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Interview: Hugh Hefner

By S.I. ROSENBAUM  |  August 15, 2010

So did you know you were creating a new persona, or did you just want to get a little hipper?
Well, I knew I was reinventing myself. A lot of people do that in one way or another, but this was a little more dramatic. And even more dramatic with Playboy. I started Playboy in 1953, but it was in 1959 and '60, in the space of four or five months, that I reinvented myself and became Mister Playboy. We had just celebrated our fifth anniversary for the magazine with a memorable jazz festival in Chicago, and then that fall I started hosting a syndicated television show called Playboy's Penthouse. Within the space of three or four months, I started hosting that television show, I bought the first Playboy Mansion in Chicago, and I opened the first Playboy Club. And by the end of the year I was world-famous.

Have you ever felt nervous or self-conscious about this kind of stuff?
I suppose. Nothing comes to mind.

What do you want to do now? Are there projects you still want to do?
We're kind of at a celebratory time that's really the peak of it all! The documentary is certainly a part of it. I'm looking back on a life well lived with great satisfaction, celebrating that life, the brand is hot again . . . so a lot of good things are coming together.

So you're feeling pretty good.
I'm feeling very, very good. Well, this has been an enjoyable conversation. I'm going to go look for some "porn!"

Be careful all right? It's a strange internet out there.
I will.

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