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Sample Autograph Signature: Hugh Hefner

American publisher and founder of Playboy magazine. Hugh Marston Hefner, icon and spokesman for the 1960s sexual revolution and libertarian ideals, was born in Chicago in 1926 and grew up "in a very typically Methodist repressed home" with "no show of affection of any kind". After graduating from high school and serving in the U.S. Army during the closing months of WWII, he enrolled in the Chicago Art Institute, and then attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he received his bachelors degree in in psychology in just 2Ĺ years. Hefner interest in individual freedom lead him to take a graduate course in sociology at Northwestern University for which he wrote a paper on U.S. sex laws. Before earning his bachelors in 1944, Hefner found time to edit a humor magazine called Shaft and also sold cartoons to magazines. He worked as an assistant personnel manager for the Chicago Cartoon Company and then as a promotion copywriter for Esquire before leaving in January 1952 to work for Children's Activities, a children's magazine. While Hefner claims he hatched the idea for Playboy while in college, it was not until 1953 that he raised money from 45 investors to start the magazine which was first issued in December 1953 and featured a nude photo of Marilyn Monroe. Hefner thereafter created an empire of Playboy related enterprises. "Playboy's Penthouse," a late-night TV program was followed in 1959 by the continuing annual "Playboy Jazz Festival." He opened his "Playboy Clubs" which in less than two years had expanded to 12 nationally; and he held casino licenses in Atlantic City and Britain. Hefner was also involved in the production of several mainstream TV series and motion pictures. Hefner suffered a stroke in 1985 as his clubs folded, and he lost his casino licenses. In 1988, control of Playboy's business operations were passed to his daughter, Christie, who is now Chairman and CEO. Playboy is still an international multimedia company. Not only does Playboy continue to be the leading menís magazine in the world, but the corporation licenses consumer products such as clothing, toys, etc., The Playboy Channel and Spice Television networks distribute Playboy videos and DVDs globally, and Playboy.com is one of the leading male lifestyle web destinations. The Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards were created by daughter in 1979 "to honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for Americans."

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Author: Hugh Hefner

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