10 Playmates Who Died Tragically Young

Hugh Hefner created Playboy magazine in Chicago, back in 1953. Its first issue, which featured centrefold Marilyn Monroe who was then relatively unknown, sold out in weeks. By 1974, over one-quarter o

Hugh Hefner created Playboy magazine in Chicago, back in 1953. Its first issue, which featured centrefold Marilyn Monroe who was then relatively unknown, sold out in weeks. By 1974, over one-quarter of college-aged men in America subscribed to the monthly magazine and its continued success was undeniable. The brand has gone on to become one of the most recognizable names in the world, but due to its provocative nature and the lifestyle it is said to promote, it is regularly shrouded in controversy and criticism.

Playboy Magazine stood out from other publications of its time thanks to the fearless manner in which it tackled topics most of the public thought to be taboo, especially discussed in print. The topics, like sex and sexuality, along the liberal stance Playboy took on them, and the nude pictures it features, have secured Playboy's largely contentious reputation.

The Playboy Playmates and the Playboy Mansion have become as infamous as the magazine itself. The Playmates are those women featured in the centrefold of the magazine, and are named "Playmate of the Month." It's a title that comes with many perks - financial and otherwise. Hugh Hefner insists, "Once a Playmate, always a Playmate," although most Playmates are generally only Playmate of the Month just once. Many of these Playmates live in and party at Hefner's Beverly Hills home, aptly named the "Playboy Mansion." In 2011, the home was valued at $54 million. Wildly extravagant parties and escapades involving Playmates, celebrities, and high rollers are a regular occasion at the mansion.

As lavish as the parties and the mansion are, it isn't always glitz and glamor when it comes to the lives of the Playboy Playmates. Many Playmates have shared their struggles with drug and alcohol abuse, and other dangerous behaviors, with the rest of the world. Some of these Playmates eventually succumb to their habits and lose their lives at a tragically young age. Others have lost their lives to horrific automobile accidents, or to domestic violence. No matter the cause, these ten Playmates were gone far too soon.

10 Debbie Boostrom


9 Tonya Crews


8 Eve Meyer

7 Claudia Jennings

6 Dorothy Stratten

5 Star Stowe

4 Elisa Bridges


3 Jayne Mansfield

2 Anna Nicole Smith

1 Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe has become one of the most iconic figures - literally - in history since she first rose to fame in the 1950s. She was born in Los Angeles in 1926 with the name Norma Jeane Mortenson, but in 1950 she legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. She was featured on the cover of the first ever Playboy magazine in December 1953. At this time, what we now know as the Playmate of the Month was called the Sweetheart of the Month.

Although the media characterized her as ditzy, there is record of her making several statements that were reflective of her deeper wisdom. Monroe had a series of dramatic relationships, unsuccessful films, and harsh reviews which caused her great distress in the 1960s. She became increasingly dependent on alcohol and prescription medication which had a horrible impact on her health. She was admitted to a psychiatric clinic and underwent two surgeries in 1961, and those who worked with her claimed she became increasingly difficult to work with, and that performing caused her great anxiety. Ultimately, Monroe lost her battle to her demons and on August 5, 1962 when her psychiatrist called the LAPD and reported that he had found her dead in her Brentwood home. The coroner ruled her death was caused by "acute barbiturate poisoning" and that it was a "possible suicide." To this day, there are several conspiracy theories regarding the circumstances of her death. Monroe was interred in a crypt in Hollywood, and her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is one of the most popular for tourists to visit.


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10 Playmates Who Died Tragically Young