Play­boy founder Hugh Hefner dies at 91

‘Prophet of pop he­do­nism’ passes away in man­sion from nat­u­ral causes

Global Times - - World -

Play­boy founder Hugh Hefner, who helped usher in the 1960s sex­ual rev­o­lu­tion with his ground­break­ing men’s mag­a­zine and built a busi­ness em­pire around his lib­er­tine life­style, died on Wed­nes­day at the age of 91, Play­boy En­ter­prises said.

Hefner, once called the “prophet of pop he­do­nism” by Time mag­a­zine, peace­fully passed away at his home, Play­boy En­ter­prises said in a state­ment.

Hefner was some­times char­ac­ter­ized as an over­sexed Peter Pan as he kept a harem of young blondes that num­bered as many as seven at his leg­endary Play­boy Man­sion. This was chron­i­cled in The Girls Next Door, a TV re­al­ity show that aired from 2005 through 2010. He said that thanks to the im­po­tency-fighting drug Vi­a­gra he con­tin­ued ex­er­ciz­ing his li­bido into his 80s.

“I’m never go­ing to grow up,” Hefner said in a CNN in­ter­view when he was 82. “Stay­ing young is what it is all about for me. Hold­ing on to the boy and long ago I de­cided that age re­ally didn’t mat­ter and as long as the ladies ... feel the same way, that’s fine with me.”

Hefner set­tled down some­what in 2012 at age 86 when he took Crys­tal Har­ris, who was 60 years younger, as his third wife.

He said his swing­ing life­style might have been a re­ac­tion to grow­ing up in a re­pressed fam­ily where af­fec­tion was rarely ex­hib­ited.

His so-called stunted child­hood led to a multi-mil­lion-dol­lar en­ter­prise that cen­tered on naked women but also es­poused Hefner’s “Play­boy phi­los­o­phy” based on ro­mance, style and the cast­ing off of main­stream mores.

That phi­los­o­phy came to life at the leg­endary par­ties in his man­sions - first in his na­tive Chicago, then in Los An­ge­les’ ex­clu­sive Holmby Hills neigh­bor­hood – where le­gions of male celebri­ties swarmed to min­gle with beau­ti­ful young women.

Long be­fore the In­ter­net made nu­dity ubiq­ui­tous, Hefner faced ob­scen­ity charges in 1963 for pub­lish­ing and cir­cu­lat­ing pho­tos of dis­robed celebri­ties and as­pir­ing stars but he was ac­quit­ted.

Hefner cre­ated Play­boy as the first stylish glossy men’s mag­a­zine and in ad­di­tion to nude fold-outs, it had in­tel­lec­tual ap­peal with top writ­ers such as Kurt Von­negut, Joyce Carol Oates, Vladimir Nabokov, James Bald­win and Alex Ha­ley for men who liked to say they did not buy the mag­a­zine just for the pic­tures.

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