The venerable men’s magazine just announced that it would do away with nudity in its pictorials, citing that it’s “passé.” Here are a few of the most memorable moments from seven decades of Playboy history.
(1) Playboy’s first issue in 1953 contained a nude photo of Marilyn Monroe. Cover price: 50 cents, although if you have one today, it could fetch as much as $2,500 at auction.
(2) Reading it for the articles? Acclaimed sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury serialized Fahrenheit 451 in three issues of Playboy in the spring of 1954. The book went on to win several literary awards and remains one of the most respected and beloved novels of the 20th century. Other famous writers whose stories have appeared in the magazine: Kurt Vonnegut, Vladimir Nabokov, Michael Crichton, John Updike, and Chuck Palahniuk.
(3) A 1976 Playboy interview with presidential candidate Jimmy Carter landed him in some hot water after he admitted that he had “committed adultery in his heart many times.” A lengthy interview with former Beatle John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono was on newsstands across the country on the night of his murder in 1980.
(4) But let’s be honest, authors and interviews are not why people subscribe to Playboy. Countless models and actresses appeared nude within its pages, including Bo Derek, Kim Basinger, Shannen Doherty, Drew Barrymore, Farrah Fawcett, Madonna, Sharon Stone, and Pamela Anderson.
(5) Along with helping Hefner purchase what would become the Playboy Mansion, the magazine was so successful and popular in the early ‘60s that it spawned the Playboy Clubs. Membership to the first one ran $50 for local residents and $25 for “out of towners” who could gain access with a special key. Inside, they could find female staff members dressed in skimpy bunny outfits. At one point, there were 30 clubs located around the world.
(6) At its peak, the magazine had four million subscribers. Today: about 800,000.
(7) 89-year-old Hugh Hefner isn’t a figurehead. He remains Playboy’s CEO.