Playboy Just Honored Hugh Hefner By Breaking A Major Tradition

Photo: KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/AP/REX/Shutterstock.
Hugh Hefner will grace the cover of Playboy solo for the magazine's November/December issue, People reports. This is big deal because, as you may very well know, Playboy is a magazine that generally features women — Hefner will only be the 11th man to appear on the cover in the magazine's 64-year tenure. To have a man on the cover of Playboy — the magazine known for publishing Marilyn Monroe's nude centerfold in its first issue — is foreign. It's the magazine's version of putting a flag at half-mast. Hefner's son Cooper will write a piece in memory of his father for the issue.
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The cover photo, according to People, will be a portrait from 1965 photographed by Larry Gordon. Hefner, who was born in 1926, is 38 years old in the photo.
Hefner's September 27 death incited debate about his cultural legacy. He represented the male gaze at its most overt, but he also gave space in his magazine to important Black thinkers who might not have otherwise had a platform. Playboy published Martin Luther King Jr.'s longest interview in 1965. Plus, Hefner certainly wasn't averse to women embracing their sexuality.
After his death, Hefner's widow Crystal called him an "American hero."
"I am heartbroken. I am still in disbelief. We laid him to rest Saturday. He is in the place he was always certain he wanted to spend eternity," she told People. "He was an American hero. A pioneer. A kind and humble soul who opened up his life and home to the world. I felt how much he loved me. I loved him so much. I am so grateful. He gave me life. He gave me direction."
She continued, "He taught me kindness. I will feel eternally grateful to have been by his side, holding his hand, and telling him how much I love him. He changed my life, he saved my life. He made me feel loved every single day. He was a beacon to the world, a force unlike anything else. There never has and never will be another Hugh M. Hefner."
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