He had built Playboy into a brand that defined the sexual culture of the second half of the 20th century. The first issue of Playboy was published by Hefner in 1953. It featured nude photographs of Marilyn Monroe and sold more than 50,000 copies. By the 1970s, the magazine had more than seven million readers but circulation dropped to less than three million by the start of the 21st century. the magazine also included articles from writers including Kurt Vonnegut, Vladimir Nabokov and Alex Haley, as well as interviews with Fidel Castro, Martin Luther King Jr and John Lennon.
Hugh Hefner declared: “That nice people can live together now. That I decontaminated the notion of premarital sex. That gives me great satisfaction.” Hefner claimed to have had sex with more than a thousand women, including many of those pictured in his magazine. His son Cooper Hefner who is the chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises declared: “He will be greatly missed by many, including his wife Crystal, my sister Christie and my brothers David and Marston and all of us at Playboy Enterprises.” Hugh Hefner was a millionaire. He was born in Chicago, Illinois and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a bachelor of arts in psychology and a double minor in creative writing and art in 1949.