Hugh Hefner was that old dude with hot girls and a dope jacket


RIP Hugh Hefner (1926 – 2017)

The world lost an icon this week with the passing of Hugh Hefner, Playboy founder and lifestyle embodiment. Icon is perhaps the most appropriate way to describe the man. While he was famous for embodying fame, a spirit of lavish luxury, and sexual liberation, he is not without the requisite controversies that follow anyone with a modicum of fame, and especially when attached to someone whose work is so intrinsically tied to human sexuality.

But, in this moment following his passing, I choose to take to heart the words of a photographer whose work I greatly admire, Cameron Davis (@camsjournal): “He inspired many, myself included. I connected with Hugh Hefner not because of Playboy, I connected with Hugh because of his stance on Racism, his stance on the Vietnam War, his stance for women’s rights, his stance on people’s sexual liberation, his need and stance to challenge the conventional, and so many others.”

It’s with the spirit of Cam’s words in mind that I delve into Hugh’s impact on film and television—which basically translates to the many times he appeared onscreen (or lent his voice) as it’s without question that his many appearances no doubt made more of an impact on the Playboy brand than on the pieces he appeared in. Hugh was an early adapter of controlling all aspects of a brand, and becoming the living embodiment of his brand, he was able to reinforce it and sell it to every viewer who happened to catch him in the midst of imparting some wisdom to Bart Simpson, or throwing Eddie Murphy out of his mansion (all while wearing a trademark smoking jacket—at least in later years).

Many of you probably remember Hugh from The Girls Next Door (2005 – 2010) or the spinoff Kendra (2009 – 2011), if you remember him at all. Indeed, his most numerous appearances on his filmography are as himself, including many appearances on talk shows, documentaries, and news programs. His page list 252 credits of this variety. And we won’t mention his producer credits, which (outside of an apparent early string of legitimate film credits) are dominated by Playboy video productions.

His acting credits are far more limited, though I’m curious what constituted acting versus appearing, as all but one of 21 credits are as himself—I suspect it has something to do with the nature of the program, being scripted, or his having ‘read lines’ for the role, versus speaking dispositionally—but he was always just being himself. Hugh appeared with Craig Ferguson, Trya Banks, Ellen, Piers Morgan, Jimmy Kimmel, Larry King, Carson Daly, Howard Stern (no surprise), Charlie Rose, Jon Stewart, Conan O’Brien, and David Letterman.

Then too, he made appearances in Beverly Hills Cop 2, Entourage, The Simpsons, Sex and the City, Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Aireand Curb Your Enthusiasm. The list seems shorter than it is. The man was constantly making appearances, remaining relevant to an age when many people are shoved away to hidden homes where they’re left to be forgotten.

As an addendum, and nod to our site’s roots, Papa Niero, in discussing this piece, gave a nod to this little gem of gaming history (gem = turd?) … He really did find his way into all media.