354. Hugh Hefner: The Greatest Playboy

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Hugh Hefner is one of the most controversial public figures in the United States. He is the founder, and president of Playboy magazine, which is a men's adult magazine. From humble beginnings in the 1950s, Hefner has grown his pornographic industry into the multi-million-dollar enterprise, which includes his magazine publication, TV, and Internet media.

Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1926, Hefner led an average life growing up in the big city. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and majored in psychology. After serving two years in the United States Military, he began working as a copy editor at Esquire magazine in the early 50s. Hefner quit his job to go out on his own. He was determined to start a magazine that was similar to Esquire, a men's magazine. His first "Playboy" was published from his home in 1953, without a publication date. He did this because he was uncertain if there would be a second edition.

Hefner had purchased a nude picture of the famous actress, Marilyn Monroe, and used that image as the centerfold of his first issue. The 50,000 copies sold quickly, and Hefner became an instant success story. During the 60s, Hefner and Playboy were at the top of their popularity. His circulation was now in the millions, and Hefner ventured into new areas for his company. He produced films, started modeling agencies, built hotels and resorts, and hosted two television series. His publication was not without controversy, though.

In 1963, he was arrested and stood trial for publishing a photo of American actress, Jayne Mansfield. The charges were eventually dropped, but it was clear that there would be challenges to his publication because of its content. Hefner permanently moved his headquarters to Los Angeles in 1975 so that he could be closer to the film industry. He has been married three times, and has four children.

          

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