Hugh Marston Hefner, or, more usually, Hugh M. Hefner (April 9, 1926 – September 27, 2017) entered the American cultural scene as the founder and editor of Playboy magazine in November 1953. His original $8,000 investment soon mushroomed into a multimillion dollar entertainment empire now known as Playboy Enterprises, Inc. By the 1960s Playboy was selling several million copies a month. Following his very successful publishing venture, Hefner created a one-of-a-kind lifestyle for himself that, to some, resembled an enchanted world: The Playboy Mansion. Hefner described his vision for Playboy as "a wish book devoted to men's dreams and fantasies. When I moved into the Playboy Mansion," he went on to say, "I began living out those fantasies." For over fifty years now, even though its circulation has retreated sharply from its previous highs, Playboy magazine has remained a popular fixture on magazine shelves, and Hefner’s own personal life created a unique American phenomenon emulated by only a few of his publishing contemporaries such as Bob Guccione and Larry Flynt.
- Although it is often called Playboy Magazine, even on its own Website, the cover of the magazine reads simply Playboy.
- Edgren, Gretchen. Inside the Playboy Mansion (London: Aurum Press, 1988), p. 7.