Hugh Hefner’s Net Worth: What is the Cause of His Death?
Hugh Marston Hefner was a magazine publisher in the United States. He was the founder and editor-in-chief of Playboy, a magazine that drew obscenity accusations for its revealing images and articles.
The first issue of Playboy featured Marilyn Monroe in a nude calendar photo shoot, was released in 1953, and sold over 50,000 copies.
Hefner expanded the Playboy brand into a global network of Playboy Clubs. In addition, he lived in lavish mansions with Playboy pals, piqued the media’s interest.
As a Democratic Party activist, he fought for First Amendment rights, animal rescue, and the restoration of the Hollywood Sign.
Hugh Hefner’s Net Worth
Hugh Hefner, an American businessman, is best known for founding Playboy magazine. Hugh Hefner had a net worth of $50 million at his death in September 2017. Hugh’s finances experienced many ups and downs over the years.
At its peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the company made millions of dollars in profit thanks to a thriving empire that included clubs and casinos. Hugh, unfortunately, needed some time to adjust to the digital age and the decline of print magazines.
When he died, the company was a shell of what it once was, primarily engaged in intellectual property licensing. Furthermore, due to several financial restructurings, Hugh did not own most of the company or the mansion at the time of his death. At the time of his death, Hefner owned the remaining print issues of the magazine and 35% of the Playboy brand.
Hugh Hefner’s Early Life
Hefner was born in Chicago on April 9, 1926, to Glenn Lucius Hefner, an accountant, and Grace Caroline (Swanson) Hefner, a teacher. His parents were from Nebraska. Keith was his younger sibling. His father was English and German, and his mother was Swedish.
Through his father’s line, Hefner was a direct descendant of William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth. He describes his family as “conservative, Midwestern, Methodist.” His mother had encouraged him to pursue a missionary career.
He attended Steinmetz High School and Sayre Elementary School before joining the United States Army and working as a writer for a military newspaper from 1944 to 1946.
Hefner earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a double minor in creative writing and art from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in two and a half years. He enrolled at Northwestern University for a semester of graduate sociology classes after graduation but soon dropped out.
Hugh Hefner’s Career
Hefner resigned as a copywriter for Esquire in January 1952 after not receiving a $5 raise. He obtained a $600 mortgage loan and raised $8,000 from 45 investors to launch Playboy, which was initially called Stag Party (including $1,000 from his mother—”not because she believed in the venture,” he told E! in 2006, “but because she believed in her son”).
The first issue, published in December 1953, featured Marilyn Monroe from a 1949 nude calendar photo shoot in which she had participated anonymously. (While Hefner never met Monroe, he paid $75,000 for the crypt next to her in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in 1992.) That first edition sold more than 50,000 copies.
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Hefner’s celebrity waned later, but he remained a well-known figure, frequently appearing in cameo roles. In the 1993 Simpsons episode “Krusty Gets Canceled,” Hefner performed his voice. Hefner founded the Clara Bow documentary Discovering the It Girl in 1999.
“Nobody has what Clara had,” he declared. She left an imprint on the country and defined an era.” Hefner appeared as a guest star in the Sex and the City episode “Sex and Another City” in 2000. In 2005, he appeared as a special guest on the Entourage and Curbed Your Enthusiasm HBO shows.
He has a television star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has appeared in several films as himself. He appeared in a 2006 episode of Seth Green’s Robot Chicken on Adult Swim’s late-night network. He provided his voice in the 2007 Family Guy episode “Airport ’07.”
In 2009, he was nominated for a Razzie award for “worst supporting actor” for his role as himself in Miss March. He mocked the nomination on his official Twitter account, writing, “Maybe I didn’t understand the character.”
Brigitte Berman’s film Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist, and Rebel was released on July 30, 2010. He previously granted complete access to documentary filmmaker and television producer Kevin Burns for the 1996 A&E Biography special Hugh Hefner: American Playboy.
Later in their careers, Hefner and Burns collaborated on some other television projects, most notably the reality series The Girls Next Door, which ran for six seasons (2005-2009) and featured 90 episodes. Hefner also made a voice-only appearance as himself in the 2011 film Hop.
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In 2012, Hefner announced that his youngest son Cooper would take over as the public face of the Playboy brand.
Hugh Hefner’s Personal Life
Hefner married his high school sweetheart, Mildred Williams, in 1949. Mildred admitted to Hefner that she had an affair with him before their wedding while he was in the Army. He has openly admitted that the admission devastated him.
Out of remorse for her adultery, Mildred allegedly allowed him to have affairs with other women. They split up in 1959. Christie and David were their joint children. Following his divorce, Hef reinvented himself as a “man about town,” keeping with the lifestyle he promoted in Playboy.
He admitted to having relationships with eleven Playmates for over a year. After a minor stroke in 1985 at the age of 58, Hefner reduced his lifestyle and married Kimberley Conrad, who was 36 years his junior.
Despite having been separated for more than a decade, they divorced in 2010. From 2012 until he died in 2016, he married Crystal Harris (later Hefner), his third wife. Their two sons, Cooper and Marston, were born.
Hugh Hefner’s Monthly Income:
- Salary from Playboy: $116,667
- Social Security: $1,896
- Dividends and interest: $121,099
- Rental property: $17,058
- Income from HMH Productions: $15,808
- Pensions and retirement: $413
- Other miscellaneous income: $17,639
Total monthly income: $290,580
Hugh Hefner’s Other Assets:
- $306,548 in cash
- $36,802,558 in stocks and bonds
- $6,122,990 in a joint account with an unnamed person
Total assets (including Playboy stock and property): $43,232,096
What is the Cause of Hugh Hefner’s Death?
According to celebdeathews, Hugh died on September 27, 2017, at his home in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles. He was 91. The cause of death was sepsis caused by an E. coli infection.
Hugh Hefner was laid to rest in a crypt at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. The Marilyn Monroe grave is right next to him. He paid $75,000 in 1992 to secure the right to rest next to Monroe.
In 2009, he told the Los Angeles Times, “Spending eternity next to Marilyn is an opportunity too sweet to pass up.” It should be noted that Hefner and Monroe were made-up people. Even though he used her images to launch his career against her wishes, the two never met.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Received All of Hugh Hefner’s Wealth?
According to Fortune, Hefner’s neighbor Daren Metropoulos purchased the Playboy Mansion for $100 million before his death. According to the Daily Mail, Hefner owned Playboy and had $36 million in stocks and bonds at his end.
How Much Money Was Given to Hugh Hefner’s Wife?
Hugh’s will did not include Crystal, but it was later discovered that he did not abandon her in poverty. Hugh gave her a $7 million cash gift and a $5 million US West Hollywood mansion in 2013, according to Distractify.
Hugh Hefner Had How Many Girlfriends at One Time?
The Girls Next Door is a reality television series starring Hugh and his three girlfriends, Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt, and Kendra Wilkinson. The Secrets of Playboy docuseries featured Holly’s Hugh stories.