Hugh Hefner grew up in what he described as a “conservative, midwestern and Methodist” family. At a young age already his mom wanted him to become a missionary and some would argue that in a way he did.
Hefner studied Psychology with a minor focus in creative writing and art. He then started working at Esquire and when he was denied a raise decided to give his own magazine a go. Hefner managed to raise money from a number of people (45) and even had the bravado to ask his mom, who wanted him to be a missionary, for a loan and she ended up being one of his biggest contributors! Soon after this he became well known as ‘Hef’. Playboy narrowly missed being called Stag Party and in December 1953 released their first issue featuring Marilyn Monroe.
He was outspoken about sexual liberation and freedom of expression – and other First Amendment rights. His passion extended to politics, animal rescue and the restoration of the Hollywood sign.
Playboy didn’t only feature nude models but, owing to Hef’s activist and rebel personality, also featured other controversial topics such as ‘The Crooked Man’ by Charles Beaumont and the ‘playboy interviews’ feature with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
The Hef lived a full 91 years and surely left his mark on time.