Hugh Hefner was a magazine publisher and entrepreneur, best known as the founder and former editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine. Hefner was born on April 9, 1926, in Chicago, Illinois, to Glenn Lucius Hefner and Grace Caroline (Swanson) Hefner. After school education, Hefner became a U.S. Army writer for a military newspaper from 1944 to 1946. He then attended the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and graduated in 1949 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a double minor in Creative Writing and Art. In the same year, Hefner married Mildred Williams, his first wife, and the couple divorced in 1959.
Hefner married model and actress Kimberley Conrad in 1989 and the couple divorced in 2010. He then married model Crystal Harris in 2012. He fathered four children — Christie and David in his first marriage and Marston and Cooper in his second. The popular publisher, whose saga is depicted in the A&E show ‘Secrets of Playboy,’ died on September 27, 2017, at 91. If you are curious about Hefner’s career and net worth at the time of his death, consider us your ally!
How Did Hugh Hefner Make His Money?
After graduating, Hugh Hefner worked in Esquire as a copywriter till January 1952. When he was denied a raise, Hefner left the magazine to start his own publication. He managed to raise $8,000 from 45 investors, including his and his mother’s contribution. In December 1953, Hefner released the first issue of Playboy that featured a photograph of the iconic Marilyn Monroe, which he acquired from a 1949 nude calendar shoot the actress did under a pseudonym. Surprising himself, the issue sold more than 50,000 copies, establishing the magazine.
The success of the magazine inspired Hefner to expand his brand. In 1959, he hosted ‘Playboy’s Penthouse,’ a variety/talk show that ran in syndication till March 1961. Along with the magazine, he founded Playboy Enterprises, which owned a chain of nightclubs and resorts known as the Playboy Club. The company operated forty such clubs and resorts from 1960 to 1986. In 1991, the operation of the clubs ceased. Hefner’s company also operated numerous casinos in the United States, England, and the Bahamas, which were closed eventually. In 1963, he also published a book titled ‘The Playboy Philosophy.’
In 1969, Hefner’s company returned to show business with ‘Playboy After Dark,’ which concluded in 1970. Along with the Playboy Clubs and the magazine, Hefner’s company diversified its production with sexual wellness products, fashion sales, gaming and lifestyle products, and beauty and grooming products, adding to its revenue. During the 1990s and 2000s, Hefner voiced and acted in several productions that range from ‘The Simpsons’ to ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’ In 2005, he created and performed in the reality series ‘The Girls Next Door.’
Hefner’s Playboy Enterprises generated sizeable revenue through licensing the Playboy name, the Rabbit Head design, and other images, trademarks, and artwork of the company. In 2013, the company’s brand value created 65% of its revenue. In 2011, Hefner joined hands with private equity firm Rizvi Traverse to buy his own company to make it private for about $217 million. Rather than receiving the money, he transferred his shares to Rizvi for a minority stake in the new company, a $1 million annual salary, and Playboy Mansion for a rent of $100 per annum.
As per reports, Hefner bought a 5,900-square-foot house in the Hollywood Hills in 2013, for his wife Crystal Hefner. In 2016, Hefner sold the Playboy Mansion for $100 million, but he seemingly did not receive the money. Since the mansion was owned by the company, the money wasn’t included in his assets. Hefner didn’t even care to retain the brands of the company, whose revenue wasn’t transferred to Hefner post-sale with Rizvi.
After the sale of the company, Hefner reportedly owned approximately 36.7% of Playboy Enterprises International. Hugh Hefner died on September 27, 2017, in the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California. His assets were apparently inherited by his daughter Christie Hefner and sons David, Marston, and Cooper Hefner. Reports also suggest that he left a part of his assets to the University of Southern California Film School and other charities.
Hugh Hefner’s Net Worth
Hugh Hefner’s net worth at the time of his death was estimated to be around $50 million. Upon his company’s sale, Hefner’s assets and worth decreased considerably and he did not own much real estate during his last days.
Read More: Where is Jennifer Saginor Now?