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Playboy is an American men’s lifestyle and entertainment magazine, formerly in print and currently online. It was founded in Chicago in 1953, by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner’s mother.[3] Notable for its centerfolds of nude and semi-nude[4] models (Playmates), Playboy played an important role in the sexual revolution[5] and remains one of the world’s best-known brands, having grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (PEI), with a presence in nearly every medium.[6] In addition to the flagship magazine in the United States, special nation-specific versions of Playboy are published worldwide.

The magazine has a long history of publishing short stories by novelists such as Arthur C. Clarke,[7] Ian Fleming,[7] Vladimir Nabokov,[8] Saul BellowChuck PalahniukP. G. Wodehouse,[7] Roald Dahl,[9] Haruki Murakami, and Margaret Atwood.[7] With a regular display of full-page color cartoons, it became a showcase for notable cartoonists, including Harvey KurtzmanJack Cole,[10] Eldon Dedini,[11] Jules Feiffer,[12] Shel Silverstein,[13] Erich Sokol,[7] Roy Raymonde,[14] Gahan Wilson, and Rowland B. Wilson.[15] Playboy features monthly interviews of notable public figures, such as artists, architects, economists, composers, conductors, film directors, journalists, novelists, playwrights, religious figures, politicians, athletes, and race car drivers. The magazine generally reflects a liberal editorial stance, although it often interviews conservative celebrities.[16]

The front cover of the first issue of Playboy, featuring Marilyn Monroe, December 1953

After a year-long removal of most nude photos in Playboy magazine, the March–April 2017 issue brought back nudity.[17]

In March 2020, Ben Kohn, CEO of Playboy Enterprises, announced that the Spring 2020 issue would be the last regularly scheduled printed issue and that the magazine would now publish its content online.[18] The decision to close the print edition was attributed in part to the COVID-19 pandemic which interfered with distribution of the magazine.[18]

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