Today, December 1st is the anniversary of a magazine that found success right out of the gate by using the beautiful Marilyn Monroe on its cover. But how Monroe got on the cover is even a more amazing story.
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Playboy impresario Hugh Hefner (1926 - 2017) with his girlfriend, Barbi Benton, 18th February 1972. (Photo by Les Lee/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Hugh Hefner started Playboy Magazine on this date, December 1, 1953. He quit a job because they would not give him a raise. He then put together $8,000 to put out the first ever edition and Marilyn Monroe was on the first ever cover. But Monroe Never had the nude photo taken by Playboy, instead Hefner purchased a nude picture of Monroe from four years earlier for $500 dollars and the rest is history. The magazine was a huge hit selling over 50,000 copies and Monroe never made a dime off it.
Nude Picture History
The nude picture of Monroe was taken by pinup photographer Tom Kelley in exchange for $50 which the cash strapped Monroe needed to make a car payment. Monroe, who was born Norma Jeane Mortenson, later said she was embarrassed and ashamed of what she had done. It turns out that posing nude was good for Monroe as she started to find her way in an acting career.
Hefner was crazy about Monroe
1954: Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jean Mortenson or Norma Jean Baker, 1926 - 1962) giving an over the shoulder smile. (Photo by Baron/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
As far as Hefner, he admitted later that he was captivated by Monroe and would go on to use Monroe on six more covers of Playboy Magazine, 1955, '79, '97, '99, 2005 and again in 2012. He even purchased the burial plot next to Monroe at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. Monroe says she never met Hefner but they did talk on the phone one time.
Monroe died long before she should have in 1962 at the age of 36. An original copy of the first ever Playboy Magazine now sells for around $3000.
Here are some shots of Monroe through the years.
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American actress Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) stands in a staircase alongside a wall with a floral-motif pattern, late 1950s. She wears a black cocktail dress and dangling earrings. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American film star Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) in Palm Springs. Original Publication: People Disc - HW0699 (Photo by Baron/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
October 1951: American film actress Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962). (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
1954: American actress Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) in the garden at her home in Palm Springs, California, 1954. (Photo by Baron/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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American film star Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jean Mortenson or Norma Jean Baker, 1926 - 1962) on her knees. Original Publication: People Disc - HW0702 (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)
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Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jean Mortenson or Norma Jean Baker, 1926 - 1962) takes her seat in the audience for a performance of the play 'A View From The Bridge', written by her husband Arthur Miller (left). The play is being performed at the Comedy Theatre in London. Original Publication: People Disc - HW0695 (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) frolicking on the beach near her Hollywood home during a break from filming. (Photo by L J Willinger/Getty Images)