Our History

  • 1953

    PLAYBOY 1953

    In December, Hugh Hefner publishes the first issue of Playboy magazine, featuring Marilyn Monroe on the cover. The inaugural issue sells more than 50,000 copies.

    Playboy’s first art director, Art Paul, reportedly designs the Playboy logo in 10 minutes.

  • 1955

    PLAYBOY 1955

    After struggling for almost two years, Hef takes the U.S. Postal Service to court and successfully wins second-class mailing privileges.

    The company begins marketing cufflinks, the first of many licensed products that help the Rabbit-head logo become one of the world’s most recognized symbols.

    After it's rejected by Esquire, Hef publishes “The Crooked Man,” Charles Beaumont’s short story about straight men facing persecution in a world where homosexuality is the norm.

  • 1956

    PLAYBOY 1956

    Playboy expands the Playmate feature from a two-page spread to a three- page centerfold. The term “centerfold” becomes part of the cultural lexicon as the standard term for pinup photography.

  • 1959

    PLAYBOY 1959

    Hef hosts Playboy’s Penthouse, the company’s first foray into television.

    The first Playboy Jazz Festival sells out Chicago Stadium.

    The Hugh Hefner lifestyle goes into overdrive as he purchases the Playboy Mansion at 1340 North State Parkway on Chicago’s Gold Coast.

  • 1960

    PLAYBOY 1960

    Ian Fleming introduces James Bond to the world within the pages of Playboy magazine.

  • 1961

    The Playboy Club and Playboy Bunny debut and are instant hits in Chicago. “Keyholder” memberships go for $25; drinks, cigarettes and meals cost $1.50.

    The Playboy Club breaks an important racial barrier by booking Dick Gregory, the first black comedian to perform in a white nightclub in the U.S. Aretha Franklin also performs for the first time in front of a white audience at the Playboy Club in Chicago.

    The first issue of VIP, the magazine for Club keyholders, debuts.

    Facing jail time, Hef shuts down the New Orleans Playboy Club to combat segregation. Southern TV stations boycott Playboy’s Penthouse when Hef refuses to remove Sammy Davis Jr. and Ella Fitzgerald from the show’s first episode.

  • 1965

    PLAYBOY 1965

    Jennifer Jackson is named Playboy magazine’s first black Playmate in March 1965.

  • 1966

    PLAYBOY 1966

    Playboy Clubs reach overseas to London with a club and casino that attracts 20,000 keyholders before its official opening. It rapidly becomes the most successful operation of its kind in Great Britain.

    The first ever Playboy Interview is published with jazz legend Miles Davis.

  • 1967

    PLAYBOY 1967

    In solidarity with the African-American civil-rights movement, Playboy features interviews with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and other leaders.

  • 1968

    PLAYBOY 1968

    Filming begins on the revamped Playboy’s Penthouse, now known as Playboy After Dark. The show features performances by music icons like Sonny & Cher, James Brown and Marvin Gaye.

  • 1969

    PLAYBOY 1969

    The Big Bunny, Playboy’s all-black private jet, lands at Playboy Enterprises.

    Playboy Productions, a new motion picture and television division of the company, opens in Los Angeles.

  • 1970

    PLAYBOY 1970

    Funded by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, the production of a Braille edition of Playboy launches.

    Hef funds NORML, the first group fighting for the legalization of Marijuana in the U.S.

  • 1971

    PLAYBOY 1971

    Playboy purchases the infamous Playboy Mansion West in Los Angeles’ Holmby Hills neighborhood for $1.1 Million.

    The magazine features its rst African- American cover star, model Darine Stern.

    Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (PLA) goes public with listings on the New York and Paci c Stock exchanges.

  • 1972

    Playboy launches its first foreign edition in Germany.

    Playboy formalizes its international product licensing business, signing an agreement to distribute products throughout Japan.

    The November 1972 issue sells over 7.16 million copies, making it the highest- selling issue of Playboy ever.

  • 1976

    PLAYBOY 1976

    Membership in the Playboy Clubs reaches an all-time high of 230,000 keyholders.

  • 1979

    PLAYBOY 1979

    Hef’s daughter, Christie Hefner, founds the Playboy Foundation’s Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards.

  • 1982

    PLAYBOY 1982

    Membership in the Playboy Clubs reaches an all-time high of 230,000 keyholders.

  • 1988

    PLAYBOY 1988

    Christie Hefner becomes Chairman of the Board and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (Hef remains Editor-in- Chief and Chairman Emeritus.) Christie goes on to become the longest-serving female chairman and CEO of a U.S. public company and is featured as one of Forbes’ “Most Powerful Women in the World.”

  • 1991

    PLAYBOY 1991

    Playboy publishes its first pictorial featuring a transgender model, Caroline “Tula” Cossey.

  • 1999

    PLAYBOY 1999

    Playboy Fashion makes its global debut, spreading its fun-loving style across the world.

  • 2002

    PLAYBOY 2002

    Playboy Fashion debuts in Asia with a free-standing boutique, prompting brand growth and store openings around the globe.

  • 2003

    PLAYBOY 2003

    Playboy’s 50th anniversary includes a special collectors’ issue of the magazine and the release of limited-edition Playboy products. Lavish parties are held at the Mansion and the New York Armory for A-list guests. Public parties are held nationwide as well.

  • 2005

    PLAYBOY 2005

    The Girls Next Door launches on E! and is syndicated in over 100 countries worldwide.

  • 2009

    Christie Hefner steps down as CEO. Playboy hires Scott Flanders as her replacement. Hef continues as the Editor- in-Chief and Chief Creative Officer.

  • 2010

    PLAYBOY 2010

    Playboy Club Cancun opens. Playboy celebrates its 50th Anniversary of the Playboy Bunny and the Playboy Club with 50 parties in 50 cities around the world, all in one night.

  • 2011

    PLAYBOY 2011

    Playboy Club returns to London. Playboy is taken private in a deal led by Hef and new partner Rizvi Traverse.

  • 2012

    Hef pens an article endorsing marriage equality. Entitled “Sexual Freedom,” the piece runs in the magazine and many of Playboy’s international editions.

    Playboy relocates its global headquarters to Beverly Hills, moving from Chicago.

  • 2014

    PLAYBOY 2014

    Playboy celebrates its 60th Anniversary with Kate Moss.

    Playboy.com implements a new content strategy that is safe-for-work.

  • 2016

    PLAYBOY 2016

    Playboy magazine goes non-nude. Later that year, Ben Kohn steps in as CEO.

    Hef steps aside and Cooper Hefner is appointed Chief Creative Offcer of Playboy Enterprises.

  • 2017

    PLAYBOY 2017

    Under the direction of Cooper Hefner, Playboy magazine returns to nudity with the “Naked is Normal” issue.

    The docuseries American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story premieres on Amazon Prime.

    Playboy unveils it’s first trans-gender Playmate, Ines Rau, in November 2017.

    Playboy founder Hugh Hefner passes away at the age of 91 in September 2017. He holds the record as the longest serving Editor-in-Chief in American history.

  • 2018

    PLAYBOY 2018

    Playboy.com launches its NSFW digital membership space.