This interview was first published in 2009. Hugh Hefner has now died, at the age of 91.

It’s easy to forget that, in his day, Hugh Hefner was something of a visionary. The laconic 82 year-old, best known these days for lounging around his luxurious Californian mansion dressed in silk pyjamas and velvet loafers, spent his youth devouring the culture of Depression-era America. He read, watched, saw whatever he could get his hands on, and then copied, transformed and invented.

When the first copies of Playboy appeared in November 1953, the magazine read like a literary who’s who (with the odd titillating photograph thrown in). Sherlock Holmes nestled alongside Ray Bradbury, F Scott Fitzgerald, Vladimir Nabokov, John Cheever, John Updike and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. When husbands said they read the magazine for the quality of the writing, you can see why their wives might (at a pinch) have believed them.

LEAVE A REPLY