Hugh Hefner: Mr. Playboy
By Jason Binn
When the definitive Playboy turned 83 last month, you can bet he was reflecting on a life well lived. In Hugh Hefner’s case, that life has involved debaucherous parties, gorgeous women, a hit reality show, a publishing empire that has changed the face of media, and a famous grotto—all detailed in his most recent biography, Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream by Steve Watts (Wiley; $29.95).
“This side of immortality, I can’t see anything within reason that I really haven’t accomplished,” says Hefner. “I’m pretty satisfied, having lived a full life that seems to keep getting better.”
“A full life” doesn’t even begin to describe what “Hef” has achieved since founding Playboy in 1953. And should he wish to look back on it, Hefner has more than 2,000 volumes of scrapbooks to rely on, chronicling his life since early childhood.
These days he’s still editor in chief of Playboy, and he hosts movie nights at the mansion, runs a celebrated jazz festival, and is involved with many philanthropic endeavors. And, of course, he loves spending time with beautiful women, including his new love, 22-year-old Crystal Harris, who is slated to appear as the centerfold in an upcoming issue of Playboy.
With so many successes under his belt, does Hefner have any regrets? “I shouldn’t have gotten married,” he says. “But both marriages produced wonderful children, so I’m not sorry about that.”
Hefner, as we know, has never been one for stock responses. When asked which historical figure he would most like to have met, he answered, “Jesus Christ—to separate the reality from the mythology.”
A playboy, in his description, is “someone who views life as a celebration and lives with style.” No one embodies that definition better than Hefner himself. Happy birthday, Hef!