FBI Releases File on Hugh Hefner, Tracked Hef From 1955 to 2001

Hugh Hefner, the iconic founder of Playboy Magazine, which later burgeoned into a multimedia and business empire based on a “sophisticated” approach to nudity and sex, died at the age of 91 in September of 2017. Now, 21 months later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has revealed that its agents kept a file on Hefner spanning more than five decades, as The Daily Mail reported.

The file starts in 1955, with a press clipping describing the then-three-year-old magazine as a “sassy newcomer” and an “oversexed young version of the 23-year-old Esquire.” The final entry in the FBI file came in November of 2001, when Playboy Enterprises apparently suffered a massive email hack, including an intrusion into Hefner’s own email account. The entire file may be accessed online via the FBI site at this link

The 1955 newspaper article describes Hefner as a non-smoker—apparently prior to Hefner adopting his affectation of an ever-present pipe—who also abstains from drinking coffee, instead getting his caffeine fix from “two-dozen bottles of Pepsi-Cola a day.”

The file also shows that the FBI questioned Hefner on multiple occasions, about what it called his peddling of “obscene material.” In fact, on the reccomendation of an FBI agent in a memo directly to the Bureau’s director, J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI appears to have placed Hefner under surveillance in Playboy’s early days, in hopes of catching Hefner and a photographer named by the FBI as Edward Oppman transporting that “obscene material” over state lines.

But ultimately the FBI agents concluded that Hefner was “too clever” to violate obscenity laws. Nonetheless, Hefner was arrested in 1963 on an obscenity rap over nude pictures of buxom screen siren Jayne Mansfield published in Playboy. But Hefner took the case to a jury trial and won.

Hefner told the FBI that Playboy did not traffic in obscenity, but said rather that he had simply tailored the magazine “to appeal to men.”

For all of their interest in Hefner, the FBI apparently never got wind of Hefner’s alleged personal stash of homemade sex tapes that, as AVN.com reported, supposedly contained thousands of explicit films and photos of major Hollywood stars and other famous people. According to media reports late last year, Hefner kept his collection so closely guarded that in the 1990s he ordered all of the material sealed inside a cement-lined casket and dumped into the ocean.

Photo By Alan Light / Wikimedia Commons 



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