Playboy magazine founder Hugh M Hefner passed away at the age of 91 on Thursday morning. According to a report by Associated Press, Hefner died due to natural causes at his home surrounded by family on Wednesday night. Hefner is known as the man behind the sexual revolution during the 1950s. He built a multimedia empire of clubs, mansions, movies and television, symbolised by bow-tied women in bunny costumes. His magazine featured mostly nudity. Hefner helped the term ‘sex’ to get out of people’s bedroom and be a part of the mainstream conversation. In case you don’t know who was Hugh Hefner? Here are 5 interesting facts to know about the Playboy founder:
1. In 1953, when states had the power to legally ban contraceptives, word ‘pregnant’ was not allowed on ‘I Love Lucy’, Hefner published the first issue of Playboy, featuring naked photos of Marilyn Monroe (taken years earlier) and an editorial promise of ‘humor, sophistication and spice’.
2. Since America was recovering from World II and The Great Depression, Playboy immediately found a place in people’s heart. It emerged as forbidden fruit for teenagers and a sort of a bible for men with time and money, primed for the magazine’s prescribed evenings of dimmed lights, hard drinks, soft jazz, deep thoughts and deeper desires, as per AP.
3. Playboy became an instant hit and within a year, circulation neared 200,000. In the next five years, it had topped 1 million.
4. By the time 1970s arrived, the magazine had more than 7 million readers and had inspired such raunchier imitations as Penthouse and Hustler. But competition and the internet reduced circulation to less than 3 million by the 21st century, and the number of issues published annually was cut from 12 to 11.
5. Hefner was running Playboy from his mansions, first in Chicago and then in Los Angeles, and became the flamboyant symbol of the lifestyle he espoused. He once even admitted that he had sex with more than a thousand women, including many pictured in his magazine.
Asked by The New York Times in 1992 of what he was proudest, Hefner responded: “That I changed attitudes toward sex. That nice people can live together now. That I decontaminated the notion of premarital sex. That gives me great satisfaction.”