September 28 – Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner has died at the age of 91, at the Playboy Mansion in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of West Los Angeles; the company has confirmed on Twitter.
In a statement, Playboy Enterprises said that Mr. Hefner died peacefully at his home from natural causes. The statement read:
“Hugh M. Hefner, the American icon who, in 1953, introduced the world to playboy magazine and built the company into one of the most recognizable American global brands in history, peacefully passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones.”
He is survived by his four grown children, Christie, who has served as CEO of Playboy Enterprise for more than 20 years, David, Marston and Cooper.
Cooper Hefner, who currently serves as Chief Creative Officer at the company, has made a statement saying, “My father lived an 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.”
Hefner had many critics, notably Gloria Steinem, who in 1963 wrote a highly negative article after going undercover as a “Bunny” waitress at one of the Playboy nightclubs. The fortunes of the magazine waned during the mid-’80s when it was attacked by a coalition of feminists and the Christian right. But, Hefner remained an iconic figure and acquired new fans in 2005 with the debut of the E! series The Girls Next Door, which starred his three girlfriends Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt, and Kendra Wilkinson.
Earlier this year, his life was chronicled in an Amazon docuseries, American Playboy.
Even in death, Hefner will not be lacking in female company. He long ago purchased the burial plot next to Marilyn Monroe at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
Hefner was a longtime supporter of causes including First Amendment rights; he donated money toward the restoration of the Hollywood sign and to USC’s film school and at times supported the Democratic Party. He formed the Playboy Foundation in 1965 to fight censorship and support research into sexuality.