Playboy magazine could now close as the private company that owns a controlling share of the porn empire only promised to publish it while Hugh Hefner was still alive.
Hugh Hefner launched Playboy Magazine in 1953, and built one of the world’s most recognizable brands.
But following his death, private equity firm Rizvi Traverse, which invested $207 million in Playboy Enterprises in 2011, has one year to buy his 33 percent stake in the company.
Playboy magazine could now close after the private company that owns a controlling share of the porn empire only promised to publish it while Hugh Hefner was still alive
‘Hef’s contract with Rizvi stated that they were required to publish the magazine, and he got to be editor as long as he lived,’ one former staffer told the New York Post.
‘So while he might not have been highly involved in the day-to-day, just him being alive served as a shield,’ the source added. ‘And those of us working there always assumed that they would shut the magazine down the second he passed away.’
In recent years Hefner had passed the day-today running of the magazine to his youngest son Cooper, 26.
Cooper took over as creative director for the company and hoped to translate the rebellious nature Playboy had in its early days to his generation.
A true millennial, Cooper wanted to make the brand more accessible to his demographic of chronic Instagram and Twitter users. A frequent poster himself, his social media pages give a glimpse into the life of the prince of Playboy.
After his father’s passing on Wednesday evening, Cooper stands to inherit at least a fourth of Hugh’s $43million fortune – but has already established himself as a change-maker at Playboy Enterprises
After his father Hugh passed away at the age of 91 on Wednesday evening, Cooper wrote a tribute to his ‘exceptional and impactful life’
Hugh Hefner passed away in his home, the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, California, of natural causes after suffering from dwindling physical health in recent years.
The notorious Mansion holds special memories for Cooper and his brother Marston, Hugh’s sons with his second wife Kimberly Conrad, who grew up in the $100million home. Their childhood was unparalleled by any other – surrounded by scantily clad models and celebrities, with lavish parties held throughout the year in their backyard.
Cooper said his mother Kimberly, who was the Playmate of the Year in 1989, made sure that the boys were babysat by security during the raucous bashes as children – and that revelers were encouraged to wear black tie ensembles (rather than nothing at all) for the boys’ sake.
Cooper (pictured with the Playboy Bunnies as a child) grew up at the Playboy Mansion with his brother Marston
As Cooper grew older, he was allowed to attend the parties with his father, and even donned his same signature purple pajamas
Kimberly and Hugh held their marriage together for more than twenty years, from 1989 until 2010, despite living separately since 1998. The boys stayed with their mother in an English manor that was built adjacent to the Playboy Mansion especially for them.
Moving next door, however, did little to spare the boys from nudity – a large portrait of their mother fully naked was plastered in the library of the Mansion.
Cooper grimaced at the sight of the picture as a child, but now feels his unique upbringing has contributed to his liberal views on sexuality.
‘My interpretation of being comfortable with sex is different than most people’s. I really don’t think sex is weird until people make it weird,’ he told The Hollywood Reporter.
Kimberly and Hugh held their marriage together for more than twenty years, from 1989 until 2010, despite living separately since 1998
The boys stayed with their mother in an English manor that was built adjacent to the Playboy Mansion especially for them
Hugh married his first wife and college sweetheart Millie in 1949, with whom he shared his two eldest children – Christie and David. His eldest son has stayed completely out of the limelight throughout his life, the opposite of his sister Christie, who is now 64 (the same age Hugh was when he had Cooper). She served as the chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises from 1988 to 2009 – and Cooper says he frequently consults her for business advice.
One of his biggest issues, he says, comes in keeping a clear head in business – a tip from Christie is to keep emotions out of negotiations.
Hugh Hefner was vocal about wanting both his sons to be involved in continuing his legacy with Playboy – a responsibility that Cooper’s brother Marston shied away from.
‘My dad was public about wanting us to run the organization together, but it became evident as we got older that it was not something that spoke to him,’ Cooper said.
As Cooper grew older, the similarities to his father continued to develop. However, as the youngest of Hugh’s four children, Cooper felt compelled to carve out a niche of his own.
As Cooper grew older, the similarities to his father continued to develop. However, as the youngest of Hugh’s four children, Cooper felt compelled to carve out a niche of his own
Like his father, Cooper he decided to enlist in the military. In January 2017 he joined the California State Military Reserve. Hugh was an infantry clerk in the army in the 1940s, and spent his free time doodling cartoons for the military newspapers – which peaked his interest in journalism.
Cooper’s military enrollment and liberal viewpoints led some to question his opinion on President Trump – who graced the cover of Playboy in 1990. Cooper said he met Trump several times at the Playboy Mansion, and was ‘shocked’ by his presidency.
‘I’ve been very upfront and vocal about my distaste for him as a person and the way that he is leading the presidency,’ Cooper said.
‘He continues to go on the record and say things that keep me up at night as well as make me scratch my head in the morning.’
Like his father, Cooper he decided to enlist in the military. In January 2017 he joined the California State Military Reserve. Hugh was an infantry clerk in the army in the 1940s, and spent his free time doodling cartoons for the military newspapers – which peaked his interest in journalism
Cooper was accepted to the University of Southern California on a legacy admission – but decided to attend a smaller liberal arts college, Chapman University, instead. Though his father didn’t attend USC, he has donated millions to the school over the years.
‘It made my heart feel better to go to Chapman,’ Cooper said. ‘It didn’t feel like it was given to me.’
After studying film production and graduating at the age of 21, Cooper returned back to the family business with a fresh mindset. He wanted to continue his father’s vision – but make it more accessible to younger generations.
In April, Cooper said: ‘I think about the Playboy philosophy constantly, but I have my own point of view. It’s what will have to carry me through.’
Cooper wants to continue his father’s vision – but make it more accessible to younger generations.
Cooper took a brief hiatus from the company in 2016 – during which time the magazine stopped printing nude images in an attempt to promote advertising
This has proved to be no easy feat. Following heated board meetings, Cooper took a brief hiatus from the company in 2016 – during which time the magazine stopped printing nude images in an attempt to promote advertising.
‘I thought it was… a direct attack on what Dad has been fighting for his entire life — to normalize sexuality,’ Cooper told the NY Post.
‘I was not in favor … and there were moments where I questioned my own sanity while listening to people responsible for running a major company,’ he added. ‘One of my first priorities was to reinstate the nudity . . . [so] that what Dad built was authentic.’
The magazine only starting reprinting nude images in March of 2017 – an issue that had special meaning to Cooper. His fiancée, actress Scarlett Bryne, posed nude for the March magazine alongside a personal essay she wrote titled ‘The Feminist Mystique’ – a tribute to trailblazing writer Betty Friedan’s book.
Cooper’s fiancée, actress Scarlett Bryne, posed nude for the March magazine alongside a personal essay she wrote titled ‘The Feminist Mystique’ – a tribute to trailblazing writer Betty Friedan’s book
Cooper has been engaged to the Harry Potter actress since 2015, but have yet to reveal when the wedding will be.
Although Hugh passed before getting to see his youngest son walk down the aisle, he expressed his joy over the engagement via Twitter.
Hugh’s $43million fortune will be split between his four children and various charities. He will be buried next to Marilyn Monroe, Playboy’s first cover girl, in the crypt he bought for her at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
His famed Playboy Mansion will now be in complete control of its owner, businessman Daren Metropoulos, who bought it for $100 million in 2016 on the condition Hugh could live there until he died.
In a statement about Hugh’s passing, Cooper said: ‘My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom.
‘He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history.
‘He will be greatly missed by many, including his wife Crystal, my sister Christie and my brothers David and Marston, and all of us at Playboy Enterprises.’