Hugh Hefner, the iconic founder of Playboy Enterprises, which started as a magazine and grew into a lifestyle (and powerful media and entertainment company), died Wednesday. He was 91.
Hefner founded Playboy in 1953 when he was 27. It was a reaction to the puritanical social mores of the era, and Hefner embodied the magazine's libertarian and intellectual (and fantastical) ethos. His legacy is a complicated one — in its heyday, the magazine published thought-provoking articles and fiction from authors including Vladimir Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut and James Baldwin and pushed free speech forward. But the Playboy lifestyle was sexist, treating women as collectible sex objects.
Hollywood reacted to his death with memories of parties at the Playboy Mansion and Hefner's loyalty and generosity.
Marquandt is so far the only one of the stars of The Girls Next Door to give a statement on social media about Hefner's death, though Kendra Wilkinson told Us Weekly that Hefner changed her life and she will miss him. The cast also included Holly Madison, the Shannon Twins and Crystal Harris, the latter of whom Hefner married after the show was over.
Other women who posed for the magazine paid their respects.
RIP to the legendary Hugh Hefner! I'm so honored to have been a part of the Playboy team! You will be greatly missed! Love you Hef! Xoxo— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) September 28, 2017
I'm am honored that I had the privilege to be apart of the Playboy world! It was a magical time in my life.We'll miss you #RIPHughHefner— Coco (@cocosworld) September 28, 2017
R.I.P. Hugh Hefner 😥 The American Icon who in 1953 introduced the world 2 Playboy mag and built the company into one of the most recognizable American Global brands in history , I am so grateful I had the opportunity to shoot many Playboy celebrity pictorials with u Hef❤️ thank u for picking me and Bringing me into the magical world of Playboy ! I just can't stop crying and I can't imagine how many bunnies are crying for u too. U are a class act and I will always have gratitude for your kindness 🙏🏼love u Hef #hughhefner #playboy #icon @playboy
Pamela Anderson, the woman perhaps most closely associated with Playboy — she appeared on the cover 13 times — posted a tearful video on Instagram.
Goodbye #Hef Mr Hefner I have so many thoughts, I have no brain n right now to edit I am me because of you You taught me everything important about freedom and respect. Outside of my family You were the most important person in my life. You gave me my life... People tell me all the time That I was your favorite... I'm in such deep shock. But you were old, your back hurt you so much. Last time I saw you You were using a walker. You didn't want me to see. You couldn't hear. You had a piece of paper in your pocket you showed me - with my name Pamela with a heart around it. Now, I'm falling apart. This feeling is so crazy. It's raining in Paris now. I'm by the window. Everything anyone loves about me is because you understood me. Accepted me and encouraged me to be myself. Love like no one else. Live recklessly With unfiltered abandon. You said the magazine was about a girl like me. That I embody the spirit you fantasized about. I was the one. You said. I can hear you say - Be brave. There are no rules. Live your life I'm proud of you. There are no mistakes. And with men - Enjoy ... (Your wonderful laugh) You have the world by the tail You are a good girl And you are so loved - You are not crazy. You are wild and free Stay strong, Stay vulnerable. ... "It's movie time" You loved my boys ... You were always, always there for us. With your love Your crazy wisdom. I will miss your everything. Thank you for making the world a better place. A freeer and sexier place. You were a gentleman charming, elegant, chivalrous And so much fun. Goodbye Hef ... Your Pamela 💋
Some of Hefner's myriad famous friends said farewell, too.
Hugh Hefner was a strong supporter of the civil rights movement. We shall never forget him. May he Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/oL3lKLZRQ5— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) September 28, 2017
Hugh Hefner was a GIANT in publishing, journalism, free speech & civil rights. He was a true original, and he was my friend. Rest well Hef. pic.twitter.com/bJ1wxoK4gR— Larry King (@kingsthings) September 28, 2017
I had a number of great conversations and with Hugh Hefner. Was such an interesting man. True legend. What an end of an era!— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) September 28, 2017
Hefner is survived by his wife; his daughter, Christie; and his sons, David, Marston and Cooper, the latter of whom has taken over as the Chief Creative Officer of Playboy.
Hefner will be buried in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles in the plot next to Marilyn Monroe, who was on the cover of the first issue of Playboy.