Hugh Hefner, the incurable playboy built a publishing and entertainment empire on the idea that Americans should shed their puritanical hang-ups and enjoy sex. Hefner was the founder of Playboy magazine, launched amid the conservatism of the 1950s, when marriage and domesticity conferred social status. Hefner pitched an alternative standard — swinging singlehood — which portrayed the desire for sex as being as normal as craving apple pie. He redefined status for a generation of men, replacing lawn mowers and fishing gear with new symbols: martini glasses, a cashmere sweater and a voluptuous girlfriend, the necessary components of a new lifestyle that melded sex and materialism. He shared the fantasy not only through the magazine but through a string of Playboy Clubs, where anyone able to pay a modest membership fee could be served food and drinks by “Bunnies” — well- endowed women costumed in rabbit ears, puffy tails and satin corsets so tight that sneezing burst the seams. The black-and- white bunny logo that adorned the magazine and all manner of merchandise, from cufflinks to cocktail napkins, became a coveted mark of suavity.
Marilyn Monroe graced the very first cover of Playboy magazine, which was produced in Hefner’s kitchen in Hyde Park, Illinois.
FACT: Monroe never actually posed for Playboy. Instead, Hefner used nude photographs taken for a calendar.
In the early to mid-70s, Hefner found himself in a dogfight with the more explicit Penthouse magazine, which had begun publishing in America in 1969. This race to the, uh, bottom was dubbed The Pubic Wars, and Hefner felt he had to follow rival Bob Guccione’s lead. This cover represents Hefner’s breaking point; he regretted the image of the model (Patricia Margot McClain) slipping her fingers into her panties to pull a Fred Willard in a movie theater. Before the issue was on newsstands, Hefner had committed to never go there again.
Jan / Feb 2012
America had mixed emotions when the news broke that Lindsay would be posing for Playboy. Her reckless lifestyle, they said, was ruining her looks, and the pictorial could be a train wreck. Well, that just wasn’t the case, and Lindsay’s tribute to Marilyn Monroe was perfectly sexy.
In the real world, Mick Jagger would probably punch your lights out for wanting to see his daughter naked. Thanks to Playboy, you can do this without the confrontation. As a bonus, you can see her mom Jerry Hall’s own spread from 1985.
In the mid- and late 90’s, Tom hosted a very popular exercise program on ESPN, and a lot of people who watched it weren’t exercising at all. She was gorgeous, and she didn’t mind trading on it. After all, her show was called Kiana Tom’s Flex Appeal. She knew exactly what she was doing, and so did Playboy—the cover line “ESPN Fitness Guru Kiana Tom: Get Hard in Six Seconds” is one of the least subtle covers that the magazine has ever run. And that’s saying something.
July 1990 / Dec 1992
In 1990, two years before she showed off her goods in Basic Instinct, Stone’s career took off after appearing in Total Recall. What gave this film the attention it deserved? Stone coincided the film’s release with the release of the July 1990 Playboy issue.
Apr 2003 / Jan 2009
Carmen Electra has posed for the magazine a few times, but 2009 was her golden year. For their 55th anniversary issue, Playboy gave Electra the cover spot and made the world toast to 55 more years.
October 1989, February 1991, July 1992, August 1993, November 1994, January 1996, September 1997, June 1998, February 1999, July 2001, May 2004, January 2007, January 2011
Blonde bombshell Anderson has been posing for Playboy for three decades. She has also been on more covers for the magazine than any other person, so picking one was a challenge and a privilege. Her tongue-in- cheek January 2007 shoot (pictured above) pretty much epitomises her relationship with the brand.
To promote the first season of the E! reality series Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the de facto star of the show appeared nude in Playboy.