Hugh Hefner, the iconic founder of Playboy magazine, died at his home, the Playboy Mansion, of natural causes at age 91, Playboy Enterprises said in a statement on Wednesday.
Playboy magazine was founded more than 60 years ago to create a niche upscale men’s magazine, combining images of nude women with in-depth articles, interviews and fiction by a variety of well-known writers.
Hefner reportedly founded the magazine with $600 and another $1,000 borrowed from his mother.
The first centerfold, an iconic feature of the monthly magazine, was of Marilyn Monroe.
“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,”
Cooper Hefner, Playboy Enterprises’ chief creative officer and Hugh’s son, said in the statement.
“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.
For decades, he was the pipe-smoking, silk-pajama-wearing center of a constant fantasy party at Playboy mansions in Chicago and then in Los Angeles.
Hefner was sometimes characterized as an oversexed Peter Pan as he kept a harem of young blondes that numbered as many as seven at his legendary Playboy Mansion.
This was chronicled in “The Girls Next Door,” a TV reality show that aired from 2005 through 2010.
“I’m never going to grow up,”
Hefner said in a CNN interview when he was 82.
“Staying young is what it is all about for me.
Holding on to the boy and long ago I decided that age really didn’t matter and as long as the ladies … feel the same way, that’s fine with me.”
Hefner’s next-door neighbor Daren Metropoulos bought the Playboy Mansion in August 2016 for $100 million.
Hefner reportedly agreed to the sale on the condition that Metropoulos would allow him to live out the rest of his days there.