Hugh Hefner died yesterday. The 91-year-old founder of the Playboy empire passed away peacefully at the Playboy Mansion of natural causes. He was surrounded by his loved ones.
Hef, as he was known, founded “Playboy” magazine in 1953. The first issue featured a nude picture of Marilyn Monroe as the first centerfold. It sold more than 50-thousand copies. Over the years, the magazine not only featured naked pictures of people like Madonna, Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, and Sharon Stone; but also great celebrity interviews and articles from top writers. An in-depth interview with Martin Luther King Jr. ran in 1965 and Hunter S. Thompson did an article on “The Great Shark Hunt” in 1974, and Mark Boal wrote a piece that became the basis for the movie, “The Hurt Locker.”
Over the years, Hef built a reputation as the ultimate ladies’ man who spent the majority of his time at his iconic home in a smoking jacket and silk pajamas. Many of the Playboy Playmates that were featured in the magazine also lived at the Mansion, where he was known to host weekly movie nights and, of course, lavish parties.
Hef was married to Mildred Williams from 1949 to 1959. That union produced two children, Christie and David. Later, he marred Kimberly Conrad in 1989 and had two sons with her – Marston and Cooper, who is now the face of Playboy Enterprises. Of course, he had scores of girlfriends in between – most notably Kendra Wilkinson, Bridget Marquardt, and Holly Madison, stars of his E! reality TV show, “The Girls Next Door.” In addition to his children, he’s survived by his last wife, Crystal Harris, whom he married in 2012.