Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner dies aged 91

LOS ANGELES, dpa correspondents (dpa) - Hugh Hefner, the adult entertainment pioneer and founder of Playboy magazine, died Wednesday aged 91, according to a statement from the publication.
Hefner died of natural causes at home, the statement said, adding that he was "surrounded by loved ones" at the time of his death.

Playboy magazine also confirmed Hefner's death on Twitter.
Hefner founded the men's magazine in a deeply-conservative America in 1953 with just 600 dollars of his own money and 8,000 dollars more in loans.
The first issue featured Marilyn Monroe on the cover and an unprecedented mix of airbrushed nudes and interesting articles inside.
The magazine's frank and open attitude to sex set it apart and made it a cultural phenomenon.
Hefner became, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, "the swingin' godfather to three generations of American men" preaching against sexual hypocrisy at the same time as advocating a sexual extravagance that was way out of reach for most of his millions of readers.
Hefner's signature silk pajamas and a bunny on his arm, personified a glamourous free-and-easy image centring on the magazine and his Playboy Mansion; he claimed to have slept with more than 1,000 women in his lifetime.
Despite his hedonistic lifestyle, Hefner was also a champion of serious issues like integration, mixed-race love and free speech.
The magazine and the Playboy Empire were very successful in their heyday, with 22 Playboy clubs in the United States in the 1960s and several in foreign countries.
By the 1970s, the magazine with its combination of centrefolds, tips about for how to deal with the opposite sex as well as insightful interviews and articles on current events, had a circulation of around 7 million.
Established authors like Saul Bellow, Woody Allen, PG Wodehouse, Kingsley Amis, Roald Dahl, Norman Mailer, John Updike and James Mitchener all wrote for the magazine.
Hefner explained the magazine's success as follows on the 50th anniversary of its founding:
"Playboy has never been the most explicit because we never really
thought about it as a sex magazine."
"It's a lifestyle magazine. But we were there at the beginning, making the case for personal sexual freedom. And I think that we now live in a Playboy world."
Eventually the magazine was eclipsed by changing mores and technological advances, which Hefner himself had helped kick off.
The last of the Playboy clubs was shuttered in 1986.
The internet ushered in a new openness surrounding erotica. By 2015, when easily available online pornography had drawn away readers, circulation dropped to just 800,000 and the magazine announced it would no longer feature naked women - a decision it later reversed.

Thursday, September 28th 2017
dpa correspondents

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