Hugh Hefner, founder and chief creative officers of Playboy Enterprises and a man who became both a symbol of the sexual revolution and a target of criticism from feminists, has died at 91.
Playboy announced Hefner's death on Twitter Wednesday night. "American Icon and Playboy Founder, Hugh M. Hefner passed away today. He was 91. #RIPHef," the message read.
Hefner was born in Chicago in 1926 and was working as a copywriter for Esquire magazine in the early 1950s when he left to launch Playboy magazine. Playboy's first issue, published in December 1953, featured nude pictures of Marilyn Monroe from an old 1949 calendar photo shot.
The magazine was not only home to photo shoots of nude models, but also published the writing of literary writers like Vladimir Nabokov, Saul Bellow and Margaret Atwood and published the work of cartoonists like Jules Feiffer, Shel Silverstein and Gahan Wilson.
Hefner would launch a string of Playboy Clubs -- famously featuring women in Playboy's iconographic "bunny" costumes, and in the 1960s a television show. In 1971, Playboy purchased what became known as the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills neighborhood of West Los Angeles, which became the notorious scene of celebrity parties.
Hefner was married three times -- to Mildred Williams from 1949-1959; to Playboy Playmate Kimberly Conrad from 1989 - 2010; and to Playmate Crystal Harris from 2012 until his death.