Here's what's new and interesting in entertainment and the arts:
- Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan officially join 'American Idol'
- Olivia de Havilland scores court victory; trial will begin Nov. 27
- 'Sex and the City 3'? Nope, not happening, says Sarah Jessica Parker
- Beyoncé goes bilingual on new remix of 'Mi Gente' for disaster relief
- Lynda Carter calls out James Cameron for his 'Wonder Woman' jabs
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus gets support from Joe Biden after cancer diagnosis
Hugh Hefner, the incurable playboy who built a publishing and entertainment empire on the idea that Americans should shed their puritanical hang-ups and enjoy sex, has died, according to a Playboy spokesperson. He was 91.
Hefner was the founder of Playboy magazine, launched amid the conservatism of the 1950s, when marriage and domesticity conferred social status. Hefner pitched an alternative standard — swinging singlehood — which portrayed the desire for sex as normal as craving apple pie. He redefined the status for a generation of men, replacing lawn mowers and fishing gear with new symbols: martini glasses, a cashmere sweater and a voluptuous girlfriend, the necessary components of a new lifestyle that melded sex and materialism.
Thus, in Playboy magazine, the upwardly mobile man could ogle pictures of naked women called Playmates, chosen personally by Hefner for their large busts and girl-next-door wholesomeness. Surrounding the titillating visuals were interviews with luminaries from Albert Schweitzer to Malcolm X; short stories by such leading writers as Ernest Hemingway and John Updike; and advice columns on such matters as how to prepare the perfect vodka gimlet or appreciate jazz — all of which lent credence to many men's claims that they bought the magazine for the articles.
This combination of flesh and intellectuality made Playboy the world's bestselling men's magazine and Hefner a millionaire many times over.