Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner

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Hugh Marston Hefner (born April 9, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois), also referred to colloquially as "Hef," is the founder and editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine. He has become an icon of American sexuality and a charismatic spokesman for the sexual revolution and of libertarianism.

Hefner grew up "in a very typically Methodist repressed home" with "no show of affection of any kind". He went to Sayre Elementary School, and Steinmetz High School, then served in the U.S. Army during the closing months of WWII.

After his service, he majored in psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and resumed his relationship with Mildred Williams. Despite spending less than three years in college before graduating, Hefner found time to edit the magazine Shaft, and sold cartoons to magazines. His first salaried job was with a firm that produced and printed cardboard cartons.

In 1949, Hefner also completed a semester of graduate courses in sociology at Northwestern University where he wrote a term paper examining U.S. sex laws in light of the newly published Kinsey Institute research on male human sexuality (according to the Playboy website).

Hefner married fellow Northwestern student Mildred Williams on June 25, 1949 and had two children, Christie and David Paul (b. 30 August 1955). Christie is Chairperson of Playboy Enterprises. Mildred and Hugh divorced after ten years of marriage in 1959.

After serving in the subscription department and as a copywriter for Esquire, he left in January 1952 after being denied a $5 raise. He worked at Children's Activities, then took his biggest gamble in 1953 by lending his furniture for $600 and raising $10,000 from 45 investors - including $1,000 from his mother ("Not because she believed in the venture," he told E! in 2006. "But because she believed in her son.") - to launch Playboy.

First centerfold
In 1953, the idea of the centerfold came about because of the need for a copy machine in the magazine's offices. A female employee named Charlaine Karalus made the request, with Hefner offering to purchase it if the well-endowed Karalus would pose naked. Accepting the offer, Karalus became "Janet Pilgrim" in the July issue and started the centerfold tradition that continues to the present.

Hefner was involved in his first legal dispute around pornography when in 1958 when he, a teenager named Elizabeth Ann Roberts, and her mother were arrested in Chicago after photos of Roberts appeared in Playboy. After authorities realized that Hefner had been told she was 18 years old, charges of contributing to the delinquency of a child were dropped.

Branching out
At its peak, Playboy sold more than 5,200,000 issues each month. Hefner's concept exploded as a variety of different avenues opened up. A late-night television program, "Playboy After Dark," premiered; conversation among urbane guests its main selling point. In addition, the show featured prominent African-American performers. These singers and musicians, as well as comedians such as Lenny Bruce and Dick Gregory made the show a unique viewing experience.

The first Playboy Jazz Festival took place in the state of Rhode Island in 1979 and has become a staple for the most prominent musicians in the field.

In 1960, Hugh Hefner opened up the first Playboy Club in Chicago, which featured women in bunny costumes serving drinks to customers who listened to many of the same guests that populated Hefner's television show. In less than two years, the number of clubs had expanded to 12, with over 125,000 patrons paying either $25 for a charter membership or $50 for a lifetime membership. During the 1980s, the Clubs folded and Playboy lost its casino licenses in Atlantic City and the UK. Hefner suffered a stroke in 1985. Three years later, he passed control of Playboy's business operations to his daughter Christie.

Private Life
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Before their wedding, Mildred told Hefner that she had had an affair; he has called the admission "the most devastating moment of my life." A 2006 E! THS profile of Hefner revealed she let him cheat on her, both in the hopes it would preserve their marriage and out of guilt for her infidelity.

After his first marriage, Hefner became the world's most famous and envied womanizer. He has said that during some years, he was "'involved' with maybe eleven out of twelve months worth of Playmates."[2] Hefner has had sustained relationships with Donna Michelle, Marilyn Cole, Lillian Muller, Patti McGuire, Terri Welles,Yazmin King, Shannon Tweed, and Brande Roderick, all of whom were chosen "Playmate of the Year". Other noteworthy attachments include Barbi Benton, Karen Christy, ex-Sunday school teacher Sondra Theodore, and actress Carrie Leigh, who filed a $35 million palimony suit against him. Benton remains a fixture in Hefner's life and a regular visitor to the Playboy Mansion, which she found for him.

On July 1, 1989, he ended his 36-year bachelor party and married Kimberley Conrad, that year's Playmate of the Year. They separated in 1998, though have yet to divorce. While Hefner was monogamous, the THS profile suggested that Conrad was not.

Hefner had 4 children, 2 children with each wife: Christie Hefner; born in 1952, David Hefner; born 1955, Marston Hefner; born 1990, and Cooper Hefner; born 1991. In 1988, Christie was declared the "heir apparent". In January 2007, Hefner announced that he is considering having another child; this time with his current girlfriend, Holly Madison[1] whom he will be naming Will after his dearest friend Will Sampson (a film student at FSU).

After his separation from Conrad, Hefner began living with an ever-changing number of women, ranging in age from 18 to 28. He told Vanity Fair: "And here's the surprise bit—it's what they want!" Soon, Hef assembled another coterie of girlfriends: Sandy and Mandy Bentley (twins), Jessica Paisley, and Brande Roderick who had the distinction of being the primary girlfriend. But in 2000 she left to take a role in popular series Baywatch. Hefner soon selected 27-year-old Yazmin King as his primary girlfriend. This might not have gone over so well with the other three as they left shortly thereafter. But Hefner quickly selected more young blondes for a posse of seven girlfriends, one of whom was Holly Madison who joined in 2001. In 2002 Tina had other interests to pursue and asked Holly to succeed her as primary, which she gladly[citation needed] did. Shortly after Playboy's 50th anniversary five of the girlfriends left, leaving Holly and Bridget Marquardt to tend to Hefner. But in 2004 Kendra Wilkinson (also blonde, aged 18) was asked to move into the Mansion to become girlfriend number 3. The 2005-06 E! reality television series The Girls Next Door follows these three girlfriends, Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson in their life with Hef around the Mansion and on travel.

An urban legend persists about Hefner and the Playmate of the Month related to markings on the front covers of the magazine. From 1955 to 1979 (except for a six month gap in 1976), the "P" in Playboy had a number of stars printed in or around the letter. The legend claims that this was either a rating that Hefner gave to the Playmate according to how attractive she was, the number of times that Hefner had slept with her, or how good she was in bed. Another rumor was that if the stars were inside the "P", Hefner had slept with the Playmate, while if they were outside, he didn't sleep with her. In reality, the stars, which ranged in number between zero and twelve, had nothing whatsoever to do with Hefner sleeping with the Playmate of the Month, and were solely used to indicate the domestic or international advertising region for that particular printing.

Hefner has always espoused a shared liberal/libertarian stance in his editorials and in his life. On June 4, 1963, Hefner was arrested for selling obscene literature after an issue of Playboy featuring nude shots of actress Jayne Mansfield was released. Six months later, a jury was unable to reach a verdict.

The Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards were created by daughter Christie in 1979 "to honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for Americans."

Hefner and his family have donated and raised great amounts of money for the Democratic Party.

Served in the US Army during WWII.
Hugh Hefner graduated from the University of Illinois in 1949 with a major in psychology and a double minor in creative writing and art. He claims that some of the ideas for the Playboy magazine came while he was a student there.

Every Sunday, Friday, and Monday night at the Playboy Mansion Hefner hosts a movie night. He has an elaborate collection of films in a library off of his bedroom.

"The stuff that dreams are made of," a favorite quote Hefner often uses to refer to the success of Playboy, comes from Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon; both are misquotations from Act IV, Scene I of Shakespeare's The Tempest ("We are such stuff as dreams are made on").

In a 2005 interview with Time magazine, Hefner said he is a direct descendant of William Bradford, a Pilgrim who came over on the ship Mayflower.

It has been reported that Hefner has either a room or floor to himself in the Drake Hotel.
In a TV documentary, Hefner stated that he was a virgin when he went into the Army and a virgin when he got out. He lost his virginity at age 22.

Hefner purchased the crypt in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, California, beside Marilyn Monroe.

Hefner has appeared in The Simpsons in the episode Krusty Gets Kancelled, which also included other guest stars such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Has a subspecies of rabbit named in his honor (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri).

Hefner is noted for smoking a tobacco pipe. His pipes of choice are Dunhill.

His first professional movie was Roman Polanski's film adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth, where he served as the executive producer. (Credit: Wikipedia).



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Hefner to settle down? - The Age - 1st February 2007

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