Hugh Hefner The Icon and Tycoon

Hugh Hefner, the man who created a magazine empire, died Wednesday at the age of 91 and his legacy includes some of the most famous Playboy playmates ever to grace the cover

Hugh Hefner founded Playboy in 1953 with $600 of his own money and built the magazine into a multimillion-dollar empire. In the 1970s it included TV shows, a jazz festival and a string of Playboy Clubs whose cocktail waitresses wore bunny ears and cottontails.

Mr. Hefner ran the magazine and then the business empire largely from his bedroom, working on a round bed that revolved and vibrated. At first he was reclusive and frenetic, powered past dawn by amphetamines and Pepsi-Cola. In later years, even after giving up Dexedrine, he was still frenetic, and still fiercely attentive to his magazine.

His own public playboy persona emerged after he left his wife and children, Christie and David, in 1959. That year his new syndicated television series, “Playboy’s Penthouse,” put the wiry, intense Mr. Hefner, pipe in hand, in the nation’s living rooms. The set recreated his mansion on North State Parkway, rich in sybaritic amusements, where he greeted entertainers like Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole, and intellectuals and writers like Max Lerner, Norman Mailer and Alex Haley, while bunches of glamorous young women milled around. (A later TV show, “Playboy After Dark,” was syndicated in 1969 and 1970.)

Since its inception nearly 64 years ago, Playboy Magazine, along with its founder Hugh Hefner, has launched the career of several celebrities. Following Hefner’s passing Wednesday, we take a look the stars who can tip their bunny ears to the media pioneer.

Pamela Anderson is mourning the death of Hugh Hefner – whom she called “the most important person in my life.”

Source: NyTimes.com

USAToday.com