Hugh Hefner, the 91-year-old founder of Playboy, whose empire started with the first-ever issue of Playboy magazine that featured Marilyn Monroe, passed away peacefully today at The Playboy Mansion surrounded by family and loved ones.
According to the press release, after Hefner had worked for a number of years in the publishing industry, he became convinced that there was a market for an upscale men’s magazine.
The magazine debuted in December 1953.
Surrounded by numerous female lived-in companions, Hefner’s life was never a dull moment and often divided opinion. He claimed to have slept with over 1,000 women.
Despite the infamous reputation due his hedonistic way, Hefner profoundly changed our society.
“He was perhaps the greatest counter to the Puritan ethic we’ve ever seen,” Garth Jowett, a professor of communications at the University of Houston, said in a 2003 interview in the Houston Chronicle, according to Bloomberg. “One of the greatest social forces in the 20th century in the United States was Playboy magazine.”
Loyola University Chicago associate history professor Elizabeth Fraterrigo who penned the book, Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in Modern America, says, “Playboy’s success helped open the floodgates to a sex-saturated media, popular culture, and pornography. Playboy served as an important force in the ascendance of a post-war consumer ethic.”
Below are 10 quotes by Hefner who offered glimpses into his interesting life, as well as his opinions on religions and societal values.
On his life
“For me, the magazine was always the heart of what my life was all about, and the other half was living the life.”
“Unlike the public perception, I do have quiet time; in other words, it’s not always party time. I am at heart a journalist and an editor, so of course I spend time alone reading, writing and editing.”
“To begin with, I fought racism, then sexism, now I’m fighting ageism. One defines oneself in one’s own terms. If you let society and your peers define who you are, you’re the less for it.”
“If you let society and your peers define who you are, you’re the less for it.”
“Part of the sexual revolution is bringing rationality to sexuality because when you don’t embrace sexuality in a normal way, you get the twisted kinds, and the kinds that destroy lives.”
“I’ve never thought of Playboy, quite frankly, as a sex magazine. I always thought of it as a lifestyle magazine in which sex was one important ingredient.”
“I was raised in a truly typical Midwestern home with a lot of repression. My life, and the creation of Playboy, were a response to that repression.”
“Playboy, very clearly, from the outset, has fought against the historical repression of women. The notion that we were anywhere else simply defies the reality.”
“If it was wrong to persecute heterosexuals in a homosexual society, then the reverse was wrong too.”
On personal values
“It’s good to be selfish. But not so self-centred that you never listen to other people.”