Hugh Hefner was the larger than life face of Playboy Magazine. From his lavish private jet to the world famous Playboy Mansion, we count 13 facts about Hugh Hefner you may never have heard.
15. Famous Relations
Hugh Hefner is related to both former US Secretary of State John Kerry and former US President George W. Bush. Kerry was the Democratic nominee that lost to Bush in the 2004 presidential election. Hefner is the ninth cousin of both men, once removed from Kerry and twice removed from Bush.
14. Origins of Playboy
In 1952, Hugh Hefner quit his job as a copywriter for Esquire magazine when he was refused a pay rise. The following year he took out a bank loan of $600 and raised a further $8,000 from investors to start Playboy. One of his investors was his mother who lent him $1000 to start the magazine which was initially going to be called Stag Party.
13. The Hefner Bunny
The Lower Keys marsh rabbit or Sylvilagus palustris hefneri is an endangered subspecies of rabbit found in the Florida Keys that is named after Hugh Hefner.
12. Chicago’s Original Playboy Mansion
The original Playboy Mansion was located at 1340 North State Parkway in Chicago. The mansion had a brass plate on the door with a Latin inscription that read ‘Si Non Oscillas, Noli Tintinnare’ (‘If you don’t swing, don’t ring’).
During the early 1970’s Hefner divided his time between the Chicago and L.A. mansions but permanently relocated to L.A. in 1974. After his move, the Chicago mansion was turned into a dormitory for the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.
11. The L.A. Playboy Mansion
The L.A. Playboy Mansion is a 21,987 square foot house that sits on 5.3 acres. Playboy acquired the property in 1971 for a mere $1.1 million. It boasts 22 rooms, a wine cellar, a screening room, 3 zoo and aviary buildings, a tennis and basketball court, a waterfall, swimming pool and grotto, outdoor kitchen, gym and sauna and a games room that includes a table tennis table, arcade games, pinball machines, jukebox and piano. The west wing of the mansion was home to the Editorial offices of Playboy.
It is the only house in the county of Los Angeles to have a fireworks permit and one of the only private residences in the US to have a zoo licence. On the property Heff kept Spider monkeys, flamingos, cockatoos, African cranes and peacocks.
The grounds include 2 forests – one of redwoods and the other of tree ferns, an orchard and a large koi pond complete with artificial stream.
In August 2016, the Playboy Mansion was sold to Daren Metropoulos, the co-owner of Twinkie manufacturer, Hostess Brands. The exact purchase price is unknown but Playboy Enterprises were asking for $200 million with the condition that Hefner was able to continue to rent the mansion for the rest of his life.
Metropoulos also owns the mansion next door which he purchased from Hefner in 2009 for $18 million. The mansion is a mirror image of the Playboy Mansion only smaller. It was purchased by Hefner in 1996 as the home for his separated wife, Playboy Playmate of the Year Kimberly Conrad and their 2 children.
10. Hugh Hefner’s Memorial
In 1992, Hefner purchased the crypt nest to Marilyn Monroe at Los Angeles’ Westwood Village Memorial Park. He reportedly paid close to $75,000 for the site.
9. First Issue of Playboy
The very first issue of Playboy was released in December, 1953. It featured Marilyn Monroe as the centerfold and didn’t have a date on it because Hefner didn’t know if there would ever be a second. He printed just 54,000 copies and when it went on sale, it sold out almost immediately.
8. Most Popular Issue of Playboy
The best selling Playboy of all time was the November 1972 edition. It sold 7,161,561 copies. The cover model was Pam Rawlings, photographed by Rowland Scherman. It has been estimated that one quarter of all American college men were buying or subscribing to Playboy every month during the early 1970’s.
In 1970, Playboy became the first gentleman’s magazine to be printed in Braille.
The centrefold from the best selling issue was Swedish model Lena Söderberg and the image subsequently became the default standard image for testing image processing algorithms. In 1973, the image was first scanned for use in a conference paper at the University of Southern California Signal and Image Processing Institute. Ultimately, it became one of the most used images in computer history. The image, known simply as ‘Lena’ was so widely used by the image processing community that in 1997, model Lena Söderberg was a guest at the 50th annual Conference of the Society for Imaging Science and Technology and even chaired the best paper awards ceremony at a 2015 event.
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