On Wednesday, Playboy Enterprises announced that the founder of the magazine, Hugh Hefner, died of natural causes in his home, The Playboy Mansion, at the age of 91. Hefner was reportedly surrounded by loved ones and died peacefully. Though many know Hef for his illicit magazine and relationships with young bunnies, in the wake of his death, people have been remembering the man for the much more diverse American icon that he was.
— Playboy (@Playboy) September 28, 2017
The very first issue of Playboy was published in 1953 and featured Marilyn Monroe on the cover. Little did the 27-year-old Hefner know, that magazine would be groundbreaking in media for bringing nudity into the mainstream. It quickly became the most influential and wide-reaching men’s magazine and it’s popularity peaked in the 1970s when it was selling seven million copies annually. Playboy isn’t the only thing Hefner was though (although living in the literal Playboy mansion might lead you to think that).
Hefner was an outspoken member of the Civil Rights Movement and a staunch feminist. He featured interviews with key political activists like Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X to support their platforms and promoted female reproductive rights. Say what you will about the objectification of women in the magazine–and we will–but he was at least giving a voice to women’s issues and providing a platform on which they could express their sexuality.
Since porn moved online, the magazine’s popularity has declined considerably, but they still sell a respectable 800,000 copies annually and print in over 20 countries. So how are people remembering the media tycoon?
As a friend and great guy
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) September 28, 2017
RIP to the legendary Hugh Hefner! I’m so honored to have been a part of the Playboy team! You will be greatly missed! Love you Hef! Xoxo
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) September 28, 2017
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) September 28, 2017
As an activist
Hugh Hefner was a strong supporter of the civil rights movement. We shall never forget him. May he Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/oL3lKLZRQ5
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) September 28, 2017
Hugh Hefner was a GIANT in publishing, journalism, free speech & civil rights. He was a true original, and he was my friend. Rest well Hef. pic.twitter.com/bJ1wxoK4gR
— Larry King (@kingsthings) September 28, 2017
A man before his time, an entrepreneur, a friend, and forever a legend. Somebody that changed peoples thoughts about sex and pushed the boundaries when it was taboo. I’ll always remember my times w/ Hef. My heart felt condolences go out to the family. RIP Hugh Hefner pic.twitter.com/AqLRxuuTW4
— Verne Troyer (@VerneTroyer) September 28, 2017
Jokes aside, Hugh Hefner who was a known feminist & civil rights supporter. He gave women an avenue for expressing sexuality.
— Sarah Fong (@SarahFongheiser) September 28, 2017
Say what you want about Hugh Hefner, the man spent his life and fortune fighting for the rights of black, LGBTQ+, and indigenous people.
— Sarah McG (@sarahmcgbeauty) September 28, 2017
And, of course, as the Playboy guy
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 28, 2017
This is the best Hugh Hefner epitaph I’ve seen so far pic.twitter.com/HL8NJhTCta
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) September 28, 2017
🐰RIP Hugh Hefner. There will be many pics posted in memoriam, but I’ll “just be reading the articles.” 😉 pic.twitter.com/IE10JbuToq
— Shea Browning (@SheaBrowning) September 28, 2017
Rest peacefully Hugh Hefner the articles in your magazine encouraged extended periods of reading when I was a teenager
— Mitch (@M_1tch) September 28, 2017
— Cash Cash (@cashcash) September 28, 2017
Reading Hugh Hefner’s obituary for the articles
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) September 28, 2017