Hefner founded Playboy in 1953 with 0 of his own money and built the magazine into a multimillion-dollar entertainment empire that at its 1970s peak included TV shows, a jazz festival and a string of Playboy Clubs whose cocktail waitresses wore bunny ears and cottontails.
In 2005, a reality show starring Hefner and his girlfriends, “The Girls Next Door,” premiered on the E! The show became an instant hit for the network, running for six seasons, and introducing the Playboy founder to a new, younger generation of fans.Often pictured in pajamas – or a silk smoking jacket - and smoking a pipe, Hefner personally promoted the Playboy philosophy as the magazine became an amalgam of nude photographs of gorgeous women and intellectual writing.("I just read Playboy for the articles," was a standard, if joking, line at the time.) "If you had to sum up the idea of Playboy, it is anti-Puritanism," he was quoted as saying as the country's mood became more hedonistic."I'm a kid who dreamed the dreams and made them come true." Gallery: Hugh Hefner through the years Hefner was born April 9, 1926, in Chicago to Glenn Hefner, an accountant, and Grace Hefner, a teacher.Both parents were conservative Protestants from Nebraska.