Hugh Hefner

Hefner in 2010, Joe Seer /

Birth Name: Hugh Marston Hefner

Date of Birth: April 9, 1926

Place of Birth: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States

Date of Death: September 27, 2017

Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

*father – German, English, distant Swiss-German
*mother – Swedish

Hugh Hefner was an American magazine publisher, editor, socialite, and businessperson. He founded Playboy Enterprises in 1953, and was its editor-in-chief and public face, as well as expanding its flagship magazine into a brand including Playboy Clubs, and his Playboy Mansion. The magazine was known for its revealing articles, and for championing social causes; Hugh was an advocate for freedom of speech, animal rescue, and maintenance of the Hollywood Sign. He was nicknamed “Hef.”

Hugh was the son of Grace Caroline (Swanson) and Glenn Lucius Hefner, an accountant. Hugh’s parents were born in Nebraska. Hugh’s father was of German, English, and distant Swiss-German, descent, and was a Mayflower descendant. Hugh’s mother was of Swedish descent, and Sweden is where all four of Hugh’s maternal great-grandparents were born.

Hugh was married to model and singer Crystal Hefner (born Harris), until his death. He had two children with his former wife Mildred “Millie” Williams; and two children, including teacher, activist, and Democratic politician Cooper Hefner, with his former wife, model and actress Kimberley Conrad. Cooper succeeded Hugh as the public face of Playboy, and is its chief creative officer and chief of global partnerships.

One genealogy of Hugh traces his patrilineal line to a Nicholas Hevener, who was born, c. 1707, in Hirshfeld, Saxony, Germany, and to his wife, Anna Elisabeth Seibert, born c. 1719, in Eitzweiler, Saarland Bezirk, Germany.

Hugh’s paternal grandfather was James Marston Hefner (the son of Marion Hefner and Sarah Jane Butler). James was born in Lexington, McLean, Illinois. Marion was the son of Nicolas Hefner and Barbara/Barbary Fleischer/Flesher. Sarah was the daughter of Nelson Butler and Ann/Anna Guyant.

Hugh’s paternal grandmother was Lois Nina Householder/Householter (the daughter of John Arthur Householder/Householter and Lurena Virginia “Rena” Woodward). Lois was born in Orleans, Harlan, Nebraska. John was born in Romney, Hampshire, West Virginia, the son of Robert Householder and Angeline. Lurena was the daughter of Masury Joy Woodward and Mary Wright, who were from Rutland, Rutland Co., Vermont, and were of Colonial American (English) descent.

Hugh’s maternal grandfather was Frank David Swanson (the son of Anders Johan “Andrew John” Svensson/Swanson and Caroline C. Hill). Frank was born in Illinois, to Swedish parents. Anders was the son of Sven Andersson, who was born in Fiskarhemmet, Asby, Östergötland, and of Christina Karin Svensdotter, who was born in Redeby, Asby, Östergötland.

Hugh’s maternal grandmother was Ida Elisabet/Elizabeth Karlsdotter/Charleston (the daughter of Karl Magnus Karlsson and Karolina Nyström). Ida was either born in Skorpetorp, Kalmar County, Sweden, or in Nebraska, to Swedish parents.

Sources: Genealogies of Hugh Hefner –

Genealogy of Hugh Hefner (focusing on his father’s side) –

Hugh Hefner on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Hugh’s mother on the 1900 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

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