Playboy’s Hefner Goes Onto His Just Reward
Hugh Hefner, the founder of the Playboy Magazine empire, died from natural causes at age 91.
The flamboyant magazine magnate had been in ill health for the past several years.
What can one say about this guy that hasn’t already been said?
He took an idea–to meld the emerging sexuality of the 1950s with his experience working for Esquire magazine–and created Playboy magazine, and in the process, he developed a culture, one for men that craved the American dream, which included having a gorgeous woman on each arm.
He was as sexist as could be, but he was also a feminist in a way, seeing the vision that women could be both sex objects and firebrands of change, all at the same time. Heck, he stepped aside in the late 1970s and 1980s and made his daughter the empire’s leader, and by doing that, he was really a leader of change in not only his empire, but in the country.
He made the Playboy trademark–the one with the rabbit ears–one of the most visible logos and trademarks in the world, one that, as years went by, became even more valuable than the magazine that brought this trademark to the public’s eye.
He made sex magazines almost mainstream, taking a genre that had been around for decades before–mainly featuring prostitutes, low quality photography, and virtually no copy–into the domain of high quality from everything to the photography to the text to yes, even the women highlighted in the ubiquitous centerfolds, that now total in the many hundreds over the past 60 years.
He catapulted Marilyn Monroe to stardom, he helped Russ Meyer get a foothold on his moviemaking, he made Pamela Anderson a star.
He was a svengali, he was a genius, he was a pariah.
He was a cad, he was a pervert, he was an ogler.
One thing that Hefner was not was a phony.
He wore his heart on his sleeve as much as anyone did or could, and he stuck by his guns throughout his entire career.
In recent years, as age had sapped him of much of his zip, he became sort of a parody of himself, with a girl on each arm–girls that were young enough to be his great granddaughters–and he wore a nice little sailor hat.
He looked like the “dirty uncle” that many people thought he was when he was younger.
One wonders if he really knew what was going on with his publication, when it went from nudity to no nudity and then back again.
Subscriptions and newsstand purchases had fallen, one of his sons was in a power struggle to gain control of the publication back to the Hefner family, and Hugh–or at least his representatives–put the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles up for sale, with the caveat that even if it was to be sold, Hefner could live out his days there.
Some people will shrug their shoulders when they hear the news that he passed away.
Some people will think that he was already gone.
Others will mourn his passing as if somebody from their own family left this earth.
But with the passing of Hugh Hefner, a real game changer has gone onto his just reward.
Whether that reward lies in heaven or hell is up for debate, but at least most people would agree that Hugh Hefner changed our world.
He will be missed.