Hefner, Hugh

Hefner, Hugh (Marston)

(1926–  ) publisher, entrepreneur; born in Chicago. Brought up by straitlaced parents, he did postgraduate work in psychology and, after working at Esquire magazine, gathered $10,000 capital to found Playboy (1953), a sophisticated erotic magazine for men that offered articles of high standards, along with advice on sexual problems, men's talk, and a nude "Playmate of the Month" centerfold. With a boost from the sexual revolution, Playboy flourished, enabling Hefner to live a playboy-style life in an opulent Chicago mansion; later he transferred his hedonistic menage to Los Angeles. He also founded a chain of restaurant-nightclubs featuring scantily uniformed Playboy "bunnies" as waitresses. By the mid-1980s his clubs and publishing empire began to decline, and when he finally married a former "playmate" in 1989, it appeared the Hefner revolution had ended.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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