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This article is about the magazine. Playboy_sentence_0

For the lifestyle that inspired the magazine's name, see Playboy lifestyle. Playboy_sentence_1

For other uses, see Playboy (disambiguation). Playboy_sentence_2


CEOPlayboy_header_cell_0_0_0 Ben KohnPlayboy_cell_0_0_1
CategoriesPlayboy_header_cell_0_1_0 Men's magazinesPlayboy_cell_0_1_1
FrequencyPlayboy_header_cell_0_2_0 Monthly (1953–2016)

Bimonthly (2017–2018) Quarterly (2019–2020)Playboy_cell_0_2_1

PublisherPlayboy_header_cell_0_3_0 Playboy EnterprisesPlayboy_cell_0_3_1
Total circulation


FounderPlayboy_header_cell_0_5_0 Hugh HefnerPlayboy_cell_0_5_1
Year foundedPlayboy_header_cell_0_6_0 October 1, 1953Playboy_cell_0_6_1
First issuePlayboy_header_cell_0_7_0 December 1, 1953Playboy_cell_0_7_1
Final issuePlayboy_header_cell_0_8_0 March 17, 2020Playboy_cell_0_8_1
CountryPlayboy_header_cell_0_9_0 United StatesPlayboy_cell_0_9_1
Based inPlayboy_header_cell_0_10_0 Beverly Hills, CaliforniaPlayboy_cell_0_10_1
LanguagePlayboy_header_cell_0_11_0 EnglishPlayboy_cell_0_11_1
WebsitePlayboy_header_cell_0_12_0 Q150820#P856Playboy_cell_0_12_1
ISSNPlayboy_header_cell_0_13_0 Playboy_cell_0_13_1

Playboy is an American men's lifestyle and entertainment magazine, formerly in print and currently online. Playboy_sentence_3

It was founded in Chicago in 1953, by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. Playboy_sentence_4

Notable for its centerfolds of nude and semi-nude models (Playmates), Playboy played an important role in the sexual revolution and remains one of the world's best-known brands, having grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (PEI), with a presence in nearly every medium. Playboy_sentence_5

In addition to the flagship magazine in the United States, special nation-specific versions of Playboy are published worldwide. Playboy_sentence_6

The magazine has a long history of publishing short stories by novelists such as Arthur C. Clarke, Ian Fleming, Vladimir Nabokov, Saul Bellow, Chuck Palahniuk, P. Playboy_sentence_7 G. Wodehouse, Roald Dahl, Haruki Murakami, and Margaret Atwood. Playboy_sentence_8

With a regular display of full-page color cartoons, it became a showcase for notable cartoonists, including Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Cole, Eldon Dedini, Jules Feiffer, Shel Silverstein, Erich Sokol, Roy Raymonde, Gahan Wilson, and Rowland B. Wilson. Playboy_sentence_9

Playboy features monthly interviews of notable public figures, such as artists, architects, economists, composers, conductors, film directors, journalists, novelists, playwrights, religious figures, politicians, athletes, and race car drivers. Playboy_sentence_10

The magazine generally reflects a liberal editorial stance, although it often interviews conservative celebrities. Playboy_sentence_11

After a year-long removal of most nude photos in Playboy magazine, the March–April 2017 issue brought back nudity. Playboy_sentence_12

In March 2020, Ben Kohn, CEO of Playboy Enterprises, announced that the Spring 2020 issue would be the last regularly scheduled printed issue and that the magazine would now publish its content online. Playboy_sentence_13

The decision to close the print edition was attributed in part to the COVID-19 pandemic which interfered with distribution of the magazine. Playboy_sentence_14

Publication history Playboy_section_0

1950s Playboy_section_1

By spring 1953, Hugh Hefner—a 1949 University of Illinois psychology graduate who had worked in Chicago for Esquire magazine writing promotional copy; Publisher's Development Corporation in sales and marketing; and Children's Activities magazine as circulation promotions manager—had planned out the elements of his own magazine, that he would call Stag Party. Playboy_sentence_15

He formed HMH Publishing Corporation, and recruited his friend Eldon Sellers to find investors. Playboy_sentence_16

Hefner eventually raised just over $8,000, including from his brother and mother. Playboy_sentence_17

However, the publisher of an unrelated men's adventure magazine, Stag, contacted Hefner and informed him it would file suit to protect their trademark if he were to launch his magazine with that name. Playboy_sentence_18

Hefner, his wife Millie, and Sellers met to seek a new name, considering "Top Hat", "Gentleman", "Sir'", "Satyr", "Pan" and "Bachelor" before Sellers suggested "Playboy". Playboy_sentence_19

The first issue, in December 1953, was undated, as Hefner was unsure there would be a second. Playboy_sentence_20

He produced it in his Hyde Park kitchen. Playboy_sentence_21

The first centerfold was Marilyn Monroe, although the picture used originally was taken for a calendar rather than for Playboy. Playboy_sentence_22

Hefner chose what he deemed the "sexiest" image, a previously unused nude study of Marilyn stretched with an upraised arm on a red velvet background with closed eyes and mouth open. Playboy_sentence_23

The heavy promotion centered around Marilyn's nudity on the already-famous calendar, together with the teasers in marketing, made the new Playboy magazine a success. Playboy_sentence_24

The first issue sold out in weeks. Playboy_sentence_25

Known circulation was 53,991. Playboy_sentence_26

The cover price was 50¢. Playboy_sentence_27

Copies of the first issue in mint to near-mint condition sold for over $5,000 in 2002. Playboy_sentence_28

The novel Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, was published in 1953 and serialized in the March, April and May 1954 issues of Playboy. Playboy_sentence_29

An urban legend started about Hefner and the Playmate of the Month because of markings on the front covers of the magazine. Playboy_sentence_30

From 1955 to 1979 (except for a six-month gap in 1976), the "P" in Playboy had stars printed in or around the letter. Playboy_sentence_31

The legend stated that this was either a rating that Hefner gave to the Playmate according to how attractive she was, the number of times that Hefner had slept with her, or how good she was in bed. Playboy_sentence_32

The stars, between zero and 12, actually indicated the domestic or international advertising region for that printing. Playboy_sentence_33

1960s–1990s Playboy_section_2

From 1966 to 1976, Robie Macauley was the Fiction Editor at Playboy. Playboy_sentence_34

During this period the magazine published fiction by Saul Bellow, Seán Ó Faoláin, John Updike, James Dickey, John Cheever, Doris Lessing, Joyce Carol Oates, Vladimir Nabokov, Michael Crichton, John le Carré, Irwin Shaw, Jean Shepherd, Arthur Koestler, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Bernard Malamud, John Irving, Anne Sexton, Nadine Gordimer, Kurt Vonnegut and J. Playboy_sentence_35 P. Donleavy, as well as poetry by Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Playboy_sentence_36

In 1968 at the feminist Miss America protest, protestors symbolically threw a number of feminine products into a "Freedom Trash Can". Playboy_sentence_37

These included copies of Playboy and Cosmopolitan magazines. Playboy_sentence_38

One of the key pamphlets produced by the protesters was "No More Miss America! Playboy_sentence_39

", by Robin Morgan, which listed 10 characteristics of the Miss America pageant that the authors believed degraded women; it compared the pageant to Playboy's centerfold as sisters under the skin, describing this as "The Unbeatable Madonna-Whore Combination". Playboy_sentence_40

Macauley contributed all of the popular Ribald Classics series published between January 1978 and March 1984. Playboy_sentence_41

Since reaching its peak in the 1970s, Playboy saw a decline in circulation and cultural relevance due to competition in the field it founded—first from Penthouse, then from Oui (which was published as a spin-off of Playboy) and Gallery in the 1970s; later from pornographic videos; and more recently from lad mags such as Maxim, FHM, and Stuff. Playboy_sentence_42

In response, Playboy has attempted to re-assert its hold on the 18–35-year-old male demographic through slight changes to content and focusing on issues and personalities more appropriate to its audience—such as hip-hop artists being featured in the "Playboy Interview". Playboy_sentence_43

Christie Hefner, daughter of founder Hugh Hefner, joined Playboy in 1975 and became head of the company in 1988. Playboy_sentence_44

She announced in December 2008 that she would be stepping down from leading the company, effective in January 2009, and said that the election of Barack Obama as the next President had inspired her to give more time to charitable work, and that the decision to step down was her own. Playboy_sentence_45

"Just as this country is embracing change in the form of new leadership, I have decided that now is the time to make changes in my own life as well", she said. Playboy_sentence_46

Post–2000 Playboy_section_3

The magazine celebrated its 50th anniversary with the January 2004 issue. Playboy_sentence_47

Celebrations were held at Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, and Moscow during the year to commemorate this event. Playboy_sentence_48

Playboy also launched limited-edition products designed by a number of notable fashion houses such as Versace, Vivienne Westwood and Sean John. Playboy_sentence_49

As a homage to the magazine's 50th anniversary, MAC Cosmetics released two limited-edition products, namely a lipstick and a glitter cream. Playboy_sentence_50

The magazine runs several annual features and ratings. Playboy_sentence_51

One of the most popular is its annual ranking of the top "party schools" among all U.S. universities and colleges. Playboy_sentence_52

In 2009, the magazine used five criteria: bikini, brains, campus, sex and sports in the development of its list. Playboy_sentence_53

The top-ranked party school by Playboy for 2009 was the University of Miami. Playboy_sentence_54

In June 2009, the magazine reduced its publication schedule to 11 issues per year, with a combined July/August issue. Playboy_sentence_55

On August 11, 2009, London's Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Hugh Hefner had sold his English manor house (next door to the famous Playboy Mansion) for $18 m ($10 m less than the reported asking price) to another American, Daren Metropoulos, the President and co-owner of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and that due to significant losses in the company's value (down from $1 billion in 2000 to $84 million in 2009), the Playboy publishing empire is up for sale for $300 million. Playboy_sentence_56

In December 2009, they further reduced the publication schedule to 10 issues per year, with a combined January/February issue. Playboy_sentence_57

On July 12, 2010, Playboy Enterprises Inc. announced Hefner's $5.50 per share offer ($122.5 million based on shares outstanding on April 30 and the closing price on July 9) to buy the portion of the company he did not already own and take the company private with the help of Rizvi Traverse Management LLC. Playboy_sentence_58

The company derives much of its income from licensing, rather than from the magazine. Playboy_sentence_59

On July 15, Penthouse owner FriendFinder Networks Inc. offered $210 million (the company is valued at $185 million), though Hefner, who already owned 70 percent of voting stock, did not want to sell. Playboy_sentence_60

In January 2011, the publisher of Playboy magazine agreed to an offer by Hefner to take the company private for $6.15 per share, an 18 percent premium over the price of the last previous day of trading. Playboy_sentence_61

The buyout was completed in March 2011. Playboy_sentence_62

2016–2018 changes and brief ending of full frontal nudity Playboy_section_4

In October 2015, Playboy announced that, starting with their March 2016 issue, the magazine would no longer feature full frontal nudity. Playboy_sentence_63

Playboy CEO Scott Flanders acknowledged the magazine's inability to compete with freely available internet pornography and nudity; according to him, "You're now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. Playboy_sentence_64

And so it's just passé at this juncture". Playboy_sentence_65

Hefner agreed with the decision. Playboy_sentence_66

The redesigned Playboy, however, would still feature a Playmate of the Month and pictures of women, but they would be rated as not appropriate for children under 13. Playboy_sentence_67

The move would not affect (which features nudity at a paid subscription). Playboy_sentence_68

Josh Horwitz of Quartz argued that the motivation for the decision to remove nudity from the magazine was to give Playboy Licensing a less inappropriate image in India and China, where the brand is a popular item on apparel and thus generates significant revenue. Playboy_sentence_69

Among other changes to the magazine included ending the popular jokes section and the various cartoons that appeared throughout the magazine. Playboy_sentence_70

The redesign eliminated the use of jump copy (articles continuing on non-consecutive pages), which in turn eliminated most of the space for cartoons. Playboy_sentence_71

Hefner, himself a former cartoonist, reportedly resisted dropping the cartoons more than the nudity, but ultimately obliged. Playboy_sentence_72

Playboy's plans were to market itself as a competitor to Vanity Fair, as opposed to more traditional competitors GQ and Maxim. Playboy_sentence_73

Playboy announced in February 2017, however, that the dropping of nudity had been a mistake and furthermore, for its March/April issue, reestablished some of its franchises, including the Playboy Philosophy and Party Jokes, but dropped the subtitle "Entertainment for Men", inasmuch as gender roles have evolved. Playboy_sentence_74

The announcement was made by the company's chief creative officer on Twitter with the hashtag #NakedIsNormal. Playboy_sentence_75

In 2017, the magazine announced that it would become a bi-monthly publication. Playboy_sentence_76

In early 2018, and according to Jim Puzzanghera of the Los Angeles Times, Playboy was reportedly "considering killing the print magazine", as the publication "has lost as much as $7 million annually in recent years". Playboy_sentence_77

However, in the July/August 2018 issue a reader asked if the print magazine would discontinue, and Playboy responded that it was not going anywhere. Playboy_sentence_78

In September 2018, the magazine announced that it would move to publishing quarterly, beginning in 2019. Playboy_sentence_79

Online-only Playboy_section_5

In March 2020, Ben Kohn, CEO of Playboy Enterprises, announced that the Spring 2020 issue would be the last regularly scheduled printed issue and that the magazine would now publish its content online. Playboy_sentence_80

The decision to close the print edition was attributed in part to the COVID-19 pandemic which interfered with distribution of the magazine. Playboy_sentence_81

Circulation history and statistics Playboy_section_6

The best-selling Playboy edition was the November 1972 edition, which sold 7,161,561 copies. Playboy_sentence_82

One-quarter of all American college men were buying or subscribing to the magazine every month. Playboy_sentence_83

On the cover was model Pam Rawlings, photographed by Rowland Scherman. Playboy_sentence_84

Perhaps coincidentally, a cropped image of the issue's centerfold (which featured Lena Söderberg) became a de facto standard image for testing image processing algorithms. Playboy_sentence_85

It is known simply as the "Lenna" (also "Lena") image in that field. Playboy_sentence_86

In 1970, Playboy became the first gentleman's magazine to be printed in braille. Playboy_sentence_87

It is also one of the few magazines whose microfilm format was in color, not black and white. Playboy_sentence_88

Features and format Playboy_section_7

Rabbit logo Playboy_section_8

Playboy's iconic and enduring mascot, a stylized silhouette of a rabbit wearing a tuxedo bow tie, was created by Playboy art director Art Paul for the second issue as an endnote, but was adopted as the official logo and has appeared ever since. Playboy_sentence_89

A running joke in the magazine involves hiding the logo somewhere in the cover art or photograph. Playboy_sentence_90

Hefner said he chose the rabbit for its "humorous sexual connotation", and because the image was "frisky and playful". Playboy_sentence_91

In an interview Hefner explained his choice of a rabbit as Playboy's logo to the Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci: Playboy_sentence_92

The jaunty rabbit was quickly made into a popular symbol of extroverted male culture, becoming a lucrative source of merchandizing revenue for Playboy. Playboy_sentence_93

In the 1950s, it was adopted as the military aircraft insignia for the Navy's VX-4 fighter-evaluation squadron. Playboy_sentence_94

The Playboy Interview Playboy_section_9

Besides its centerfold, a major part of Playboy for much of its existence has been the Playboy Interview, an extensive (usually several thousand-word) discussion between a notable individual and an interviewer (historian Alex Haley, for example, served as a Playboy interviewer on a few occasions; one of his interviews was with Martin Luther King Jr.; he also interviewed Malcolm X and American Nazi Party founder George Lincoln Rockwell in the April 1966 issue, then coauthored Malcolm X's autobiography). Playboy_sentence_95

One of the magazine's most notable interviews was a discussion with then-presidential candidate Jimmy Carter in the November 1976 issue, in which he stated "I've committed adultery in my heart many times." Playboy_sentence_96

David Sheff's interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono appeared in the January 1981 issue, which was on newsstands at the time of Lennon's murder; the interview was later published in book format. Playboy_sentence_97

Another interview-type section, entitled "20Q" (a play on the game of Twenty Questions), was added in October 1978. Playboy_sentence_98

Cheryl Tiegs was the first interviewee for the section. Playboy_sentence_99

Rock the Rabbit Playboy_section_10

"Rock the Rabbit" was an annual music news and pictorial feature published in the March edition. Playboy_sentence_100

The pictorial featured images of rock bands photographed by music photographer Mick Rock. Playboy_sentence_101

Fashion designers participated in the Rock the Rabbit event by designing T-shirts inspired by Playboy's rabbit head logo for each band. Playboy_sentence_102

The shirts were sold at Playboy's retailers and auctioned off to raise money for AIDS at LIFEbeat: The Music Industry Fights AIDS. Playboy_sentence_103

Notable bands who were featured include: MGMT, Daft Punk, Iggy Pop, Duran Duran, Flaming Lips, Snow Patrol, and The Killers. Playboy_sentence_104

Photographers Playboy_section_11

Many notable photographers have contributed to Playboy, including Ken Marcus, Richard Fegley, Arny Freytag, Ron Harris, Tom Kelley, David Mecey, Russ Meyer, Pompeo Posar, Suze Randall, Herb Ritts, Stephen Wayda, Sam Wu, Mario Casilli, Ana Dias, Ellen von Unwerth, Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, and Bunny Yeager. Playboy_sentence_105

Celebrities Playboy_section_12

For a full listing, see List of people in Playboy 1953–1959, 1960–1969, 1970–1979, 1980–1989, 1990–1999, 2000–2009, 2010–2020 Playboy_sentence_106

Many celebrities (singers, actresses, models, etc.) have posed for Playboy over the years. Playboy_sentence_107

This list is only a small portion of those who have posed. Playboy_sentence_108

Some of them are: Playboy_sentence_109

Other editions Playboy_section_13

Playboy Special Editions Playboy_section_14

Main article: Playboy Special Edition Playboy_sentence_110

The success of Playboy magazine has led PEI to market other versions of the magazine, the Special Editions (formerly called Newsstand Specials), such as Playboy's College Girls and Playboy's Book of Lingerie, as well as the Playboy video collection. Playboy_sentence_111

Braille Playboy_section_15

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has published a braille edition of Playboy since 1970. Playboy_sentence_112

The braille version includes all the written words in the non-braille magazine, but no pictorial representations. Playboy_sentence_113

Congress cut off funding for the braille magazine translation in 1985, but U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan reversed the decision on First Amendment grounds. Playboy_sentence_114

International editions Playboy_section_16

Current Playboy_section_17

Former Playboy_section_18

Online Playboy_section_19

The growth of the Internet prompted the magazine to develop an official web presence called Playboy Online or, which is the official website for Playboy Enterprises, and an online companion to Playboy magazine. Playboy_sentence_115

The site has been available online since 1994. Playboy_sentence_116

As part of the online presence, Playboy developed a pay web site called the Playboy Cyber Club in 1995 which features online chats, additional pictorials, videos of Playmates and Playboy Cyber Girls that are not featured in the magazine. Playboy_sentence_117

Archives of past Playboy articles and interviews are also included. Playboy_sentence_118

In September 2005, Playboy launched the online edition of the magazine Playboy Digital. Playboy_sentence_119

In 2010, Playboy introduced The Smoking Jacket, a safe-for-work website designed to appeal to young men, while avoiding nude images or key words that would cause the site to be filtered or otherwise prohibited in the workplace. Playboy_sentence_120

In May 2011, Playboy introduced, a complete, uncensored version of its near-700 issue archive, targeting the Apple iPad. Playboy_sentence_121

By launching the archive as a web app, Playboy was able to circumvent both Apple's App Store content restrictions and their 30% subscription fee. Playboy_sentence_122

Litigation and legal issues Playboy_section_20

Further information: Playboy Enterprises, Inc. v. Netscape Communications Corp. Playboy_sentence_123

On January 14, 2004, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Playboy Enterprises Inc.'s trademark terms "Playboy" and "Playmate" should be protected in the situation where a user typing "Playboy" or "Playmate" in a browser search was instead shown advertisements of companies that competed with PEI. Playboy_sentence_124

This decision reversed an earlier district court ruling. Playboy_sentence_125

The suit started on April 15, 1999, when Playboy sued and Netscape for trademark infringement. Playboy_sentence_126

Censorship Playboy_section_21

Many in the American religious community opposed the publication of Playboy. Playboy_sentence_127

The Louisiana pastor and author L. L. Clover wrote in his 1974 treatise, Evil Spirits, Intellectualism and Logic, that Playboy encouraged young men to view themselves as "pleasure-seeking individuals for whom sex is fun and women are play things." Playboy_sentence_128

In many parts of Asia, including India, mainland China, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and Brunei, sale and distribution of Playboy is banned. Playboy_sentence_129

In addition, sale and distribution is banned in most Muslim countries (except Lebanon and Turkey) in Asia and Africa, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. Playboy_sentence_130

Despite the ban on the magazine in these countries, the official Playboy brand itself can still appear on various merchandise, such as perfume and deodorants. Playboy_sentence_131

While banned in mainland China, the magazine is sold in Hong Kong. Playboy_sentence_132

In Japan, where genitals of models cannot be shown, a separate edition was published under license by Shueisha. Playboy_sentence_133

An Indonesian edition was launched in April 2006, but controversy started before the first issue hit the stands. Playboy_sentence_134

Though the publisher said the content of the Indonesian edition will be different from the original edition, the government tried to ban it by using anti-pornography rules. Playboy_sentence_135

A Muslim organization, the Islamic Defenders Front (IDF), opposed Playboy on the grounds of pornography. Playboy_sentence_136

On April 12, about 150 IDF members clashed with police and stoned the editorial offices. Playboy_sentence_137

Despite this, the edition quickly sold out. Playboy_sentence_138

On April 6, 2007, the chief judge of the case dismissed the charges because they had been incorrectly filed. Playboy_sentence_139

In 1986, the American convenience store chain 7-Eleven removed the magazine. Playboy_sentence_140

The store returned Playboy to its shelves in late 2003. Playboy_sentence_141

7-Eleven had also been selling Penthouse and other similar magazines before the ban. Playboy_sentence_142

In 1995, Playboy was returned to shelves in the Republic of Ireland after a 36-year ban, despite staunch opposition from many women's groups. Playboy_sentence_143

Playboy was not sold in the state of Queensland, Australia during 2004 and 2005, but returned as of 2006. Playboy_sentence_144

Due to declining sales, the last Australia-wide edition of Playboy was the January 2000 issue. Playboy_sentence_145

In 2013, Playboy was cleared by the Pentagon of violating its rule against selling sexually explicit material on military property, but the base exchanges stopped selling it anyway. Playboy_sentence_146

In March 2018, Playboy announced that they would be deactivating their Facebook accounts, due to the "sexually repressive" nature of the social media platform and their mismanagement of user data resulting from the Cambridge Analytica problem. Playboy_sentence_147

Books Playboy_section_22

General compilations Playboy_sentence_148


  • Nick Stone, editor. The Bedside Playboy. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1963.Playboy_item_0_0

Anniversary collections Playboy_sentence_149


  • Jacob Dodd, editor. The Playboy Book: Forty Years. Santa Monica, California: General Publishing Group, 1994, ISBN 1-881649-03-2Playboy_item_1_1
  • Playboy: 50 Years, The Photographs. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2003, ISBN 0-8118-3978-8Playboy_item_1_2
  • Nick Stone, editor; Michelle Urry, cartoon editor. Playboy: 50 Years, The Cartoons. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2004. ISBN 0-8118-3976-1Playboy_item_1_3
  • Gretchen Edgren, editor. The Playboy Book: Fifty Years. Taschen, 1995. ISBN 3-8228-3976-0Playboy_item_1_4

Interview compilations Playboy_sentence_150


See also Playboy_section_23


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: