Hugh Hefner, Playboy founder, dead at 91, magazine confirms

Hugh Hefner, who founded Playboy magazine and described the magazine as being there to “ignite the flame that became the sexual revolution,” has died, the magazine said Wednesday. He was 91. 

Hefner died at home, surrounded by loved ones, according to a press release from Playboy. The magazine said he died from natural causes.

In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning in 2010, Hefner told Bill Whitaker that he took “some pride” that the magazine had been at the forefront of the sexual revolution. 

“The very nature of Playboy and my life, I think I touched very close to the heart of things that are controversial in America – you know, sex and wealth and success,” Hefner said. “And throwing a good party.”    

His son, Cooper Hefner, credited his father as living “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.”

“He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history. He will be greatly missed by many, including his wife Crystal, my sister Christie and my brothers David and Marston, and all of us at Playboy Enterprises,” Cooper Hefner said.

Reaction from fans and celebrities alike came in quickly on social media, reports CBS Los Angeles.

Hugh Marston Hefner was born in Chicago in 1926. He thought he’d be a cartoonist. But when he was 27, he started his own magazine.  Heffner told CBS Sunday Morning that he wanted to call it “Stag Party,” but changed it to something more upscale. 

“Playboy” launched in 1953 with Marilyn Monroe wearing nothing but a come hither look — and the magazine quickly became a movement. Eisenhower’s America was shocked, and titillated, and changed forever.  

Women were warned from the first issue: “If you’re somebody’s sister, wife, or mother-in-law,” the magazine declared, “and picked us up by mistake, please pass us along to the man in your life and get back to Ladies Home Companion.” 

Playboy proved a scourge, and a temptation. Drew Barrymore, Farrah Fawcett and Linda Evans are among those who have posed for the magazine. Several bunnies became celebrities, too, including singer Deborah Harry and model Lauren Hutton, both of whom had fond memories of their time with Playboy. Other bunnies had traumatic experiences, with several alleging they had been raped by Hefner’s close friend Bill…

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