Hugh Hefner was born on April 9, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois. He claims that his parents were highly religious and failed to show their children any emotion.
During his childhood, he studied at Sayre Elementary School and later Steinmetz High School. After graduating, he joined the military for a short time at the end of World War 2. In the Army, he worked as a clerk for the Army newspapers and spent much of his time drawing cartoons to increase morale. After his discharge he took art classes at the Chicago Art Institute and later enrolled at the University Illinois - Champaign to study philosophy. He managed to graduate in only 2.5 years by taking double the normal amount of classes.
After college, he worked for Esquire Magazine as a writer. He also came up with an idea for a magazine of his own called "Stag Party". Unfortunately the name was trademarked already and he subsequently chose the name "Playboy". The magazine was intended to be a sophisticated men's magazine featuring articles that reflected on the views of the post-war generation.
The first issue of Playboy featured a picture of Marilyn Monroe and was put together on his kitchen table. It was released in December of 1953 and sold over 50,000 copies, prompting him to produce more issues. After reinvesting his profit into the magazine, the subscriber base grew and over a million copies were being sold every month by 1959.
In 1949, he married a woman named Millie Williams, with whom he had a daughter named Christie Hefner and a son named David. After divorcing Millie in 1959, Hugh remained single until 1988, when he married Kimberley Conrade, one of his former playmates. Their marriage ended in 1998 but spawned two children, Marston and Cooper. Since then, he has lived with a wide range of women, all much younger than himself.
In 1985, he suffered a stroke which he says changed his life. It inspired his remarriage in 1988 and also encouraged him to make the most of his life. He started the Playboy Foundation to donate money to worthy causes and also fund the UCLA program that restores old films.
On March 28, 1996, Hefner was honored at the University of Southern California for his dedication to motion pictures. He was also endowed as chair of the school's Study of American Film program.
Hefner's Playboy Magazine has developed into an empire over the years. The company now produces pornographic films and has a large web presence as well. It has also produced non-adult films such as "Macbeth", "And Now For Something Completely Different", and "The Naked Ape".
Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion is one of the most notorious dwellings and party spots in Hollywood today. It features a massive outdoor pool with a grotto for guests to sit in. He also hosts a movie night every Sunday evening in which guests are shown a film from Hugh's massive collection of over 4000 movies.