Hugh Hefner the Visionary, Legend and Controversy

Hugh Hefner died this week at age 91. He is said to have peacefully passed away at the Playboy mansion. He is famed for his creation of Playboy Magazine and his infamous Playboy Mansion echoed by the epic parties that go on inside the mansion. Let’s be honest, for most of us hearing the name Hugh Hefner produces a memory visualizing a white man in a robe surrounded by young blonde, beautiful, and often naked, women.

Over the years, the influx of reality TV created a platform for viewers to take a peek into the lives of the rich and famous. The reality TV show “The Girls Next Door” debuted in 2005 allowing viewers into the lives of playmates Kendra Wilkinson, Holly Madison, and Bridget Marquardt. Many of you may be very familiar with Kendra Wilkinson, as the show launched her career in reality TV. The show gave a behind the scenes look at being a playmate and the Playboy lifestyle.

But, there is a side of Hugh Hefner seldom acknowledged, and it’s the true legendary side of how Playboy launched a cultural revolution and legacy in the 1950’s. Here is a list of must-knows about Playboy Magazine and the man behind the centerfold.

Playboy Magazine began on a kitchen table in Chicago, Illinois.

Hugh Hefner started his career as a cartoonist for Esquire magazine.

Yes, Hugh Hefner worked for Esquire as a cartoonist and when he was turned down for a $5 raise, he gathered $8000 from 50 investors.



The first Playboy magazine featured Marilyn Monroe and sold out in days.  A nude picture of Marilyn Monroe before she became famous was purchased by Hugh from a Chicago calendar company for $500.



The articles in the magazine featured controversial fiction.

Hugh was a proponent of free speech, and he proved this through his editorial style in Playboy. He published Charles Beaumont’s “The Crooked Man,” a controversial story where heterosexual men are persecuted and homosexuality ruled as the majority population

Hugh Hefner created Playboy clubs in Chicago.

Hugh’s Playboy clubs featured controversial guests such as Bill Cosby and Dick Gregory, at the time clubs were still segregated

These are just a few stories from Hugh Hefner’s life that exemplify the real controversy behind his start in the spotlight. He will live on as a man who pushed the envelope on society’s views and our ability to as human to find our freedom of expression.