The man responsible for publishing the most iconic adult magazine in history began his career as a copywriter for Esquire in 1952. Over 60 years later, the ambitious psychology apprentice is one of the world’s most revered businessmen, editors, and entrepreneurs, with a net worth of $43 million. Hugh Hefner not only developed an empire based on Playboy enterprises, but was also responsible for launching and establishing the careers of an abundance of women along the way. From actresses to models and legendary icons, we’re listing 10 women Hugh Hefner made famous.
10 Lisa Dergan
Lisa Dergan gained notoriety in the late 90’s after becoming Playboy’s 1998 Playmate. While Maxim Magazine labeled her a woman who knows ‘what men want’, Stuff Magazine crowned her NFL's Sexiest Sportcaster in 2003. After being discovered by Hugh Hefner, the statuesque blonde went on to become an actress, media personality, and sportscaster. The model, who believes golf is a great metaphor for sex, began her ‘on air’ career in 2001 after receiving an opportunity to work on a weekend sports show in Los Angeles, and later joined FOX Sports Net in 2002. Dergan has also co-hosted Smush alongside Ken Ober, as well as The Race to the Altar with Colin Cowie. Her list of interviewees include Tiger Woods, John Elway, and Chuck Liddell. Dergan’s list of achievements also includes acting credits as she co-starred in the film The Arena.
9 Victoria Silvstedt
The former Miss Sweeden, and fashion model was discovered by Hugh Hefner in the mid 90’s and became Playmate of the month in 1996 and later Playmate of the year in 1996. Silvstedt’s career continued to soar throughout the late 90’s and 2000’s when she landed an international campaign for the American mega retailer Guess. She later went into acting and was featured in American series such as Hollywood CA and Melrose Place, as well as several comedic feature films in the US and Europe. Silvstedt continued to make her mark as a television persona hosting series Candid Camera, Eurotrash, and Wild On! The Swedish model, turned multi faceted entertainer, has also tried her luck in the design world, reality TV, singing and writing, and has graced over 500 magazine covers since the start of her career.
8 Donna D’Errico
The 90’s featured a number of successful television programs but none was more revered than the drama featuring the most famous swimsuit in televised history. If you were lucky enough to land a role on Baywatch, fame was luring around the corner. In Donna D’Errico’s case, her 1995 September Playboy Playmate spread opened the doors to an array of opportunities including a starring role on Baywatch. D’Errico went on to partake in roles in several American television series and feature films. Today, D’Errico has spoken openly about her faith in Christianity while asserting that she is a different person than the one from her past.
7 Angel Porrino
Virtually unknown before becoming the bestie of The Girls Next Door star, Holly Madison, Angel Porrino is now one of the stars of the Las Vegas show Absinthe. The ambitious blonde was introduced to America on the reality show when she moved to Los Angeles to test shoot for a Playboy Playmate. Although she didn’t make the elite list of Playmates, she did move into the ‘bunny house’ and become a part of the show. Porrino later landed a lead role on the spin-off Holly’s World, featuring the life of Holly Madison focusing around her lead in the Las Vegas Peep Show.
6 Crystal Hefner
She may be this decade’s runaway bride, but Crystal Hefner eventually found her way to the altar, and back into the arms of Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner. The psychology student turned model and Playboy Playmate began her Playboy career on Playboy.com as Crystal Carter, and was later featured on one of the seasons of The Girls Next Door. The current Mrs. Hefner was portrayed on the cover of July’s 2009 issue, as well as in a spread promoting her upcoming nuptials. Mrs. Hefner has since been signed to Organica Music, a division of Universal Music and has released several singles under the name Crystal Hefner.
5 Bridget Marquardt
Although never making the Playboy Playmate cut, Bridget Marquardt was extended an invitation to join the Playboy mansion and become one of Hefner’s girlfriends in 2002. An aspiring model and actress, Marquardt was offered several opportunities after joining The Girls Next Door. She has appeared in several films and television series as well as featured in several nude Playboy spreads with her Girls Next Door costars. After The Girls Next Door final season aired, Marquardt shot a pilot about her own life in hopes it would be picked up by E! Although the spin-off never happened, Marquardt is confident other opportunities will arise from it and currently works as a writer and producer for Yahoo’s Animal Nations Series.
4 Kendra Wilkinson
Perhaps the most notorious Girls Next Door, Kendra Wilkinson joined the Playboy mansion after Hugh Hefner saw a photo of her in body paint on a fax machine. Prior to being discovered by Hefner, Wilkinson worked as a glamour model and administrative assistant. The youngest and most rowdy of the trio, Kendra was also never a playmate but participated in three nude pictorials with her co-stars. She made several cameo appearances in a variety of television series and music videos and also appeared in the 2006 Special Playboy Edition, Sexy 100. Wilkinson went on to have her own spinoff reality show, Kendra, and later Kendra on Top, featuring her new life with husband Hank Baskett.
3 Holly Madison
When Hugh Hefner had seven live-in girlfriends, she was known as Hef’s #1. Before being invited to move into the Playboy mansion, Madison worked as a Hawaiian Tropic model, and Hooter’s girl, even being named 2008’s top Hooter’s girl of all time. After joining The Girls Next Door, Madison worked as an intern and junior photo editor assisting the production of the Playboy spreads. Once the reality series was complete, Madison was featured on Dancing with the Stars, Las Vegas’ burlesque show the Peep Show, and her own reality show, Holly’s World which aired for two seasons. The actress, model and entertainer is said to have a net worth of $6 million.
2 Pamela Anderson
1 Marilyn Monroe
There is no woman more worthy of top honors than Marilyn Monroe. She is the blonde that started it all, gracing the cover of the very first Playboy magazine in 1953, and she is the woman that tops our list. The iconic cover featuring Marilyn Monroe was created by Hugh Hefner in the kitchen of his Chicago apartment, and sold more than 51,000 copies at just 50 cents a piece. Monroe went on to become an iconic actress, singer, model, and international sex symbol throughout the 1950’s and 60’s. While her life and death will always be a subject of intrigue, her image, memory and legacy is still emulated today, her clothing and personal belongings still sought after.