Taschen Books Releases 'Hugh Hefner's Playboy'

LOS ANGELES — Specialty book publisher Taschen has released an unlimited “popular edition” of “Hugh Hefner’s Playboy,” a six-volume illustrated autobiography with chronological highlights from Playboy’s first 25 years.

The books span Hefner’s personal life and career from his cartoon-drawing childhood to his success with Playboy.

Taschen said the anthology celebrates the decadence, sophistication and wit of the original men’s magazine and its creator. Highlights include years from 1953 to 1979, with a selection of each era’s spiciest centerfolds and writing by literary icons Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, Ian Fleming and Ray Bradbury, as well as some Playboy interviews, including Jimmy Carter and Albert Schweitzer.

The books also include never-before-seen ephemera from Hefner’s personal archives includes original artwork, cartoons and correspondence, and a long autobiographical text about his youth, military service, early career as a cartoonist, numerous girlfriends and eventual success with Playboy. A vast selection of personal photos — many previously unseen — are also featured including behind-the-scenes shots from the Playboy Mansion, Playboy Clubs, and the Big Bunny jet.

The set was first published in a limited $1300 collector’s edition that included a piece of Hefner’s famous silk pajamas, and a facsimile of Playboy’s first issue. The popular edition costs $150.