Introduction by Hugh M Hefner.
In celebration of Playboy magazine's 50th anniversary, TASCHEN brings you this ultimate Playboy Playmate tribute featuring each and every Playmate of the Month since issue number one.
Beginning with Marilyn Monroe herself and including such favorites as Pamela Anderson, Anna Nicole Smith, and Jenny McCarthy, this chronological look at the history of Playboy centerfolds includes photos of the Playmates as well as updated personal information about their lives to this day - just enough to spark your memory or pique your interest and surely leaving you yearning for more...
Hugh Marston Hefner was born in Chicago on April 9, 1926. The first issue of Playboy magazine, featuring the now-famous calendar photo of Marilyn Monroe, was produced in 1953 on a card table in his South Side apartment. Playboy grew at a phenomenal rate and by the end of the decade, the magazine was selling more than a million copies a month. At the start of the Sixties, Hef 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, and opened the first Playboy Club on the Near North Side of Chicago.
Throughout the Sixties, Hef and Playboy became what Chicago columnist Bob Greene has called a force of nature. Hef wrote an extended series of editorials titled The Playboy Philosophy, championing the rights of the individual and challenging the country's heritage of puritan repression.
By 1971, when Playboy Enterprises went public, the magazine was selling 7 million copies a month and there were 23 Playboy Clubs, resorts, hotels and casinos with more than 900,000 members worldwide. Hef established a second residence in Los Angeles, which quickly became known as Playboy Mansion West, and in 1975 decided to settle there permanently. In 1980, Hef championed the reconstruction of the Hollywood sign (then in serious disrepair) and was honored with a star on the Hollywood walk of fame for his efforts. Since the mid-Eighties, daughter Christie Hefner has served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Playboy Enterprises, but Hef continues to serve as the magazine's editor-in-chief.