When news hit Wednesday, September 27th that Hugh Hefner had passed away due to natural causes, the world mourned. It came as no real shock since he was 91, but it was still unsettling nonetheless.
The general reaction to his passing was sadness followed by respectful goodbyes and appreciation for all that he did. Some though felt like Hef was a despicable piece of human waste and criticized his lifestyle and business.
Hef lived a long, successful, unique and very privileged life. He started the Playboy magazine business that changed the world forever. He cemented the way for other businesses to emerge. There are many things behind closed doors that the general public does not know about Hef. Here’s a list of personal facts that will make you love this playboy.
15. He will be buried next to Marilyn Monroe
Mr. Playboy was not afraid to lay down the big bucks to lay down next to Marilyn Monroe. He was well prepared for his death and bought the plot next to the most famous blonde bombshell of all time. Monroe was the first woman to grace the cover of Playboy — kind of an ode to the magazine and his life.
The plot had a reported price tag of $75,000! He has been quoted saying, “spending eternity next to Marilyn is too sweet to pass up.” Rest in peace you two…
14. He fought against racism
There is no way the Playboy enterprise would be as huge and successful as it is, if it held any type of racist bias. Bunnies of all different races, hair colors and looks have sizzled in the men’s mag throughout the years. Hef was so strongly opposed to racism that he purchased two Playboy Club franchises that refused to admit African-Americans.
“We believe in the acceptance of all persons in all aspects of life on the basis of individual merit, and without any regard to race, color, or religion,” he said once said. Now, THAT is beautiful, sexy and HOT!
13. The Playboy Mansion was a hoot
It was never just a mansion, it was an amusing experience to be allowed behind these gates. Hef was known for his over-the-top parties that were always a blast. He did everything to extremes with different themes and loads of people.
He was able to attain a fireworks license allowing him to blast off the fireworks at parties and holidays, a rare privilege within the city. He also had his own personal zoo filled with exotic animals like peacocks, snakes and — yes of course — many bunnies.
12. Hefner saved the Hollywood sign
When visiting Los Angeles, you’re sure to see an iconic sight: the Hollywood sign. The sign represents hopes and dreams and tinsel town. It has been around forever, featuring in countless TV shows and movies. I
n 2010, Hef donated $900, 000 to restore and rescued the iconic sign. Some developers wanted to buy the land. A conservation group was given the chance to purchase it to preserve it as a historical landmark, but were short a cool $1 million.
After many donations and had a week left until deadline, Hefner stepped in and save the day.
11. IQ of 152
It makes sense that someone who has created such an empire is no idiot. Many business men know exactly what they are doing to rise to the cream of the crop, but Hefner was extra gifted with this. He was a recognized genius with an IQ of 152.
Surprisingly, he did not excel in school. Though, he did undergo testing and the results proved Hef to be a whiz.
He was socially awkward and emotionally immature but very loving at home, reports say. He claimed that his mother always supported him, was proud of him for his accomplishments and would have been proud even if he had chosen to become a missionary instead.
10. He opened his first Playboy Club in Chicago in 1960.
The playboy clubs were a chain of resorts and nightclubs owned by the enterprise. The original one opened in Chicago on February 29th, 1960.
You needed a VIP key to enter, and once you were in, you were treated as such. There were gorgeous women dressed in the bunny outfit serving you. Upon the first month of opening, roughly 17,000 people attended at some point. It later moved locations, eventually closing its doors in 1986.
9. Hiding from public since May 2016
In the past year, Hefner chose to stay less out of the public eye than in the past. He was not very active on social media and didn’t share much about his private life in general. In recent years, his health began to decline due to old age.
Hef did not want it publicly known that he was losing a lot of weight. It was reported that confidentiality agreements needed to be signed before seeing him. In the end, he was still sharp though. His son has spoken out in the past saying he is grateful that it is his physical and not mental health that was at risk.
8. He sold the mansion
There is no question that when this property went up for grabs, everyone wanted a bite. It was eventually sold to the heir of the Hostess Brand, Daren Metropoulos for a whopping $100 million.
They arranged a deal that Hefner would be allowed to keep living in it until his death and pay rent. The insane mansion includes 29 rooms, a tennis court, swimming pool and grotto.
7. He wrote his own comic
Hefner had an interest in publications since he was a child. Before coming up with the idea for Playboy, Hefner wrote his own comic book.
He would later feature comics in Playboy on a regular basis. During his school days, he would create drawings for a personal comic book about his life. In University, he also founded a magazine that included gag cartoons for co-eds. Obviously, Hef was well on his way to creating a magazine empire. Nobody knew he would change the world though.
6. His first wife cheated on him
Even though Hefner was a huge superstar, he went through all the perils, heartaches and pains the rest of us common folk go through. His first wife, Mildred Williams, cheated on him before they got married.
Hef has noted that it was the most devastating moment of his life. She cheated while he was away serving in the military. Perhaps the episode contributed to his later playboy lifestyle.
He stated that he had saved himself sexually for her— as was common back then — and was horrified to find out that she was more sexually experienced than he was. Hef would later remarry.
5. He appeared on The Simpsons
This cartoon is as iconic as Hefner himself. What an honor it was for him to appear on it, especially since he loved comics so much. The episode has Bart visiting Hef, looking for people to take part in the Krusty Comeback Special.
He is in character with his infamous red robe and cigar. Very smooth and exactly how he is portrayed in real life, he gave Bart a tour of the Playboy Mansion in the episode. Needlesss to say, Bart was very impressed.
4. He was strict with his house bunnies
You may remember the reality TV show The Girls Next Door, which featured the three main girlfriends Hugh had at one point in time in the 00’s. It portrayed their lives behind the Mansion walls. There were strict rules to oblige by and Hef did not budge.
Beside the 9 PM curfew every night, no bunny take drugs ever or they would get kicked out. The girls all got an allowance of $1000 per week as well. They would all line up in the morning to get it. Most girls did not like all these strict rules set in place, but they had to follow them — among other things — if they wanted to to stay.
3. He almost banned John Lennon from the Mansion
It would have been an honor for most if John Lennon paid them a visit wile he was still alive. Hefner though was not phased by the Beatle’s fame or status at all.
Story goes that Lennon was at the Mansion one night and took things a bit too far. He took a Matisse painting off the wall and put a lit cigarette out on it, ruining it. Hefner was majorly disrespected and angry about this. To much surprise, Lennon was actually never banned. Hefner kept the painting hanging on the wall despite the damage.
2. The magazine is banned in some countries
Not all countries are so responsive to nudity and risky publications as most of North America is. Playboy magazine was not just censored — with black over bar breasts or buttocks — but fully banned in some places like Singapore, Malaysia and India.
The magazine is viewed as pornographic and taboo. It became such a huge cultural phenomenon that countries have had to veto it from being available to the general public. You know it is a success when naysayers chime in.
1. A species of rabbit is named after him
How cute! Thinking Playboy, the bunny head logo immediately comes to mind. Well, that and bare buttocks.
People around the world have even associated bunnies with the Playboy enterprise. Sylvilagus palustris hefneri is the species of rabbit named after Hugh Hefner. And it is endangered.
The Playboy Foundation has funded research on these rare bunnies. It was said that, “the naming of new species after celebrities and notable individuals is nothing new to the scientific community, and when it’s done for an endangered species, it often helps bring attention to its plight.”