Hugh Hefner is an American adult magazine publisher, businessman, and a well-known playboy. Hefner is a native of Chicago, Illinois and a former journalist for Esquire. Hefner is also a World War II veteran. He is best known for being the founder and chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises. A self-made multi-millionaire, his net worth is over $43 million, because of his success as the founder of Playboy magazine.
Let’s find out some interesting facts about him!
1. Hugh Marston Hefner was born April 9, 1926, in Chicago, Illinois.
2. He is the first child of Grace Caroline and Glenn Lucius Hefner (1896–1976), who both worked as teachers.
3. His parents were from Nebraska.
4. He had a younger brother, Keith (1929–2016).
5. Hefner’s mother was of Swedish descent, and his father had German and English ancestry.
6. Through his father’s line, Hefner has stated that he is a direct descendant of Plymouth governor William Bradford.
7. He has described his family as “conservative, Midwestern, and Methodist”.
8. He attended Sayre Elementary School and Steinmetz High School, then during World War II, served as a writer for a military newspaper in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946.
9. Hugh graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a bachelor of arts in psychology and a double minor in creative writing and art in 1949, earning his degree in two and a half years.
10. After graduation, he took a semester of graduate courses in sociology at Northwestern University but dropped out soon after.
11. Working as a copywriter for Esquire, he left in January 1952 after being denied a $5 raise.
12. In 1953, he mortgaged his furniture, generating a bank loan of $600, and raised $8,000 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, which was initially going to be called Stag Party.
14. The undated first issue, published in December 1953, featured Marilyn Monroe from her 1949 nude calendar shoot and sold over 50,000 copies.
15. After it was rejected by Esquire magazine in 1955, Hefner agreed to publish in Playboy the Charles Beaumont science fiction short story “The Crooked Man”, about straight men being persecuted in a world where homosexuality was the norm.
16. After receiving angry letters to the magazine, Hefner wrote a response to criticism where he said, “If it was wrong to persecute heterosexuals in a homosexual society then the reverse was wrong, too.”
17. In 1961, Hefner watched Dick Gregory perform at the Herman Roberts Show Bar in Chicago.
18. Based on that performance, Hefner hired Gregory to work at the Chicago Playboy Club.
19. Gregory attributes the subsequent launch of his career to that night.
20. On June 4, 1963, Hefner was arrested for selling obscene literature after an issue of Playboy featuring nude shots of Jayne Mansfield was released.
21. A jury was unable to reach a verdict.
22. In the 1993 The Simpsons episode “Krusty Gets Cancelled”, Hefner guest-voiced himself where he played a musical piece on the wine glasses.
23. In 1949, Hefner married Northwestern University student Mildred Williams (born 1926). They had two children: daughter Christie Hefner (born 1952) and son David (born 1955).
24. Before the wedding, Mildred confessed that she had an affair while he was away in the army.
25. He called the admission “the most devastating moment of my life.” A 2006 E! True Hollywood Story profile of Hefner revealed that Mildred allowed him to have sex with other women, out of guilt for her infidelity and in the fond hope that it would preserve their marriage. The two were divorced in 1959.
26. Hefner remade himself as a bon viveur and man about town, a lifestyle he promoted in his magazine and two TV shows he hosted, Playboy’s Penthouse (1959–1960) and Playboy After Dark (1969–1970).
27. He admitted to being “‘involved’ with maybe eleven out of twelve months’ worth of Playmates” during some of these years.
28. Donna Michelle, Marilyn Cole, Lillian Müller, Shannon Tweed, Barbi Benton, Karen Christy, Sondra Theodore, and Carrie Leigh — who filed a $35 million palimony suit against him — were a few of his many lovers.
29. In 1971, he acknowledged that he experimented in bisexuality.
30. Also in 1971, Hefner established a second residence in Los Angeles with the acquisition of Playboy Mansion West, and in 1975 moved there permanently from Chicago.
31. In 1970, Hefner owned a private jet worth $5.5 million. The Big Bunny, as it was called, was a modified 119-foot long DC-9, equipped with a living room, disco, and sleeping quarters suitable for up to 16 people.
32. When Hefner was 11-years-old he received an award from the Illinois Humane Society for his poem “Be Kind to Dumb Animals.”
33. The first Playboy nightclub opened in Chicago in 1960. Playboy Bunnies served drinks to members, who were known as “keyholders.”
34. Cynthia Maddox, once Playboy‘s assistant cartoon editor, has appeared on the cover of the magazine 5 times.
35. In the early years, Hefner was serious about publishing good fiction in his burgeoning magazine, and recruited some of the best writers around, such as John Steinbeck, James Baldwin, John Updike, Doris Lessing, Kurt Vonnegut, Vladimir Nabokov, and Michael Crichton.
36. In 1988, Hefner’s daughter, Christie Hefner, became the chief executive officer of Playboy Enterprises. Christie stepped down from her position at Playboy in 2009 to pursue charity work.
37. While Hefner was away in the Army, his then-girlfriend and future wife, Mildred Williams, cheated on him. Hefner said it was “the most devastating moment of my life.” Allegedly, after her affair Mildred let Hefner sleep with other women because she felt guilty and hoped the agreement would save their relationship.
38. As a child, Hefner had a favorite blue-and-white blanket, which featured a bunny pattern.
39. In 2005, Hefner wanted to start an Indian version of Playboy with Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai appearing on the cover of the first issue. The proposed version, however, would contain no nudity.
40. Hefner once tried to set up a foursome with his wife, Mildred, his younger brother Keith, and Keith’s wife, Rae. Apparently Mildred and Keith backed out, while Hefner followed through and slept with his sister-in-law.
41. He holds two Guinness World Records: Longest tenure as editor-in-chief and the largest collection of personal scrapbooks.
42. The Playboy Mansion is one of the only private residences in America with a zoo license.
43. Selling Playboy Magazine has been banned in many major parts of Asia & most Muslim countries.
44. Hugh Hefner bought the crypt next to Marilyn Monroe’s in 1992 for $75,000 – which would amount to $127,410 in 2014.
45. His girlfriends were each paid an allowance of $1,000 a week.
46. They also had a 9:00 PM curfew every night.
47. The Mansion is the only house in the entire county of Los Angeles to have a fireworks permit.
48. Hugh Hefner is a celebrated Civil Rights activist.