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Hollywood reacts to the death of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner

© PRNewsFoto / Playboy Enterprises, Inc. © PRNewsFoto / Playboy Enterprises, Inc.


By Liam Mathews,

Hugh Hefner, the iconic founder of Playboy Enterprises, which started as a magazine and grew into a lifestyle (and powerful media and entertainment company), died Wednesday. He was 91.

Hefner founded Playboy in 1953 when he was 27. It was a reaction to the puritanical social mores of the era, and Hefner embodied the magazine's libertarian and intellectual (and fantastical) ethos. His legacy is a complicated one -- in its heyday, the magazine published thought-provoking articles and fiction from authors including Vladimir Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut and James Baldwin and pushed free speech forward. But the Playboy lifestyle was sexist, treating women as collectible sex objects.

Hollywood reacted to his death with memories of parties at the Playboy Mansion and Hefner's loyalty and generosity.

Bridget Marquardt, one of his ex-girlfriends who starred on the reality show The Girls Next Door about life in the Playboy Mansion, remembered the good times.

So sad but forever grateful for all the wonderful memories and amazing experiences #RIPHef #Playboy ?? pic.twitter.com/RkHje7h0Un

— Bridget Marquardt (@Bridget) September 28, 2017

Marquandt is so far the only one of the stars of The Girls Next Door to give a statement on social media about Hefner's death, though Kendra Wilkinson told Us Weekly that Hefner changed her life and she will miss him. The cast also included Holly Madison, the Shannon Twins and Crystal Harris, the latter of whom Hefner married after the show was over.

Other women who posed for the magazine paid their respects.

RIP to the legendary Hugh Hefner! I'm so honored to have been a part of the Playboy team! You will be greatly missed! Love you Hef! Xoxo

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) September 28, 2017

Going to miss Hef!??And yes so many fun times with you at the #PlayboyMansion. ?? #LingerieParty

— Paris Hilton (@ParisHilton) September 28, 2017

RIP #Hef Thank you for being a revolutionary and changing so many people's lives, especially mine. I hope I made you proud. ??#PMOY 94 ?? pic.twitter.com/sF9ARYgEpw

— Jenny McCarthy (@JennyMcCarthy) September 28, 2017

I'm am honored that I had the privilege to be apart of the Playboy world! It was a magical time in my life.We'll miss you #RIPHughHefner

— Coco (@cocosworld) September 28, 2017

Pamela Anderson, the woman perhaps most closely associated with Playboy -- she appeared on the cover 13 times -- posted a tearful video on Instagram.

Some of Hefner's myriad famous friends said farewell, too.

Hugh Hefner was a strong supporter of the civil rights movement. We shall never forget him. May he Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/oL3lKLZRQ5

— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) September 28, 2017

Hugh Hefner was a GIANT in publishing, journalism, free speech & civil rights. He was a true original, and he was my friend. Rest well Hef. pic.twitter.com/bJ1wxoK4gR

— Larry King (@kingsthings) September 28, 2017

We love you #hef #HughHefner pic.twitter.com/gr5DXSH22D

— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) September 28, 2017

I had a number of great conversations and with Hugh Hefner. Was such an interesting man. True legend. What an end of an era!

— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) September 28, 2017

Hefner is survived by his wife; his daughter, Christie; and his sons, David, Marston and Cooper, the latter of whom has taken over as the Chief Creative Officer of Playboy.

Hefner will be buried in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles in the plot next to Marilyn Monroe, who was on the cover of the first issue of Playboy.

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