Hugh Hefner, the Playboy of the Western World, was a visionary
publisher, an empire-builder, an avatar of pleasure, and a
pajama-clad pipe-smoker with a pre-coital grin. In 1953, he
published his first edition of Playboy, with Marilyn Monroe on the
cover and her nude calendar inside. He obtained the rights for $500
with money borrowed from his puritanical Nebraska-born mother.
Rebelling against his strict upbringing, he lost his virginity at
the age of 22. "I made up for my late start. In three years, I
reached Don Juan's legendary benchmark of 1,003 conquests."
Playboy, punctuated with nudes and studded with articles by major
literary figures, rapidly increased its circulation, reaching its
zenith at eight million readers. In addition to his role as a
"tasteful pornographer," Hef became a cultural warrior, fighting
government censorship all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court after
the Post Office refused to deliver his magazine to its subscribers.
As the years and his notoriety progressed, he became an advocate of
abortion, LGBT equality, and the legalization of pot. Eventually,
he engaged in "pubic wars" with Bob Guccione, founder of Penthouse,
which cut into Hef's sales. Lauded by millions of avid readers, he
was denounced by feminists for exploiting women, and defined as
"the father of sex addiction," "a huckster," "a lecherous low-brow
feeder of our vices," "a misogynist," and, near the end of his
life, "a symbol of priapic senility." During his heyday, some of
the biggest male stars in Hollywood, including Warren Beatty, Sammy
Davis, Jr., Mick Jagger, and Jack Nicholson, came to frolic behind
Hef's guarded walls, stripping nude in the hot tube grotto before
sampling the rotating beds upstairs. A voice of doom, Malcolm X,
directly warned him that "the day of the white man will soon be
finished." Even a future U.S. president came to call. "Donald Trump
had an appreciation of Bunny tail," Hef said. Hefner's last
Viagra-fueled marriage was to a beautiful blonde, Crystal Harris,
60 years his junior. "There's nothing wrong in a man marrying a
girl who could be his great-granddaughter," he was famously quoted
as saying. This ground-breaking biography, the latest in Blood
Moon's string of outrageously unvarnished myth-busters, is the
first published since Hefner's death at the age of 91 in 2017. It
is a provocative saga, rich in tantalizing, often shocking
detail--definitely not for the sanctimonious or the faint of heart.
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