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Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner Dead at 91

September 28, 2017

The silk-robed icon of the sexual revolution, Hugh Hefner, has passed away at the age of 91. Hefner founded Playboy magazine in 1953, and went on to help kick-start a sexual revolution beginning in the '60s. The magazine, which has since pivoted away from nude centerfolds, was for decades the driving force behind "loosening up" conservative views on sex and sexuality.

Playboy would become a global multimedia empire that included the magazine, television shows, movies, nightclubs, and more. The magazine also left an indelible mark on journalism, often publishing interviews with celebrities who would open up about sex, love, relationships, and lifestyle. In fact, the expression "I only read Playboy for the articles" became a humorous cliche at cocktail parties throughout the 80s and 90s simply because of A-listers who graced the pages. President Jimmy Carter even granted Playboy an interview during his presidential campaign in 1976.

While many criticized Hefner for his hedonistic lifestyle, which included legendary pool parties featuring celebrities and an endless bevy of bikini-clad (at most) women, Hefner always maintained that life was too short, once even saying that he was a kid who dreamed the dreams and made them come true. Perhaps the most telling quote about Hefner and the mission of Playboy was this, saying, "If you don't encourage healthy sexual expression in public, you get unhealthy sexual expression in private."

Hefner was married three times, most recently to former Playmate Crystal Harris, and leaves behind four children, including former Playboy Enterprises CEO Christie Hefner.