Arts

Hugh Hefner (1926 - 2017)  Seven things you didn't know

LOOKING BACK | He was famous for the Playboy empire, but Hefner also did a lot of scrapbooking.

Hugh Hefner is well known for establishing Playboy magazine, which led the entire Playboy empire.

Hefner died Wednesday in his home in Los Angeles at 91. Playboy Enterprises has confirmed that he died of natural causes. Many know Hefner from the famous Playboy Mansion or from his many exploits as a playboy himself. He was often surrounded by women and regarded as a sleaze. However, there are a few things about him that might surprise you.

The New York Times

1. He set the Guinness World Record for scrapbooking

Early @playboy 🐰#favoriteyears #scrapbooksaturday #playboyclub

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In 2011, Hefner earned a Guinness World Record for his obsessive scrapbooking. He had the largest collection in the world with nearly 3,000 scrapbooks. They contain pictures from his time at Playboy and photos surrounding visitors to the Mansion. They even go back to when he was just six months old. Hefner went so far as to employ his own personal archivist to help compile these books. While not included in the award, he also has several thousand hours of personal tapes of himself filed away.

2. He saved the Hollywood sign not once, but twice

Getty Images

In the 1970s, the city decided that the sign was in disrepair and needed a complete rebuilding, which would cost about $250,000. Hefner stepped up and organized a gala fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion, where the old sign letters were auctioned off to raise money. And in 2010, he stepped up again when a Chicago-based investment group said the property would be sold unless it could raise $12.5 million. Hefner donated $900,000 of his own money to effectively halt the sale.

3. He was a philanthropist and civil rights advocate

Cheers 🍸 #scrapbooksaturday

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Throughout his life, Hefner was a vocal activist for LGBT rights and supported same-sex marriage. He also advocated for civil rights. He even bought out two franchised Playboy Clubs because of their discriminatory practices. The two clubs were based in New Orleans and Miami and routinely refused to hire black women and discouraged black membership. Hefner bought the clubs at a significant financial loss and said that he wouldn't stand for that kind of behavior in Playboy Clubs.

4. He founded Playboy after failing to receive a raise at Esquire

Playboy's 25 anniversary #scrapbooksaturday

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Hefner's first real job was as a copywriter for Esquire magazine. He quit in 1952 after his request for a $5 raise was denied. Before that, he had served in the U.S. Army in the 1940s and then attended the University of Illinois and earned degrees in psychology and creative writing and art. After quitting his job at Esquire, he raised $8,000 from 50 investors (including his mother) to found Playboy just a year later in 1953.

5. An endangered rabbit is named after him

Wiki Commons

The Playboy bunny is a huge part of the brand that allowed the empire to expand into clubs, casinos and more around the world. But Hefner also has a real life animal breed named after him. Sylvilagus palustris hefneri, also known as the Lower Keys rabbit, bears his name to recognize his financial support. The rabbit was named in 1980 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Hefner's infamous Playboy Mansion also had a zoo license, which allowed it to house many exotic animals.

6. He is a distant relative of both George W. Bush and John Kerry

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Hefner is ninth cousins to both former President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry. He is twice removed from Bush, but only once removed from Kerry. Hefner also claimed he was an 11th generation descendant of William Bradford, who came over on the Mayflower. That would make him a direct descendant of a Puritan.

7. He planned to be buried next to Marilyn Monroe

In 1992, Hefner purchased the crypt next door to Monroe at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery for $75,000. His plan was to be interred next to her for eternity, which will now become a reality. Before she was famous, Monroe was on the cover Playboy's first issue. She was also featured in the centerfold. Hefner found the already five-year-old photo of Monroe while looking through the files of a Chicago calendar company. He bought the photo for $500.


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FILM & TV

Watch the warring sides shift in 'American Gods' Ep. 5

TELEVISION | "Lemon Scented You" reunites the full cast and reveals the big movers behind the battle

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Laura flexes her decomposing muscles and the New Gods introduce their leader (plus a few familiar faces of fame).

"The last time I kicked a guy in the nuts," says undead Laura to Mad Sweeney, "My foot didn't stop until it reached his throat." That kick was in the fantastic Episode 4 (and Ep. 1) and comes back in this week's show as a threat to the Leprechaun, who's furiously searching for his lucky coin. Laura, with coin lodged safely in her stomach and after watching Shadow disappear in the back of a police car, quickly shows Sweeney the new powers she's accidentally been given and plays dead while he's taken off in another police car.

Episode 5—"Lemon Scented You"—of American Gods features more intervention by the real world than even the show's premiere, and that was before most of the gods had even entered the script.

(Spoilers below.)

Mr. World.

Pause for Ep. 4 appreciation:

Before we get to this week's episode, some thanks are due to the writers for giving us another, slow-motion look, last week, at Laura's rescue of Shadow from the end of the first episode. One look had not been enough to appreciate the gruesome style of that blood-soaked scene and Laura's godlike moves—including her Chuck Norris-worthy kick.

Our thanks, also, for a hilarious, surprising, incredible showcase of storytelling prowess that was "Git Gone." In another example of the writers' patience, the episode uses its entire fifty-five minutes to explore Laura's love story with Shadow, her affair with Robbie, her brief trip to confound Anubis in the afterlife and her return to the world of the living. Only this kind of patience could have built up the foundation of realism that made her scene with Audrey in Audrey's bathroom so completely hilarious.

"Are you haunting me?" Audrey asks her, standing in the shower, perfectly, comically terrified. "Not on purpose," Laura replies. "I needed craft supplies."

On a last lingering note about Ep. 4: enjoy that rocking song, "Queen of the Bored," by composer Brian Reitzell and Garbage's Shirley Manson on Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube:

Back to last night's Ep. 5:

"Gods are great but people are greater," says the narrator of the opening scene, in which the elder, Atsula, sacrifices herself for the salvation of her people and Nunyunnini, their god, lies, forgotten, to weather away under the layers of time.

This short story, told completely through CGI, introduces the premise for the episode: that no matter the might of the god, all of his or her power depends on their followers, their audience, their people. (Side note: if Starz can budget scenes like this in every episode, why can't Game of Thrones put a dragon in every scene?)

And that is what finally brings the leader of the New Gods into the picture with a proposition for Wednesday, the representative of the Old. The utterly intimidating Mr. World and Gillian-Anderson-as-Media-as-Marylin-Monroe offer Wednesday an opportunity to work together, to re-brand—to sell out: "We want to help you find your audience."

An opportunity that Wednesday politely declines.

No surprise there, but this scene at the police station complicates the divide between the warring sides: it's not only New vs. Old; it's also Old vs. Young. Mr. World and Technical Boy might be on the same team, but they're not friends. "This man is older than you will ever be," Mr. World scolds Tech Boy after he disrespects Wednesday. Mr. World has as much resentment for Technical Boy's immaturity as he has for Wednesday's stubbornness.

The fifth episode of American Gods has many more great moments: Media-as-Bowie, Wednesday's Patrick Bateman moment as he nonchalantly tells the disbelieving cops the whole truth about his trip to Chicago ("I was recruiting a tired, but still vital, god of death."), Laura's fight with Sweeney. And behind all of this, the war looms and the armies continue to grow.

Follow American Gods on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

Watch Episode 6 this Sunday at 9pm Eastern.


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marilyn monroe death cover up

Marilyn Monroe died on August 5 1962 and over fifty years after her death, she remains one of the most famous blondes in the world—instantly recognizable as a beautiful, yet tragic icon.

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Her death has been shrouded in mystery since the news of her 'overdose' broke and there has been endless speculation around her complicated love life and how that may have led to her early demise.

The Theory

The coroner's report states that 36 year old Monroe had taken too many barbiturates, resulting in her death.  The official story is that Marilyn's housekeeper Eunice Murray woke at 3.30 am to see Marilyn's light on and the door locked.  Concerned, she called Monroe's psychiatrist, Dr Greenson who arrived shortly after.  He went to the bedroom window and saw Marilyn lifeless on the bed.  He broke the window and entered to find her dead, face down, still holding the phone.

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It is well known now that Monroe had been involved in an affair with the President, John Kennedy that had got messy. JFK had tried to distance himself from the screen siren who believed he would leave his wife Jackie and marry her, Monroe had become unstable, clingy and therefore dangerous.  Attorney General and brother of the President, Robert Kennedy had been sent to LA to convince Marilyn to stop calling the White House—however he couldn't resist her charms and began his own affair with the troubled actress.

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The coroner also noted; " Miss Monroe has suffered from psychiatric disturbance for a long time.  One more than one occasion...when disappointed or depressed, she has made a suicide attempt.  On these occasions, she has been rescued.  It is our opinion that the same pattern was repeated except for the rescue."

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There are just too many contradictory facts however, to believe the official line that Marilyn died by her own hand—either deliberately or overdosing by accident.  Many theories as to the culprit of her murder have been bandied about;  Dr Greenson, Robert Kennedy, the Mafia, the CIA....whoever was responsible one thing is for sure: Marilyn did not kill herself.

The "Proof"

  • There were no traces of pills found in Marilyn's stomach during the autopsy or the highly colored coating of the tablets she was claimed to have swallowed.
  • Police found no drinking vessel in the room nor any water or alcohol—how would she have swallowed enough tablets to kill her with nothing to wash them down?
  • In later interviews, Eunice Murray said she discovered the body 'about midnight' and that contrary to her police statement, the door was not locked.  This means that the story from Dr Greenson about breaking the bedroom window to get in was a lie.
  • Both Kennedy brothers had relationships with Marilyn and may have gone too far in their pillow talk, revealing political secrets to her.
  • When she was rejected first by Jack, then Bobby, she threatened to go public and reveal not only the affairs but the secrets she knew.
  • There is evidence that Bobby Kennedy was in Los Angeles the weekend she died (contrary to his alibi).  This has also been confirmed by Peter Lawford's mother.
  • Mafia wiretapper Bernard Spindel confessed to having bugged Marilyn's house, and says that Bobby visited Marilyn on the night she died, along with Peter Lawford, and that they had a huge argument which he recorded.  Bobby was trying to break off his own affair with her, demanding no more calls or letters. The tapes of that night were seized by the DA in 1966 and 'routinely destroyed'.
  • Eunice Murray also confirmed decades later that Robert Kennedy had visited Marilyn the day of her death and that they had a fight.  She claimed in an interview "It got so sticky that the protectors of Robert Kennedy stepped in".
  • Marilyn's publicist, Arthur Jacobs, was told of her overdose as early as 10.30 pm and Peter Lawford (Marilyn's Hollywood friend and brother in law of President and Robert Kennedy) knew she was dead by 1 am, according to Jacobs' wife.
  • Police weren't notified until 4.30 am, leaving several hours unaccounted for.
  • A 1982 investigation by the LA District Attorney revealed a statement by Walt Schaefer, head of Schaefer Ambulance that an ambulance was called while Marilyn was still alive.  He said; "[The ambulance] took her to Santa Monica Hospital.  She passed away at the hospital."  Her body was then returned home.
  • It is claimed that an enema of broken down pills of Nembutal and chloral hydrates (both sleeping pills) was administered to Marilyn in her bedroom room with a final lethal injection being given in the ambulance.
  • Marilyn's body was left, face down, meaning that after death when the blood in the body goes to the lowest point by gravity, it would render the injection mark in the crease of her breast invisible.
  • There was no vomit when she was found and no smell of drugs, as would have been usual with an overdose.
  • Schaefer Ambulance attendant James Edwin Hall confirmed he was on the scene around midnight and that at that time she was just still alive.
  • Hall and a colleague fought to save her life and transferred her to the ambulance. Greenson stepped in and rode with them in the ambulance claiming her was her Doctor.  He ten administered the injection of undiluted pentobarbital into her heart whilst in the ambulance.
  • There are allegations that Marilyn was also having an affair with her shrink, Greenson.  Terrified of this being made public (which would have ruined his career and landed him in jail), it has been suggested that Bobby had discovered this affair (due to the surveillance she was under by the FBI) and pretty much blackmailed Dr Greenson into administering the lethal injection.
  • The first police officer to arrive on the scene, Jack Clemmons, believed Marilyn's bedroom had been staged.  The house was tidy, the bed linen was fresh and Murray was doing laundry.
  • There is a verified CIA memorandum asserting that Marilyn intended to go public with sensitive information learned from the Kennedy brothers.
  • Dr Greenson was taped stating that he could not tell the whole story and that those with questions about Marilyn's death should "talk to Bobby Kennedy".  His tape of Marilyn's final two hour threapy session is kept under seal by his family at UCLA.
  • Marilyn's little red book where she recorded notes of conversations and liaisons with, amongst others, the Kennedy brothers was missing from her room and never recovered.

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Pretty damning evidence no?

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And, check out Popdust's previous Conspiracy Theory Thursday posts here