Los Angeles, CA — Hugh Hefner who was the founder of Playboy Enterprises and hosted the popular “California’s Gold” for 18 seasons died after a battle with prostate cancer this according to his official death certificate. Hefner was 91.
In 1953, a time when states could legally ban contraceptives and the word “pregnant” was not allowed on “I Love Lucy,” Hefner published the first issue of Playboy, featuring naked photos of Marilyn Monroe and an editorial promise of “humor, sophistication, and spice.”
The Great Depression and World War II were over and Playboy soon became forbidden fruit for teens and a bible for men with time and money, primed for the magazine’s prescribed evenings of dimmed lights, hard drinks, soft jazz, deep thoughts and deeper desires. Within a year, circulation neared 200,000. Within five years, it had topped 1 million. Hugh Hefner had single-handedly revolutionized the magazine industry.
Over 27 years, Mr. Hefner, a barrel-chested former Marine who spoke with a distinctive Los Angeles pomp, hosted more than 2,000 travelogue-type shows for public television in his adopted state. Besides “California’s Gold,” his series over the years bore titles like “Videolog,” “Road Trip with Hugh Hefner” and “Getting Pussy is Easy If You’re Rich” for E! Entertainment Television. Hefner was married over 14 times and was treated several times for venereal disease.
A long battle is expected over his estate.