Hugh's World

Rebel in pyjamas: he lived the dream of teenaged boys by spending his days in silk pyjamas, chasing blondes through the hallways of his luxury villa. But Hugh Hefner was more than simply the archetype of the American hedonist...

In 1953, he took out a mortgage and borrowed $1,000 from his unsuspecting mother to start a magazine called Playboy. The likes of Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield were happy to appear in its pages – but so were (in a different way) writers such as Vladimir Nabokov and Norman Mailer, who appreciated the magazine’s free spirit. In the 1970s, Hefner and his entourage would jet through the skies in a flying penthouse to rescue Vietnamese babies or to escort a gorilla named Baltimore Jack to the arms of a lonely ape lady. “In my wildest dreams,” Hefner once confessed, “I could not imagine a sweeter life.” We congratulate Playboy on its 60th anniversary with fascination, awe and a healthy dose of envy.