One of the most influential individuals in recent history, Hugh Hefner, passed away last week. His legacy is forever changing the way we view sex. Since his death, a lot of interesting facts have surfaced about his life. For example, he put a black woman on the cover of his magazine, supporting Civil Rights Movement long before Vogue did it. He was also a huge supporter of the Rational Sex and Drug and Policy program, helping children escape from prostitution. We all remember him as the founder of Playboy magazine. But he was much more. Here are some interesting facts about the founder and editor-in chief of Playboy.
Hefner had many other passions before going into publishing. In fact, psychology was one of his first passions. He earned a bachelor in psychology from the University of Illinois in 1949. His minors were creative writing and art. You can say his minors became his major subjects later in his life.
And he was incredibly smart and intelligent. According to a post by the Washington Post, Hefner had an IQ of 152 during his time at high school.
In 1978, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce decided that the Hollywood sign needs rebuilding. Hefner stepped in an organized a fund raising gala at the Playboy Mansion. Each letter at the gala was auctioned at $27,700. In 2010, he stopped an investment group demolishing the sign to make way for four lavish homes. Hefner donated a portion of the money the group wanted for the land.
With that in mind, you can he helped the Hollywood sign two times in his life.
Many believe that Hefner was the owner of the Playboy mansion. But that wasn’t true. He lived there under strange arrangements. The mansion technically belonged to the Playboy Enterprise. The company leased the Mansion to Hef for $100 per year. When a real-estate investor bought the mansion in 2016, Hefner didn’t want to move. Instead, he opted to pay $1 million per year as rent.
Hugh once said that once he got to the Playboy mansion for the first time, he didn’t leave the property for months, not even for shopping.
During World War II, Hefner was part of the US Army. He served as an infantry clerk in 1944. He began illustrating for the army newspaper. Hefner was honorably discharged in 1946.
As for his cartoons, his colleague and future Popeye cartoonist, Hy Eisman, suggested Hef should look for other jobs after the war.
Hefner was an old school guy. He waited for marriage before having sex. He told the Daily Mail that he saved himself for his wife. Problem is, after they had sex, when he was 22, his first wife revealed that she had cheated on him before the wedding. She cheated while he was in the army. Hefner and Mildred Williams stayed together for 10 years, and had two children.
Regarding the affair, Hefner said “That was the most devastating in my life”.
Before founding the Playboy magazine, Hefner worked for other publishing houses. In 1951, he worked as a copywriter for Esquire magazine. He quit in 1952, after the magazine denied him a $5 raise. He took few other jobs in journalism and publishing industries before starting Playboy in 1953.
Many know the legend of the first Playboy issue. Hefner created the issue at his kitchen table. It was a humble beginning for one of the most successful magazines in history. Playboy now sells in 20 countries worldwide. The beginning dates back to 1953 on Hefner’s kitchen table in his South Side Chicago apartment.
The entire staff was at the table, which was basically his typewriter and him. The issue famously featured Marilyn Monroe. There was no date on the cover, as Hefner didn’t know if there would be a second issue.
Hefner holds two Guinness World Records. The first one is for the longest tenured editor-in chief of a magazine. The second is a bit more interesting.
In 2011, Hefner entered Guinness as the owner of the largest personal scrapbook collection. He collected photos from his time working on the Playboy magazine and with friends at the mansion. He has almost 2,400 volume of scrapbooks. Hefner said “It was probably just a way of creating a world of my own to share with my friends”.
When Hefner created the magazine, his original idea was to call it Stag Party. However, he couldn’t due to copyright problems. There was already a men’s magazine called Stag.
Despite being known as one of the biggest playboys, Hefner was actually hurt his marriage ended. After the end of his first marriage at the beginning of the 60s, the Playboy owner experimented with other things. Among them, he tried bisexuality. He admitted in 1971 he had a bisexual experience in that period. At the time, bisexuality and homosexuality were ground breaking admissions.
The Lower Keys rabbit had been endangered since 1991. This rabbit is native to Florida. The research of the species was funded by the Playboy Corporation. As a result, the breed of the rabbit in Latin is a tribute to Hefner. The Latin name reads Sylvilagus palustris hefneri.
It is only fitting that Hefner and Monroe will be one beside another. Monroe helped him launch the Empire. Hefner purchased the crypt alongside the actress in 1992 for $75,000. There are some of his friends buried in the crypt, like jazz musician Buddy Rich and Canadian Playboy Playmate, Dorothy Stratten.
At the time he purchased the crypt, Jay Leno suggested “if he was going to spend that kind of money, he should actually be on top of her”. For Hefner, however, being alongside Monroe is poetic.