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  • Writer's pictureChris Mads

Hugh Hefner: A tribute to the Playboy

Hugh Marston Hefner has died at his home in Los Angeles, aged 91.

The American publisher and founder of Playboy, known as "The Hef", was an advocate of secual liberation and a political activist, supporting gay marriage and founding the Hugh M Hefner First Amendment Award.

Of course his magazine, which became synonymous with sexuality, will be his strongest legacy, but there is a huge amount we can learn from the man who lived in a Hollywood mansion with glamorous models well past the ages when many have retired to the fireside.

To hell with the system As the man who founded Playboy we should not be surprised to find Mr Hefner had no time for the rigours of convention. He married thre times, to Mildred Williams, Kimberley Conrad and Crystal Harris. The last of the three, a former Playmate 60 years his younger, was married to him when he passed away. But Mr Hefner also challenged social conventions he saw as wrong; in the 1950s and 1960s he funded court cases to challenge states which outlawed birth control and was a vocal advocate for same-sex marriage.

Have your brand It is always important to build your brand and recognise what will make people recognise you. In an interview with Esquire in 2002, Mr Hefner said: "If they say Hef, they know me. If they say Hugh, they don't."

Work for what you're worth

In 1952 Mr Hefner was working as a copywriter for Esquire. On being denied a $5 raise he left, took out a

mortgage, found some backers and launched a new magazine - Playboy.

Be happy As a self-confessed dreamer, Mr Hefner believed a sense of humour was one of the keys to his enduring youth. But the real gift he has was to reportedly wake up every day and say "I'm the luckiest guy on the fucking planet." Easy to do with a nubile Playmate next to you, perhaps, but the point still stands.

Have a quest In the aforementioned Esquire interview, Mr Hefner said: "My life has been a quest for a world where the words to the songs are true. Not the songs today. Not Who Let the Dogs Out. The romantic songs. Gershwin, Cole Porter..."

Main image from Esquire UK's Instagram account. Cover from Kelly Brook on Twitter. Image below from Playboy on Instagram.

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