• Hugh Hefner, who launched Playboy magazine with just a few hundred dollars in 1953, describing it as representing a fresh - as well as resolutely adolescent and male - reflection of a nascent sexual revolution, has passed away at age 91, reportedly of natural causes.

Hefner, often seen wearing silk pajamas and squiring young and voluptuous women arounds the grounds of the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, turned the magazine into the foundation of an entertainment empire, albeit one that lost much of its relevance - and economic value - in recent years. And Hefner had intellectual pretensions, featuring in the magazine “top writers such as Kurt Vonnegut, Joyce Carol Oates, Vladimir Nabokov, James Baldwin and Alex Haley for men who liked to say they did not buy the magazine just for the pictures. In-depth interviews with historic figures such as Fidel Castro, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and John Lennon also were featured regularly.”

KC's View: One does not have to like Hefner or his Peter Pan-like existence to concede that he was a seminal figure in American publishing and an important cultural figure in terms of his ability to foment and exploit changing mores.

Not to be unkind, but there was always something of a lounge lizard or used car salesman about Hefner. I’ll also tell you this. Probably 35 years or so ago, Mrs. Content Guy was working for a small stock market-related firm, and she worked with three or four men. They decided one year to have the office Christmas party at the New York Playboy Club, and spouses were invited. These guys all thought that it was the coolest place they’d ever been to, and saw nothing improper about the choice of venue. I went, and can tell you that we thought that it was perhaps the weirdest Christmas party we’d ever been to … and worse, the food and booze was of a lower quality than you’d get on an airplane.