Grace Hefner, mother of Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner, died Thursday in a hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz., after a brief illness, Playboy Enterprises spokesman Bill Farley said. She was 101.
“She often told me that she wished I had become a missionary,” Hugh Hefner said in a statement. “Eventually, I did become a missionary of sorts, although not quite in the manner she intended,” he said, referring to Playboy’s advocacy of hedonism in the sexually liberated ’60s.
Hefner said his mother dipped into her savings to help him publish the first edition of his groundbreaking magazine for men in 1953. When the magazine’s parent company went public in 1971, Grace Hefner was an early investor.
Born Grace Caroline Swanson on Nov. 17, 1895, in Holdrege, Neb., she married Glenn Hefner in Chicago in 1921. Hugh was born on April 9, 1926, and his brother, Keith, in 1929.
In addition to her sons, Hefner is survived by five grandchildren.