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Playboy founder Hugh Hefner dies aged 91

28th September 2017

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Note: This post has been moved from Latest picks due to length of extended updates.

Playboy founder Hefner dies aged 91 (bbc.co.uk).

#RIPHef
“Hugh Hefner, founder of the international adult magazine Playboy, has died at the age of 91. Playboy Enterprises Inc said he passed away peacefully at home, from natural causes. Mr Hefner began publishing Playboy in his kitchen at home in 1953. It became the largest-selling men’s magazine in the world, shifting seven million copies a month at its peak. Cooper Hefner, his son, said he would be ‘greatly missed by many’. He paid tribute to his father‘s ‘exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer,’ and called him an advocate for free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom.”

#RIPHef (Twitter).

.:: Update ::.

Hugh Hefner, who built the Playboy empire and embodied it, dies at 91 (nytimes.com).

“Hefner the man and Playboy the brand were inseparable. Both advertised themselves as emblems of the sexual revolution, an escape from American priggishness and wider social intolerance. Both were derided over the years—as vulgar, as adolescent, as exploitative and finally as anachronistic. But Mr. Hefner was a stunning success from the moment he emerged in the early 1950s. His timing was perfect. He was compared to Jay Gatsby, Citizen Kane and Walt Disney, but Mr. Hefner was his own production. He repeatedly likened his life to a romantic movie; it starred an ageless sophisticate in silk pajamas and smoking jacket hosting a never-ending party for famous and fascinating people.”
Pamela Anderson: “Goodby Hef.”

Pamela Anderson tearful goodbye to Hef … you gave me life! (tmz.com).

“Pam, arguably the most famous Playmate, was crying with her eye makeup running when she posted the message for Hef, saying … ‘I am me because of you / You taught me everything important about freedom and respect. Outside of my family / You were the most important person in my life / You gave me my life…’ Pam’s October 1989 Playboy cover launched her career, and she became Playmate of the Month in February 1990—and she's remained extremely close to Hef ever since. … Pam thanked the Playboy legend for making the world ‘a better place. A freeer and sexier place.’”

And causing others to reminisce about what was seemingly a simpler, less intrusive celebrity world sans the internet coyote that finally ate the bunny (Latest Picks 10th Jan. 2016) and pre 16-year-old girl he met in a nightclub sextape scandal (Wikipedia):

Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe: The first time I partied with Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion (esquire.co.uk).

“It was also before the two events that irreparably damaged one of the great bastions of the sexual revolution, the Playboy Mansion. Internet porn killed the business model and reality TV killed the Bunnies. With the possible exception of becoming a Laker Girl (today also devoid of its status), back then, if you were a gorgeous, marginally talented young woman, becoming a Bunny was one of your only shots at fame. Not anymore. Today, if you’re willing to eat bugs or throw a chair at your best friend or mother, you can star in a reality TV series.

“The Playboy Mansion of the early-to-mid Eighties was a thing to behold. Sure, even as a 19-year-old, I knew it was on a slide from its heyday. But to have been there in the Seventies when Hef was young, the Pill was new and James Caan lived there would have been too much to handle. I barely survived my first-time visit as it was!”

Although the brand dabbling in Reality TV itself as internet coyote’s jaws were closing, but Girls of the Playboy Mansion and The Girls Next Door certainly showed more than anything else that the Playboy party had come to an end and just left something marginally creepy in young ladies sitting around with an old chap in a bath robe/smoking jacket their fame is dependent upon.

Updated 29th September 2017

And to remind that, for celebrity tabloid media in an era where cameras on everything and everyone, nothing is sacrosanct:

Photo shows mogul in frail health… months before death (tmz.com).

“Hugh Hefner was in failing health for years, and he steadily deteriorated in the final months of his life. This pic was taken in January … inside the Playboy Mansion. Although Hef was frail, using a walker to get around, he still hosted movie nights and invited people over.”

Updated 1st October 2017

Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris

Hugh Hefner set up Crystal Harris with millions ahead of death (ibtimes.com).

“Hugh Hefner arranged for his widow Crystal Harris to live comfortably ahead of his death, according to reports. The plan detailed that Harris would be the sole owner of his Hollywoods Hills residence. Harris, 31, will also receive $5 million. It was previously reported that Harris wouldn’t receive a penny of Hefner’s $43 million upon his death. Hefner, however, secretly made the deal as part of a prenuptial agreement Hefner and Harris signed before tying the knot in 2012, according to the deed obtained by TMZ Saturday. The Hollywood Hills home is reportedly co-owned by Hefner and Harris. ”

Harris of course being the 25-year-old at the time Playmate who got the “runaway bride” cover sticker after calling things off days before the wedding, but after the issue had been printed (people.com, Jun. 2011). They finally wed a couple of years later: Crystal Harris wed Hugh Hefner in small ceremony at the Playboy mansion (Pick of the Week 7th Jan. 2013).

The 16 most bizarre facts about Hugh Hefner’s life (thisisinsider.com).

Alberto Vargas, Playboy
Alberto Vargas, Playboy
“As an infantry clerk, he made cartoons for military publications. His colleague and future Popeye cartoonist Hy Eisman wasn’t a fan of his drawings and suggested he look for other jobs after the war. … Hefner eventually took Eisman’s advice and hired other people for the job instead. In its early days, cartoons were a major part of the magazine.”

And regularly featuring—and indeed helping to elevate—pinup dignitaries such as Alberto Varga, Olivia de Beradinis (thepinupfiles.com), and Dean Yeagle (pinupcartoongirls.com).

Hugh Hefner laid to rest in ultra private ceremony (tmz.com).

“Hugh Hefner went to his final resting place Saturday, but only a select few of his closest friends and family were on hand for the ceremony … TMZ has learned. Our Playboy sources tell us … Hef’s 4 children, his wife Crystal Harris and some key Playboy staffers attended the funeral at L.A.’s Westwood Village Memorial Park Saturday at noon. As we reported … Hefner’s crypt is directly to the left of Marilyn Monroe’s—he bought the burial spot for $75k in 1992. He’ll have plenty of good company … the cemetery is filled with celebs, many with Playboy ties.”

Updated 7th October 2017

And just over a week having past and decorum contented:

Hugh Hefner: The sad secrets of his final years revealed (hollywoodreporter.com).

Lonely Hef. Picture: Joe Pugliese
Picture: Joe Pugliese
“I don’t remember the first time I read Playboy magazine. I don’t remember the cover, the photos, the playmates, the articles. I have a faint memory of the musky odor that wafted from its perfumed paper, but nothing else. … Playboy was our guide. That’s where we learned about sex. That’s where we found out about women, where we discovered who ‘they’ were and what ‘they’ wanted. It branded us as permanently as a molten iron does a young calf. I’m grateful for the titillation, but four decades later I’m still trying to rid myself of Playboy’s mark. Despite decades of relationships with women, both personal and professional, I’m forever trying to break free from its insidious thinking.”

“Grateful for the titillation” but “four decades later” either conduct in “decades of relationships with women, both personal and professional” can be laid at Playboy’s feet when the the social justice warrior sea change came more than he did over the plastic centrefolds which “branded us”—or perhaps not all, many able to sea change wave without needing to be a “man of my time” happy to have a scapegoat.

“Sugarcoat Hugh Hefner, if you will—in the wake of his Sept. 27 death, there have been constant reminders of his support for civil rights, his opposition to racism, his bold stand against puritan America—but the way he defined women was appalling. No matter how much one might like to romanticize him, his legacy is this: sexism, stereotyping and objectification.”

Who, when happy crusader met him six years ago “way past his peak as a pop-culture icon”:

“There were many surprises during that week of talks, not least, how entirely sexless his temple of sex had become. I remember seeing the statue of a phallus, along with portraits of a naked former girlfriend, but those things aside the house was extraordinarily tame. My two horny Hollywood neighbors were getting laid more than anyone in this pagoda of perversity.”

Indeed, said SJW wave prompting him to bring attention to the mag by dropping nudity for a year before finding there wasn’t much call for another another GQ either.

“The place was a shambles. It was piled high with yellowing publications, videos and sundry objects that must have moved in when Hefner did, but never moved out. ‘Old magazines and papers litter the floor all around his giant, king-size bed, with its kilim-style comforter,’ I noted. It was hard to walk across the room, because flotsam was everywhere—piled on the bed, strewn over the furniture, tossed on the carpet. Not that I could see any of it very well: even in the early afternoon the curtains were drawn shut, banishing the light. … It was this bedroom that revealed the man more than anything else, here amid a hoarder’s clutter and chaos. This was the private Hefner, so removed from the public image. Gone was the flamboyant womanizer, and in his place, a slightly shrunken elderly figure, wobbling a bit as he walked, burying himself among mounds of litter that meant nothing to anyone except him.”

Either dispelling the notion that old age does indeed come to pop culture icons past their prime too, or perhaps a future vision of clearing the lifetime of collected doodars and knick-knacks from house of beloved lonely elderly relative passing on, who with hindsight wished you had visited more frequently.

“I loved him in weakness, even as I’d reviled him in strength. I wanted to take care of him, even as he had failed to take care of generations of women. I wanted to forgive him for putting those terrible notions inside my head, even as I knew I never could.”

“Terrible notions” inside his head which dissident pro-sex feminist Camille Paglia saw from a different perspective:

Camille Paglia on Hugh Hefner’s legacy, Trump’s masculinity and feminism’s sex phobia (hollywoodreporter.com).

Hugh Hefner, Camille Paglia. Picture: Robert Mora/Getty Images; courtesy of Subject
Picture: Robert Mora/Getty Images; courtesy of Subject
“Was Hugh Hefner a misogynist? Absolutely not! The central theme of my wing of pro-sex feminism is that all celebrations of the sexual human body are positive. Second-wave feminism went off the rails when it was totally unable to deal with erotic imagery, which has been a central feature of the entire history of Western art ever since Greek nudes. … Hugh Hefner absolutely revolutionized the persona of the American male. In the post-World War II era, men’s magazines were about hunting and fishing or the military, or they were like Esquire, erotic magazines with a kind of European flair. … Hefner updated and revitalized the image of the British gentleman, a man of leisure who is deft at conversation—in which American men have never distinguished themselves—and the art of seduction, which was a sport refined by the French.”

Paglia, you may recall, was last heard of here calling Taylor Swift a bad-blooded “obnoxious Nazi Barbie” (12th Dec. 2015) and that Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith is one of the greatest works of art in recent history (Pick of the Week, 24th Dec. 2012).

Updated 28th December 2017

And, to further confirm that soft, plastic porn is the new conservatism along with rock (billboard.com, Jan. 2017), and likely to continue to do as well as either:

Hugh Hefner’s family can’t take drugs if they want his millions (extra.ie).

“According to legal documents seen by Entertainment Tonight, Heff’s wife and four kids can’t access his money if they take illegal drugs or become addicted to alcohol.”

With documents reading that the beneficiary’s withdrawal right can be suspended if “Trustees reasonably believe that as a result the beneficiary is unable to care for himself or herself, or is unable to manage his or her financial affairs” with stipulation that lawyers can order drug tests “to make sure the stipulations in his will are being carried out to the letter”.

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