Hefner was born in Chicago, Illinois, the elder of two sons born to Grace and Glenn Lucius Hefner (1896–1976), both teachers. Hefner's mother was of Swedish descent and his father had German and English ancestry.
Hefner, who never met Monroe, bought the crypt next to hers at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.
Hefner and Burns later collaborated on numerous other television projects, most notably on The Girls Next Door, a reality series that ran for six seasons (2005-2009) and 90 episodes.
The Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Chief Creative Officer of Playboy, Hugh M. Hefner, is a man who has profoundly influenced society in the last 50 years while his publication remains the world's best-selling men's lifestyle magazine. It has inspired a media empire and one of the most recognizable brands in history.
Hefner was born in Chicago on April 9, 1926, the elder son of conservative Protestant parents, Glenn and Grace Hefner, and a direct descendent of distinguished Massachusetts Puritan patriarchs William Bradford and John Winthrop.
He subsequently took a semester of graduate courses in sociology at Northwestern University where, pursuing his interest in individual freedom, he wrote a term paper examining U.S. sex laws in light of the then-astonishing Kinsey Institute research on human sexuality.
Hefner was also profiled in a two-hour special, Hugh Hefner: American Playboy, as part of A&E's prestigious Biography series in 1996. Recent profiles on Hefner include a 2008 biography written by Steven Watts entitled Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream, Taschen's Hugh Hefner's Playboy, a six-volume illustrated autobiography with highlights from Playboy's first 25 years,
Hugh Hefner Girlfriends, Wives and Centerfolds an E! True Hollywood Story and an in-depth look at five decades of Playboy's wildest and most famous parties hosted by Hef entitled Playboy 2000-The Party Continues. The roster of famous names that have enjoyed the legendary hospitality at Playboy's Mansions in Chicago and Los Angeles.
He plowed profits back into the publication and hired a young, enthusiastic editorial, art, promotion and advertising staff to assist him. Playboy grew at a phenomenal rate. By the end of the decade, the magazine was selling more than a million copies a month and to celebrate, Hefner held the first Playboy Jazz Festival at the Chicago Stadium. It was called, at the time, the greatest single weekend in the history of jazz.
At the start of the new decade, Hefner began to live out the "Good Life" depicted in the pages of his publication. He hosted a popular syndicated television show called Playboy's Penthouse, purchased the Playboy Mansion at 1340 North State Parkway, and opened the first Playboy Club on the Near North Side of Chicago on February 29, 1960.
Hefner hosted a second syndicated television show, Playboy After Dark, taped in Hollywood in 1968 and 1969, and in 1970 acquired the famed black Big Bunny jet, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30, in which he regularly commuted between Chicago and California and toured the world.
In 1971, he established a second residence in Los Angeles with the acquisition of a five-and-one-half acre estate in Holmby Hills known thereafter as Playboy Mansion West, where he was able to more closely supervise Playboy Enterprises' increasing interests in television and film production.
In 1975, Hefner decided to make Los Angeles his permanent home, reflecting the extent to which Hollywood movies had influenced his dreams and aspirations as a boy. The Hollywood Walk of Fame for his efforts. In saving the sign, Hefner referred to it as "Hollywood's Eiffel Tower." The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored him further with its first Annual Hollywood Hall of Fame Award as Outstanding Citizen of the Year.
The Hollywood sign restoration was only one of Hefner and Playboy's major projects as a part of the Hollywood creative community
Playboy also produced such popular television movies as Third Girl From The Left, with Kim Novak and Tony Curtis; The Death of Ocean View Park; The Cop and the Kid; and A Whale For The Killing.
Hefner's most recent venture on the small screen is The Girls Next Door on E! Entertainment. For six seasons, this behind-the-scenes look at the Playboy Mansion has been one of the network's top rated programs. It is an international sensation airing in more than 150 countries around the world resulting in multiple spinoff shows for the cast members.
Hef has appeared as himself in numerous television shows and movies, including Entourage, Sex and the City, Shark, Curb your Enthusiasm, Last Comic Standing, Las Vegas, The Simpsons and most recently Sony Pictures' feature film The House Bunny.
In 2005, the world was invited to "step into Hef's slippers" for the launch of the hugely popular video game titled "Playboy: The Mansion," and in the summer of 2009, Hefner was joined by a dozen Playboy Playmates for a Brett Ratner-directed commercial filmed at the Playboy Mansion for the very successful Guitar Hero gaming franchise.