Hugh Hefner, the iconic founder of Playboy magazine, has died aged 91, Playboy Enterprises has said.
Playboy Magazine was founded by Hefner more than 60 years ago as an upscale men’s magazine, combining images of nude women with in-depth articles, literature and interviews.
“Hugh M. Hefner, the American icon who in 1953 introduced the world to Playboy magazine and built the company into one of the most recognisable American global brands in history, peacefully passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones,” Playboy confirmed in a statement. “He was 91 years old.”
Hefner, often referred to as “Hef,” passed away at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and two Playboy bunnies attend the 2011 opening of the Playboy Club in central London (Getty)
Hugh Marston Hefner was born on 9 April , 1926, to strict Methodist parents. The eldest of two brothers, he served two years in the Army during World War II before finding a job at Esquire as a copywriter.
By 1953 he had saved $8,000 – enough to put the first issue of Playboy together. It hit newsstands in December that year and included an old nude photo of Marilyn Monroe, which Hefner had purchased to add some “oomph” to the centrefold.. The issue sold more than 50,000 copies.
The nude images of women would be placed alongside in-depth interviews with high profile actors, artists and politicians.
Most iconic Playboy covers
Martin Luther King Jr. sat down with the magazine in 1965; Hunter S. Thompson published his famous piece “The Great Shark Hunt” in 1974’s, and writers such as Jack Kerouac, Vladimir Nabokov and Margaret Atwood saw some of their short fiction featured in its pages.
Hefner made several cameos in film and TV, including Sex and the City, and The House Bunny starring Anna Faris as a former Playboy Bunny who suddenly finds herself homeless.
“Much of my life has been like an…