Hugh Hefner, the legendary founder of Playboy magazine, has sadly passed away. Hugh Hefner died on Wednesday night at the age of 91 and now celebrities and former Playboy Bunnies are paying tribute to the legendary cultural icon via social media. Hefner helped to launch the careers of many models and actresses through the magazine including Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, and Donna D'Errico, just to name a few. In addition to the models and actresses, Hefner also helped boost the careers of writers and comedians while fighting for freedom of speech.
Drew Barrymore, Farrah Fawcett and Linda Evans are among those who have posed for Playboy. Several Playboy Bunnies became celebrities, too, including Blondie singer Deborah Harry and model Lauren Hutton, both of whom have good memories of their time with Hugh Hefner and Playboy. Hefner ran Playboy from his elaborate mansions, first in Chicago and then in Los Angeles, and became the flamboyant symbol of the lifestyle he promoted. For decades, he was the pipe-smoking, silk-pajama-wearing center of a constant party with celebrities and Playboy models. By his own account, Hefner had sex with more than a thousand women, including many pictured in his magazine. Women loved him and men wanted to be him.
Jenny McCarthy's career went into overdrive after her 1993 issue hit the newsstands. She was later crowned Playmate of the Year and admits that "Hef" changed her life. Jenny McCarthy's Twitter account posted a loving tribute to Hefner. She had this to say.
"RIP Hef Thank you for being a revolutionary and changing so many people's lives, especially mine. I hope I made you proud."
Baywatch star Donna D'Errico left a heartfelt tribute to Hugh Hefner on Twitter as well, attributing her success to Hefner. She said, "Hugh Hefner put me in Playboy & ignited my career. I am forever indebted, Hef. You will forever live on as an icon of epic proportions. RIP." On the other side, civil rights activist, Jesse Jackson, highlighted Hugh Hefner's support for civil rights and the First Amendment. Jackson had this to say.
"Hugh Hefner was a strong supporter of the civil rights movement. We shall never forget him. May he Rest In Peace."
Comedian Richard Lewis commented on Hugh Hefner's fight for free speech as well as the way that he helped up and coming writers and comedians. Lewis said, "RIP HF. Few did more for writers, inc myself, breaking boundaries and helping Lenny fight for his 1st Amend Rights." Nancy Sinatra also paid tribute, calling Hefner, "one of the nicest men I've ever known."
KISS' Gene Simmons was a long-time friend of Hugh Hefner's and has publically praised the icon on many occasions. Simmons called Hefner, "a great man, entrepreneur, and innovator. Your legacy lives on." While most of the tributes to Hugh Hefner's legacy were serious, some paid tribute with laughter. Comedian Patton Oswalt said, "As per his wishes, Hugh Hefner's body will be left in a fort in the woods for other kids to find & pass around." As news of Hefner's death began to spread, more friends and admirers paid tribute to publishing legend and you can read them below. RIP Hef. TMZ was the first to report this sad news.