monroe in December 1953, Playboy broadened into a multimillion-dollar enterprise mirroring the regularly controversial sensibilities that its founder. Through the 1970s, Hefner set himself up at the Playboy Mansion West in California, staying editor-in-chief of the newspaper he founded. In much more recent years, the starred in the truth TV series The Girls next Door

Background and also Early Life

Hugh Marston Hefner, born ~ above April 9, 1926, in Chicago, Illinois, to be the eldest of two sons born come Grace and Glenn Hefner, that were strict Methodists. Hefner visited Sayre primary school School and also then come Steinmetz High School, where, reportedly, his IQ to be 152 despite his academic performance was typically modest. While in high school, Hefner came to be president the the student council and founded a college newspaper—an early sign of his journalistic talents. The also created a comic publication entitled School Daze, in i beg your pardon the normally reticent youngster was able to be in ~ the center of his very own imagined universe.


Hefner served two years in the U.S. Military as a noncombatant toward the end of human being War II, and also was discharged in 1946. He learned at the Chicago arts Institute because that a summer before enrolling at the college of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, whereby he specialty in psychology. Hefner earned his bachelor's degree in 1949, the very same year that married his very first wife, Mildred Williams. He later did a semester the graduate school occupational in the area the sociology, concentrating on the sex research study institute created by Alfred Kinsey.


By the at an early stage 1950s, Hefner had actually landed a copywriting task at the Chicago office that Esquire magazine, which featured literary works by such authors as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald as well as illustrations from pinup artists like George Petty and also Alberto Vargas. Hefner opted not to stay with the publication, which moved to new York, as soon as he to be denied a $5 raise.

Starting 'Playboy'

Out on his own, Hefner was figured out to begin his very own publication. He elevated $8,000 native 45 investors—including $2,000 indigenous his mother and also brother Keith combined—to launch Playboy magazine. Hefner had actually planned to location the newspaper "Stag Party" however was forced to change the name to avoid a trademark infringement v the present Stag magazine. A colleague argued the name "Playboy," after a defunct vehicle company. Hefner favored the name, as he thought it reflect high living and sophistication.


Hefner produced the very first edition of Playboy out of his southern Side home. It hit newsstands in December 1953, but did not carry a date since Hefner to be unsure regarding whether or no a 2nd issue would be produced. To assist ensure that is success, Hefner had actually purchased a shade photograph of actress Marilyn Monroe in the nude—which had been taken some years earlier—and put it in the centerfold of the magazine. The an initial issue quickly sold an ext than 50,000 copies and also became an instant sensation.


America in the 1950s was attempting to distance itself from virtually 30 years of war and also economic depression. For many, the magazine proved to it is in a welcome antidote come the sexual repression of the era. Because that those who originally dismissed the magazine as a pornographic publication, Playboy soon increased its circulation through thoughtful articles and an urbane presentation.

Developing a Voice

The Playboy logo, portraying the stylized file of a hare wearing a tuxedo bow tie, showed up in the second issue and remained the trademark icon of the brand. Hefner determined the hare for that "humorous sex-related connotation" and because the image was "frisky and playful"—an photo he cultivated in the magazine's articles and also cartoons. Hefner wanted to identify his newspaper from most other men's periodicals, i m sorry catered to outdoorsmen and also showcased he-man fiction. Hefner determined his newspaper would instead cater come the cosmopolitan, pundit male and feature much more overt sexual imagery.

In a collection of 25 editorial installments presented during the 1960s, Hefner supported what became known as the "Playboy Philosophy." one evolving manifest on politics and governance, the approach espoused Hefner's basic beliefs about free enterprise and also the nature the man and woman, calling because that what he viewed as reasoned discourse on the truths of person sexuality. However, Hefner never lost sight the the truth that the was pictures of nude ladies which at some point sold the magazine.


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Work top top the publishing consumed much of Hefner's life and also marriage. Through the late 1950s, Playboy's circulation had actually surpassed the of competitor magazine Esquire, with sales getting to a million duplicates a month. But an individual issues loomed. Hefner and his first wife divorce in 1959 after ~ having had two children, Christie and David. Together a solitary man, Hefner had many girlfriends and became recognized for his romantic, unpretentious presence. Yet he additionally earned a call for gift controlling and trying come enforce dual standards.

The gold Age

In the 1960s, Hefner ended up being the persona of Playboy: the urbane sophisticate in the silk smoking jacket through a pipeline in hand. He embraced a wide variety of pursuits and socialized v the famous and also wealthy, always in the firm of young, beautiful women. As the magazine's enhanced success pertained to the fist of the tendency public, Hefner to be happy come portray himself as the charismatic icon and spokesperson for the sexual change of the 1960s.

This was also Playboy's golden e as ever-increasing circulation allowed Hefner to build a large enterprise of "private key" clubs that, amongst other traits, were racially inclusive in a time wherein segregation to be still legitimate enforced. (A documentary ~ above Hefner that concentrated on his civil rights activism later received a NAACP photo Award nod.) Hostesses, recognized as Playboy Bunnies for their scanty outfits made up of hare ears and puffy tails, staffed these luxury establishments. The Bunnies regularly did quite well financially via tips and were directed to store a details professional street from simple patrons. The women additionally had strict conditions placed on them in regards come appearance, consisting of size. 


Over the years, Hefner's Playboy Enterprises also built hotel resorts, started modeling agencies and also operated a number of media endeavors. Hefner organized two short-run television series, Playboy's Penthouse (1959–1960), which featured the likes the Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Tony Bennett, and Playboy after Dark (1969–1970), through guests favor Milton Berle and also James Brown. Both programs to be weekly speak shows set in a bachelor pad complete of Playboy Playmates, who chatted with Hefner and his special guests about various subjects.

The publication itself began to garner a call for major journalism, as author Alex Haley launched the "Playboy Interview" in 1962 through jazz good Miles Davis. But Hefner's success didn't come without controversy. In 1963, he to be arrested and stood attempt for selling obscene literary works after an problem of Playboy featured nude picture of Hollywood actress Jayne Mansfield. The jury couldn't with a verdict, and the charge was ultimately dropped. The publicity didn't influence the reputation of Hefner or Playboy Enterprises. In 1964, Hefner started the Playboy foundation to assistance endeavors regarded fighting censorship and also researching human being sexuality.

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Challenges and Downsizing

By 1971, Hefner had built Playboy Enterprises right into a significant corporation. The firm went public, and also the magazine's circulation fight 7 million duplicates a month, earning a $12 million profit in 1972. Hefner additionally began splitting his time between two big mansions, one in Chicago and also the various other in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles. Once he wasn't home, he to be globetrotting in the large Bunny, a converted black color DC-30 jet finish with a living room, a disco, movie and video equipment, a wet bar and sleeping quarters. The jet likewise featured a one bed because that Hefner himself.


In the mid-1970s, however, Playboy Enterprises fell on hard times. The United says hit a recession, and Playboy challenged increasing vain from more explicit men's magazines such as Penthouse, helmed by rival Bob Guccione. At first, Hefner responded by presenting an ext revealing photos of females in less wholesome poses and also circumstances. Part advertisers rebelled, and circulation fell even further. From then on, Hefner focused the company's to work on newspaper publishing. Playboy Enterprises at some point divested itself from its unprofitable clubs and also hotels and also downsized that ancillary media endeavors. The magazine retained its brand-new photography standards and also began presenting features like "Girls that the huge Ten."