On September 27, 2017, Hugh Hefner died at the age of 91 in the Playboy Mansion surrounded by friends and family. It is said that he died of natural causes. He lived a good, long life as the man who built the Playboy Empire, established in 1953. The first issue of Playboy was published in December of that same year with no cover date because Hefner was unsure if there would even be a second issue. However, with Marilyn Monroe on the front cover sales sky rocketed, selling more than 50,000 copies. Hefner worked his way to becoming a household name and built a legacy that is continuing to turn heads all over the world.
Hugh Hefner played a major role in accepting and supporting the artistic freedom and culture of African-Americans with media initiatives such as:
- Playboy Penthouse where he featured icons like Ella Fitzgerald (1959)
- Playboy Jazz Festival in Chicago which held performances by Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington (1959)
- Playboy after Dark was a continued effort to support a diverse group of musicians (1968)
- The first African-American Cover Model, featuring Darine Stern naked with an afro (1971)
He has left a legacy that compares to no other. He revolutionized the way our society and even the world views sex, culture, love, and business through his ground breaking, controversial and thought provoking enterprise composed of various TV shows, music concerts, clothing brand, clubs, magazines, and much more.
For more history, fun facts and other information about Playboy Enterprises, check out my Playboy Feminism blog series.
~ R.I.P. Hugh Hefner (April 9, 1926 to September 27, 2017) ~