Hugh Hefner is a playboy— actually, he is THE original Playboy. As most people know, Hugh Hefner or 'Hef' as he is affectionately known, is famous for starting the world-renowned Playboy Magazine, as well as Playboy Clubs, and owner of the Playboy Mansion.
Born in Illinois on April 9, 1926, Hugh Marston Hefner transcended his modest Midwestern beginnings and became one of the most famous magazine editors in the world through his founding of Playboy Magazine in 1953. Hugh Hefner transformed the adult entertainment industry with his innovative publication that featured nude women, as monthly "Playmates" who created the concept of a centerfold, jokes, and articles that all could enjoy.
While most people know Hef as a womanizing ladies’ man, who frequently had numerous girlfriends living together at the Playboy Mansion at one time, there is much more to him than meets the eye. Here are 12 fascinating secrets you probably never knew about the original Playboy, Hugh Hefner.
12 Hef Served in the US Army
11 He Has Been Married 3 Times
HMH (Hugh Marston Hefner) has been married three times; in 1949, in 1989 and finally in 2012. He married Northwestern University student Mildred Williams, and divorced 10 years later in 1959. Hef married his 2nd wife, Kimberly Conrad, in 1989, and separated from her in 1998, but remained married to her for another 10 years.
10 Hef Eats All of His Meals in Bed
It is probably a surprise to hear that the Playboy Mansion has a full-service, 24-hour, gourmet kitchen that costs about $1.2 million per year. Despite having the best food in the world available at his fingertips, Hef prefers canned peas, Lipton soup, and oatmeal cookies— all served to him on a tray in bed.
9 Hef Has Four Children
Hugh Hefner has four children from his first two marriages. With his first wife Mildred, he had two children—daughter Christie Hefner in 1952 and son David in 1955. Christie eventually took over for her father as CEO of Playboy Enterprises.
8 Hugh Hefner Does Not Own The Playboy Mansion
Hugh Hefner acquired the now-infamous Playboy Mansion for $1.1 million in 1971, but it is now currently owned by Playboy Enterprises, not Hefner himself. Not only has the mansion home to Hefner, his wife, children and various girlfriends throughout the years, it is also used for various corporate activities and serves as a valuable location for television production, magazine photography and for online, advertising and sales events.
7 He is An Avid Scrapbooker
Hefner has over 18,000 scrapbooks detailing nearly everything that has happened to him over the past 70 years, including photographs of every person who has ever visited the Playboy Mansion, been in Playboy Magazine, and every event of Hef's life.
6 Hefner was a Civil Rights Activist
Despite being born in a time when racism and prejudice was rampant, Hefner never was exposed to that way of thinking. “No question it came from my folks. The reality is you have to be taught into being a prejudice person. And I wasn’t,” he said.
According to an interview with CBS Los Angeles, “Playboy was the first mainstream club, non-black club that actually put on stage black comedians,” Hefner said. “Even in Las Vegas Black performers that performed on, including Sammy Davis, who was a very close friend of mine, would appear on stage, but they couldn’t walk through the casino. They had to walk through the back entrance.”
5 Hef Bought the Burial Plot Next to Marilyn Monroe
Did you know that Hefner is obsessed with Marilyn Monroe? Well he is! Monroe was featured on the first cover of Playboy Magazine in 1953, when Hefner purchased photos of the blonde bombshell.
4 Hefner Has a Zoo at the Playboy Mansion
3 Hefner Owns Part of the Famous Hollywood Sign
In 1978, the Hollywood sign was infested with termites and on the verge of totally collapsing. Cue Hugh Hefner, who stepped up and threw a fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion to raise funds for the rebuilding costs.
2 Hugh Hefner Owns Over 4,000 Movies
Hefner is a huge movie buff, even producing some of his own films when he was a teenager and young man. Due to this love of theater, he owns over 4,000 movies, and shows them at the mansion all the time.
There are three official movie nights at the Playboy Mansion: Friday nights are for classic films, Sundays for new releases, and Wednesday nights for films chosen by popular demand. During movie nights, guests are invited for a buffet dinner from the gourmet kitchen, drinks and free movies, with notes and commentary written by Hugh Hefner himself.
1 There is a Species of Rabbit Named After Hugh Hefner
Hugh Marston Hefner, creator of the Playboy Bunny, has an actual species of rabbit named after him.
Sylvilagus palustris hefneri has the common name Lower Keys marsh rabbit, is an endangered subspecies of marsh rabbit. It was officially entered onto the endangered species list in 1990, only 6 years after being named after Hefner. These rabbits are small and short with dark brown fur and a greyish-white belly, and their tails are dark brown. How cute!
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