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Hugh Hefner

Publisher

Born: 9 April 1926
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Best known as:

Founder of the Playboy empire

Hugh Hefner started his magazine Playboy in 1953. It was a mainstream lifestyle publication that celebrated sex and concupiscence at a time when most Americans didn't talk about such things in public. The first issue included a now-famous calendar photo of Marilyn Monroe and quickly sold out. Playboy, not without controversy, became a smashing success, known for its high-quality writing and in-depth celebrity interviews along with its always-popular photos of naked women. Hugh Hefner built Playboy into an empire in the 1960s and 1970s, opening nightclubs that featured scantily-clad hostesses known as "Bunnies." Hefner even launched a TV show, Playboy's Penthouse, in the early days of cable television. Hugh Hefner had a stroke in 1985 that slowed his swinging lifestyle, and in 1988 he turned over business operations to his daughter, Christie Hefner. But after nearly a decade out of the spotlight, Hef bounced back in the late 1990s as a swinging senior citizen, once again enjoying the limelight and boasting a harem of much younger girlfriends. In 2005 he began starring in the cable series The Girls Next Door, which followed the lives of Hef's three live-in "girlfriends": Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt, and Kendra Wilkinson. The three were replaced by new girlfriends in 2010, and the series ended that same year. On Christmas Day of 2010, Hugh Hefner tweeted his engagement to one of those new girlfriends, Crystal Harris, a 24-year-old who had been Playboy magazine's Miss December of 2009. Hefner and Harris broke off the engagement in June of 2011, a few days before their planned wedding, but they got together again the next year and were married at the Playboy Mansion on December 31, 2012.

Extra credit:

Hugh Hefner earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Illinois in 1949... Hugh Hefner has been married twice before his 2012 marriage to Crystal Harris. He was married to the former Mildred Williams from 1949 until their divorce in 1959; they had two children, Christie (born 1952) and David (b. 1955). His second marriage was to Kimberly Conrad, a Playboy 'Playmate of the Year'; it lasted from 1989 until their divorce in 2010, although they were separated for the second decade of the marriage. They had two sons, Marston (b. 1990) and Cooper (b. 1991).

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