Two days ago famous Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner passed away. With the foundation of Playboy Hefner brought women's sexuality into the spotlight in a way that had never happened before. Almost any modern day discussion of the portrayal of women in media can be tied back to Playboy's influence, and Hefner himself. It is beyond questioning that he has made his mark on history, and he made a lot of money doing it. Now that Hefner has passed on the question remains, who of his family, lovers, and friends will end up with his numerous assets and millions in the bank?
Hugh Hefner's Humble Beginning
Hugh Hefner was born in 1926 on April 9th, smack dab in the middle of the United States Prohibition Era. He was born to two conservative Methodist parents, Grace Caroline and Glenn Lucius Hefner, who were originally from Nebraska but had moved to Chicago, Illinois by the time Hugh was born. He was raised there and continued on to go to college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he graduated with a BA in psychology.
How Was Playboy Founded?
After college Hefner eventually began work as a copywriter for Esquire magazine. In January 1952 he quit this job over being denied a $5 raise, and seized this as his opportunity to start over. He took out a loan from the bank and raised money from 45 investors to launch the first copy of Playboy, which featured a nude photo of Marilyn Monroe. It was a wild success selling over 50,000 copies and Hefner boy the crypt next to Monroe's to celebrate.
How Did Hugh Hefner Die?
Hefner passed away two days ago at 91 years old in his personal mansion in Holmby Hills, California from natural causes. Natural causes is a fairly vague explanation for a cause of death and many people are unsure what it means. Generally, when a person dies of natural causes it means that they have reached an age where their body is no longer able to function well enough to keep them alive and a natural disease process due to decay from age has lead to death. This is a peaceful way to go and Hefner was reportedly surrounded by loved ones when he passed on.
At His Time Of Death, Hefner Was Worth $50 Million
Built off of a mere $8,600 investment back in 1953, by the time of his death Hefner and his Playboy fortune is estimated at $50 million dollars. This is spread out across his bank accounts, investments, properties, and his stake in the ow multi-media Playboy Empire. Although $50 million is nothing to sneeze at many people are shocked by how low this number is considering at one point he was worth $200 million.
Why So Little?
Playboy is one of the most famous magazines of all time, and many people would expect its owner to be one of the wealthiest men around, and $50 million no longer gets you that title. For the years leading up to his death Hefner was a 100% owner of the physical magazine Playboy, and only a 35% owner of the Playboy corporation overall, so as magazines fell out of style his fortune dwindled.
The Decline Of Magazines
At it's most successful point Playboy was a publicly traded company, and Hefner's stock in it gave him a net worth of of a cool $200 million. Then with the rise of the internet Playboy stock dropped 80% between the years of 2000 and 2010 because the internet provided an easy and free source for the type of images previously only available in publications like Playboy magazine. When this happened the company went private under shared ownership of Hefner and several private equity firms.
Although he owned 100% of the Playboy Magazine it was reportedly losing millions of dollars a year over the last several years, making it more of a burden than an asset. The rest of the Playboy empire that he had build up, from the famous mansion to the online presence which he held just 35% of, was at the time of his death already shared with many other individuals and corporations.
Disclosed Finances His Divorce
A very public snapshot of Hefner's finances became available back in 2009 following his divorce from former Playmate and wife of 20 years, Kimberly Conrad. During divorce proceedings Hefner released a financial statement placing his net worth at $43 million, with a monthly income of $290,000 and monthly expenses of a massive $43,000.
Who Owns The Famed Playboy Mansion?
One of the most iconic parts of the Playboy empire is the infamous Playboy Mansion. Home of the beautiful Playboy Bunnies and the location of notoriously wild parties the stately home is so tied to Hefner's Playboy brand that most assume he was the owner. However, around one year ago the mansion was actually sold to 32 year old multi millionaire Darren Metropoulos.
Three Marriages, Twice With Playmates
More of his assets had also been chipped off through the years from his two divorces. Hefner had been married three times in total, and at the time of his passing was still married to Crystal Harris. It is assumed that Harris will get a part of Hefner's estate in his will. His first marriage was in 1949 to his college sweetheart Mildred Williams lasting until 1959, and his second to Kimberley Conrad from 1989 to 2010. In both cases a monetary agreement that left Hefner paying alimony to his ex wives.
Of his marriages the only the first two produced children. Together Hefner and first wife Williams had a daughter Christie and son David. Over 20 years later his second marriage to Kimberley Conrad also produced two children, sons Marston and Cooper. Christie and Cooper have both at different times had major roles in the Playboy Empire and all four children are likely to inherit a part of his estate.
Not shockingly for the original Playboy himself, Hefner has had nearly countless girlfriends over the years. Some of these even happening publicly during periods where he was already married, like his famous partnership with Holly Madison. Some spurned lovers such as Carrie Leigh, who filed a $35 million palimony suit against him that was quickly dismissed, have wanted money from Hefner, and it is possible that those he is still fond of may be included in his will.
Hugh Was An Under The Radar Philanthropist
When thinking of Hefner few think of philanthropy, but the Playboy millionaire was actually a very active philanthropist. Two of the causes he was most passionate about were same-sex and first amendment rights. Openly bisexual and the founder of a magazine that many tried to shut down over their distaste for the content, it makes sense that Hefner would be passionate about these issues. It is possible, even likely, that he has left behind money for these or other philanthropic ventures of his in his will.
Responsible For The Hollywood Sign
Another little known selfless move by Hefner is his preservation of one of LA's most iconic landmarks, the Hollywood Sign. Back in 1978 the sign was in total disrepair and $250,000 was needed to save it. Hefner held a fundraising event at the Playboy mansion and in one move saved the sign. He came in clutch again in 2008 when a group of Chicago investors bought land next to the sign by donating $900,000 to buy back the land to keep the area around the landmark clear.
We Will Soon Learn Who His Estate Will Be Passed To
Hefner passed away just two days ago so his wishes for his estate have not yet been released to the public, or even his loved ones. It is expected that within the next week this information will be released, and it is very likely that some, or all, of the people you just read about will get some part of his remaining fortune. Lucky them!
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