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Hefner Set for Playboy’s 50th Anniversary

July 13, 2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Hugh Hefner is gearing up to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his magazine Playboy.

And Hefner, 77, has no plans to retire any time soon.

``I’m the luckiest guy on the planet. What I’m doing keeps me young,″ he said. ``I’ll be doing it as long as I can. My mother lived to be 101 and was very vital when she passed away.″

Hefner borrowed $600 to launch Playboy in 1953 with Marilyn Monroe as the first pinup.

Fifty years later, the magazine has become an international success. A&E will broadcast a special marking the anniversary this fall.

``I was trying to give sex a good name,″ Hefner told the Television Critics Association summer gathering last week. ``Because sex had always been both legally and socially and politically outside the boundaries of what was acceptable in society.″

``I tried to create a magazine and a lifestyle around it that incorporated sex as a natural, normal part of life, including recreational sex,″ he said.

Hefner said Playboy-brand merchandise is even sold at more than 300 stores in China, where the magazine is banned.

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