Hugh Hefnerthe famous and controversial Chicago-born Playboy magazine editor who for decades threw lavish parties, lived a glamorous Hollywood life, and interacted with celebrities, civil-rights leaders and journalistshas died at age 91.
Hefner issued his first Playboy magazine in 1953 ( featuring a nude photo of Marilyn Monroe ), and turned the publicationa mix of nudity and edgy articles, topped with the now instantly recognizable bowtie-wearing rabbit logointo a media empire, complete with the Playboy Club and Playboy Mansion. Circulation of the magazine peaked at 8 million in the early 1960s.
According to a Chicago Tribune article, the first Playboy offices were at at 11 E. Superior St. in Chicagoacross the street from Holy Name Cathedral. At one point, Hefner moved into a large home in the city's Gold Coast, at 1340 N. State Pkwy. In the 1970s, he bought a second home in Los Angeles; however, the company maintained its Chicago ties, with an office space at 680 N. Lake Shore Dr. that it vacated in 2012.
Hefner was also known as an advocate, fighting for LGBT, women's and civil rights and taking public stances on such issues as marriage equality and transgender rights, The Washington Post noted. The irony that his magazine involved what many saw as the objectification of women was lost on few people.
In a 1994 interview with the LGBT publication The Advocate, Hefner said, among other things, that he was a "human-rights advocate" and that "The only thing 'wrong' with AIDS is the way our government responded to it. They are culpable on many, many levels."
Dozens of celebrities ( some of whom have been featured in Playboy magazine, like actress/comedian Jenny McCarthy ) posted condolences and other thoughts on social media.
Hefner is survived by wife, Crystal, daughter Christie, and sons David, Marston and Cooper.
The Washington Post article is at www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/09/28/for-hugh-hefner-gay-rights-were-part-of-the-sexual-revolution/. The Tribune article is at www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-playboy-founder-hugh-hefner-dies-20170927-story.html .