Hugh Hefner Dies at 91: Look Back at the Playboy Legend's Life in Photos

Publishing icon's passing was announced Wednesday evening

By McKenna Aiello Sep 28, 2017 3:59 AMTags

Hugh Hefner's life was anything but ordinary. 

The publishing legend and man behind Playboy passed away today at the age of 91 from natural causes. According to a press release obtained by E! News, Hefner died at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles' Holmby Hills neighborhood. 

The statement read, "Hugh M. Hefner, the American icon who in 1953 introduced the world to Playboy magazine and built the company into one of the most recognizable American global brands in history, peacefully passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones." 

His son Cooper Hefner, who acts as Playboy's Chief Creative Officer, also expressed his condolences in a heartfelt statement. He is survived by wife Crystal Hefner, and children Cooper, 26, Christie, 64, David, 62, and Marston, 27. Information regarding memorial services was not readily available. 

Hugh Hefner: A Life in Pictures

Hefner spoke candidly with E! News over the years, and once shared, "A lot of people would kill to have my life and i understand that... I'm the luckiest guy in the world and I know it."

Speaking to his fabled Playboy Mansion, "It's the kind of place that you don't want to leave and rumor has it that you don't get old there. Seems to be working for me so far." In 2005, he shared with us, "When I'm gone the mansion will become something like Graceland."

The estate sold for $100 million last year, but the deal included the stipulation that Hefner could continue to live there for the rest of his life.

In honor of Hefner's timeless legacy, look back at his decades in the spotlight, from humble magazine editor to world-famous icon. Our thoughts go out to his loved ones at this time.

Start of a Revolution

Having scraped together $8,000, Hefner put together the first issue of Playboy at home and it hit newsstands in December 1953. The magazine, which featured an image of Marilyn Monroe, was an instant success and sold over 50,000 copies. 

Man of the Decade

Hefner is pictured here in 1965 at the Playboy Mansion in Chicago. By then, Americans everywhere considered the mogul a symbol for the "Good Life" so many aspired to reach. 

Hef's Playmates

Hefner was married to Mildred Williams, the mother of his daughter Christie and son David, for 10 years until 1959. During the next four decades, he romanced a number of girlfriends, including a nine-year relationship with singer and model Barbi Benton. She's pictured here during a 1969 visit to the Playboy Clubs in London.

Growing Business

By 1971, Playboy was selling 7 million copies a month and three years later he moved permanently to his Playboy Mansion in L.A. Additionally, his empire had grown to expand 23 Playboy Clubs, resorts, hotels and casinos with more than 900,000 members worldwide.

Icons Meeting Icons

In 1982, Hefner and Carrie Fisher made a cameo appearance on the Laverne & Shirley show. 

The Ups and Downs

At the age of 59, Hefner suffered a minor stroke. In an attempt to slow down his lifestyle, he gave control Playboy Enterprises to Christie and focused more on philanthropic endeavors. In 1989 he married longtime girlfriend Kimberley Conrad. They had two sons together, Marston and Cooper.


Hefner continued to remain the face of Playboy well into the turn of the 29th century. Here he is pictured here at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival with a number of Playmates. 

Girls Next Door

Hef and his wife Kimberley didn't officially divorce until 2010, but they had an open relationship for years—most publicly when Hefner starred from 2005 to 2010 on E!'s The Girls Next Door with resident girlfriends Kendra Wilkinson, Bridget Marquardt and Holly Madison.


Hefner married Crystal Harris on Dec. 31, 2012 during a lavish ceremony at the Playboy Mansion. Their age difference captivated headlines, and they continued to celebrate milestones together over the years. 

Gone Too Soon

Hefner's brother Keith Hefner passed away in April 2016. The longtime Playboy executive was not only a fixture at the Playboy Mansion, but he also had roles in several films like Star 80, Fever Pitch and Evil Town.

Following in Dad's Footsteps

Son Cooper, who was named the magazine's Chief Creative Officer, addressed his father's failing health in April 2016: "I think because he has stepped back from the day to day operations of the business, people have thought that his health was not very good. The reality is he has a really bad back—that happens when you're 90—and he is enjoying life at the mansion."

Later Years

As the editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine continued to lead a more private life, fans were delighted to see a family photo appear on his Twitter timeline in November 2016.

End of an Era

Hefner passed away at the age of 91 from natural causes. According to a press release, he died at the Playboy Mansion surrounded by loved ones. 

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