Hugh Hefner (Photo source: Twitter – @playboy)

Hugh Hefner has reportedly died at his home at the age of 91. Hefner was the founder and publisher of Playboy magazine, an iconic publication that made the careers of many women and gave us the pictures of America’s first sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe.

Hefner was born on April 9, 1926, and at the age of 27 with a $1K loan from his mother, founded Playboy magazine in 1953. The very first issue of Playboy put the magazine and Hefner’s name in the national spotlight when it featured 1950s bombshell Marilyn Monroe as its first cover girl model where she appeared topless. The first issue of that magazine sold 50K copies and by the end of the second year of publication, Playboy had over 7M subscribers.

Soon the branding of the magazine became more than just pictures of nude women. Hefner decided to create a lifestyle magazine that appeals to the finer things of life and the true appreciation of a woman. There was never a time in Hefner’s publication that would today be regarded as degradation of woman. Hefner included fashion, premium liquor ads, and insightful articles that were written by a myriad of authors, including Alex Haley, the author of the novel Roots. He launched the career of literally dozens of models that became known as playmates. Among these women were Marilyn Monroe, Pam Grier, Jenny McCarthy, Anna Nicole Smith, Pamela Anderson, Azealia Banks and many others.

Perhaps one of the most famous acquisitions that Hefner made was the Playboy mansion, which became iconic as a party spot for celebrities and millionaires. Pictures of  Hefner at the mansion always featured him clad in his scarlet smoking jacket and often wearing pajamas. He exuded a life of hedonism, luxury and success. The brand also spawned dozens of what were known as Playboy clubs in major cities. These clubs featured hostesses dressed in bikinis and called Playboy bunnies with their signature bunny tail on their rear end. Hefner, also at these clubs, challenged segregation by featuring Black entertainers in Chicago, New York, and other cities.

As Hefner grew older his love of beautiful women did not wane. He surrounded himself with live-in lovers at his Playboy mansion, some of whom he never had sex with but just wanted their company. The Playboy mansion soon became available for rent at special events sponsored by major companies who just wanted to be affiliated with Hefner and the Playboy brand. His impact on sex in America was monumental and surprisingly candid. None of the photo shoots featured in Playboy degraded women like other competitors such as Hustler magazine, Penthouse, and other imitators. It can be truly said that America has lost a pop culture icon.

Mo Barnes

"Mo Betta" Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician.

  • britishrose

    rip in peace … but i cant help but, zone in on the facts .. he slept with underage women as well , he had 3 women in his bed reason his first wife bailed . i never saw him march with martin luther king so i dont think he was proactive in the civil right era and god know .. he didnt invite black folks to the mansion until the late 80s.. and bill cosby was one of them . he didnt stand up for costy being he invited cosby to his house to play with women . that meant cosby had a pinchant for young women. so why would he rape anyone when he could just get a escort from hugh?
    crystal is 26 , so you want someone to believe he want screw a 17 year old ? miss me please

    HUGH hefner was a pervert, men like him cause he had plenty of women around , not cause he was nice , he was living every man dream up until his last day .. i wonder how long he been sick .. a man who diet was carefully planned he was home all the time .and had a young wife .. and he dead? proof wea ll gonna die of some weird disease no matter how good we eat .. or drink … rip hugh

  • BigDaddy Butta

    Rest In Peace…SP Hugh Hefner you will be missed brother…ChiTown Finest Baby