HUGH HEFNER Biography - People in the News and Media


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Name: Hugh Hefner                                                                       
Born: 9 April 1926 Chicago, Illinois                                                   
Hugh Marston Hefner (born April 9, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois), also referred to         
colloquially as Hef, is the founder, majority owner, editor-in-chief, and               
Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises.                                         
Hefner 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                 
Hefner married fellow Northwestern student Mildred Williams on June 25, 1949,           
and had two children, Christie and David Paul (b. 30 August 1955). Christie is         
Chairperson of Playboy Enterprises. Mildred and Hugh divorced after ten years of       
marriage in 1959.                                                                       
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 ("Not         
because she believed in the venture," he told E! in 2006, "but because she             
believed in her son") -- to launch Playboy.                                             
Before their wedding, Mildred told Hefner that she had had an affair; he has           
called the admission "the most devastating moment of [his] life." A 2006 E! THS         
profile of Hefner revealed she allowed him to have sex with other women, out of         
guilt for her infidelity and the hopes that it would preserve their failing             
After his first marriage, Hefner's self-promoted public persona became that of         
womanizer and party animal. He has said that during some years, he was "'involved'     
with maybe eleven out of twelve months worth of Playmates." Hefner has had             
sustained relationships with Donna Michelle, Marilyn Cole, Lillian Muller, Patti       
McGuire, Shannon Tweed, and Brande Roderick, all of whom were chosen "Playmate         
of the Year." Others include Barbi Benton, Karen Christy, ex-Sunday school             
teacher Sondra Theodore, and actress Carrie Leigh, who filed a $35 million             
alimony suit against him. Benton, who dated him for 8 years, remains a fixture         
in Hefner's life and a regular visitor to the Playboy Mansion, which she found         
for him. In 1971, Hefner has acknowledged, he experimented in bisexuality.             
On July 1, 1989, he ended a 30-year run as a bachelor and married Kimberley             
Conrad, that year's Playboy Playmate of the Year. They separated in 1999, though       
have yet to divorce.                                                                   
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.                 
After his separation from Conrad, Hefner began living with an ever-changing             
coterie of women, ranging in age from 18 to 28. He told Vanity Fair: "And here's       
the surprise bit it's what they want!" Soon, Hefner assembled another coterie of       
girlfriends, notably Brande Roderick. In 2000 she left to take a role in popular       
series Baywatch. Later, Tina Marie Jordan became Hefner's "primary" girlfriend,         
and he quickly selected more young blondes for a changing posse of usually seven,       
one of whom was Holly Madison who joined in 2001. Shortly after Playboy's 50th         
anniversary, five of the girlfriends, including Izabella St. James, left,               
leaving Holly and Bridget Marquardt to tend to Hefner.                                 
Hefner celebrating his 80th birthday with Kendra and Bridget in Munich, April           
In 2004 Kendra Wilkinson (also blonde, aged 18) was asked to move into the             
Mansion to become girlfriend number 3. The 2005-07 E! reality television series         
The Girls Next Door follows these three girlfriends, Holly Madison, Bridget             
Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson in their life with Hef around the Mansion and on         
An urban legend persists about Hefner and the Playmate of the Month related to         
markings on the front covers of the magazine. From 1955 to 1979 (except for a           
six month gap in 1976), the "P" in Playboy had a number of stars printed in or         
around the letter. The legend claims that this was either a rating that Hefner         
gave to the Playmate according to how attractive she was, the number of times           
that Hefner had slept with her, or how good she was in bed. Another rumor was           
that if the stars were inside the "P", Hefner had slept with the Playmate, while       
if they were outside, he didn't sleep with her. In reality, the stars, which           
ranged in number between zero and twelve, were solely used to indicate the             
domestic or international advertising region for that particular printing.             
Hefner has donated millions of dollars to the University of Southern California's       
School of Cinematic Arts. In 1992, he gave USC $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.