Monday, July 28, 2008

Hugh Hefner

Hugh Marston Hefner is an American magazine publisher best known as the Editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine, and founder and Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises.

Hefner was born in Chicago, the son of Grace Caroline and Glenn Lucius Hefner. He went to Sayre Elementary School and Steinmetz High School in Chicago, then served in the U.S. Army during the closing months of World War II.

Hefner graduated from the University of Illinois in 1949 with a major in psychology and a double minor in creative writing and art. He explains that some of the ideas for the Playboy magazine came to him while he was a student there. Despite spending less than three years in college before graduating, Hefner found time to edit the magazine Shaft and sold cartoons to magazines. His first salaried job was with a firm that produced and printed cardboard cartons. In 1949 Hefner also completed a semester of graduate courses in sociology studies at Northwestern University, where he wrote a term paper examining U.S. sex laws in light of the newly published Kinsey Institute research on male human sexuality.

After serving in the subscription department and as a copywriter for Esquire, he left in January 1952 after being denied a $5 raise. He worked at Children's Activities, then took his biggest gamble in 1953 by lending his furniture for $600 and raising $8,000 from 45 investors -- including $1,000 from his mother to launch Playboy. The undated first issue was published in December, 1953 and featured Marilyn Monroe on the cover, as well as in nude photographs inside. In a possible homage to this fact, Hefner owns the crypt in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, California, beside that of Monroe.

Hefner married fellow Northwestern student Mildred Williams on June 25, 1949, and had two children, Christie and David Paul. Christie is Chairperson of Playboy Enterprises. Mildred and Hugh divorced after ten years of marriage in 1959.

After his first marriage, Hefner's self-promoted public persona became that of womanizer and party animal.

On July 1, 1989, he ended a 30-year run as a bachelor and married Kimberley Conrad. They separated in 1999, though have yet to divorce.

Hefner has donated millions of dollars to the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. In 1992, he gave USD $100,000 to create a course, Censorship in Cinema; in 1995 he donated $1.5 million to endow the Hugh M. Hefner Chair for the Study of American Film; and in 2007 he donated $2 million for a central exhibition space in the school's new headquarters complex.

Hefner has 4 children: Christie Hefner (born November 8, 1952) and David Hefner (born August 30, 1955) with Mildred Williams, and Marston Hefner (born 9 April 1990) and Cooper Hefner (born 4 September 1991) with Kimberley Conrad.

Hefner has always espoused a shared liberal/libertarian stance in his editorials and in his life. On June 4, 1963, Hefner was arrested for selling obscene literature after an issue of Playboy featuring nude shots of actress Jayne Mansfield was released. Six months later, a jury was unable to reach a verdict.

The Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards were created by daughter Christie in 1979 "to honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for Americans."

Hefner and his family have donated and raised great amounts of money for the Democratic Party.

Hefner suffered a mild stroke in 1985.