Hugh Hefner, the man who created one of the most successful publications of all time, died at the age of 91 on Wednesday.
“Hugh M. Hefner, the American icon who in 1953 introduced the world to Playboy magazine and built the company into one of the most recognizable American global brands in history, peacefully passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones,” a statement from Playboy Enterprises to PEOPLE said.
Hefner was born in Chicago on April 9, 1926 to parents Grace Caroline and Glenn Lucius, both who were both school teachers. He had three wives throughout his life and four children.
Dozens of fans gathered outside of the notorious Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills after news of Hefner’s death broke.
One of Hefner’s most well-known children is Christie, his lone daughter. For over 30 years, Christie worked at Playboy and served as its CEO for 20. In her later career, Christie got involved with multiple charities in addition to advocating for the empowerment of women.
Here’s what you need to know about Christie:
1. Christie Was 5 When Her Parents Got Divorced
Christie was born on November 8, 1952 in Chicago to Hugh and Mildred “Millie” Hefner, her father’s first wife. Hugh and Mildred got married in 1949 after the two met at Northwestern University and had a relationship for years before ultimately getting married.
However, their relationship had an unusual start, as Hefner said Millie told him prior to their marriage that she had an affair on him while he was in the Amry.
In addition to Christie, Mildred also gave birth to David three years later in 1955. However, the marriage between Christie’s parents lasted just a decade, as they filed for divorce in 1959. Christie was 5-years old when they decided to separate, and she moved in with her mother in Wilmette, Illinois afterward.
While living in Wilmette, she attended New Trier High School and excelled in band. Christie went on to attend Brandeis University in Massachusetts and earned her bachelor’s degree in English and American literature in 1974. She started writing after graduation before eventually finding her way into business.
2. Christie Started Working For Playboy in 1975 & Became the Longest-Serving Female Chairman & CEO of a Public Company in U.S. History
After graduating college, Christie worked as a freelance movie review writer. She did that for just one year and eventually moved back to Chicago and worked at Playboy starting in 1975. She worked there for four years before she was promoted to the vice president.
In 1982, Christie was named the next president of Playboy Enterprises. She excelled in her role as VP and in 1988 was named the chairman of the board and CEO of the company. The move came shortly after Hugh suffered a minor stroke and reevaluated his lifestyle choices. She was the CEO and chairman for over 20 years, making her the longest serving female chairman and CEO of a U.S. public company.
But in a shocking move, Christie announced her intentions to step down from the position in 2008 and did so officially January 31, 2009. The decision to do so surprised many, according to a New York Times article.
“I’ve always known that I wanted to move on at some point in my career,” she said in an interview with The Times. “I’ve given a great deal of my life to the company.”
During her tenure at Playboy, Christie oversaw the many aspects of the company, including its policy, management and strategy in all areas, and made FORTUNE’s list of “Most Powerful Women” three years. The company’s worth eclipsed $1 billion under her leadership.
3. Christie Cited Obama for Leading Her to Do Charity Work
After she quit her role at Playboy, Christie said she wanted to do more to help the country. She credited the presidential election of Barack Obama for steering her in that direction.
“Just as this country is embracing change in the form of new leadership, I have decided that now is the time to make changes in my own life as well,” she said in an interview.
Christie created the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award to honor her father, and it’s helped raise over $30 million to build the CORE Center in Chicago, which was the first outpatient facility in the Midwest for those who suffer from AIDS.
She’s been known to work with the Center for American Progress, a known progressive political organization. She says she’s “long been involved in electing progressive candidates, advancing women, First Amendment issues, and advancing treatment for people with HIV/AIDS.”
4. Hefner Said She Often Tried to ‘Elevate Women’ in the Workplace
In 2011, Christie was named the executive chairman of Canyon Ranch Enterprises, a resort spa company. She held that position for about four years until she left in 2015 to become the chairman of the board for Hatch Beauty.
“We provide insight on trend intelligence, business strategy, brand incubation and the creation of innovative retail programs across all channels of distribution,” the company describes itself on its website. “HATCHBEAUTY offers best-in-class R&D, product development, and creative coupled with vertically-integrated testing and manufacturing capabilities.”
One of Christie’s fondest beliefs is empowering women to succeed in business roles, she said.
“It’s both troubling and disappointing to be where we are,” she said to The Street in early August, citing the fact that women make up only 22 percent of the S&P 500 boards.
Christie talked about how she had to work her way through the ranks at Playboy when she was a young woman. When she became the company’s CEO, she said she worked to elevate other women in the workplace.
“I was very fortunate because it was even harder for women to get ahead then and so, candidly, I capitalized on that and was able to attract incredibly talented women who felt they couldn’t go any further in the companies they were working for,” she told The Street. “When I left (Playboy) over 40% of my executives were women.”
5. Christie Was Married to a Former Illinois State Senator Who Was Sued for Insider Trading of His Playboy Stock
In 1995, Christie married William A. Marovitz, a former Democratic Illinois state senator, real estate developer and attorney. The couple lived in Chicago and had no children together and ended their relationship in 2013 when they filed for divorce.
Marovitz started his political career as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from 1977 until 1980 and was elected to serve the third district in the Illinois state Senate in 1981. He held the state Senate position until 1993.
In 2012, Marovitz was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly using inside information to trade illegal shares of Playboy. When announcing the suit, the SEC said the two parties settled for $168,352.
According to an article by The Chicago Tribune, Marovitz allegedly obtained the information from Christie, though the complaint made it clear that she wasn’t intending on tipping her then-husband off about corporate developments.
“In 1998, Hefner made clear to Marovitz, both personally and through Playboy’s general counsel, that she expected him to keep any information he learned from her confidential and not use the information to trade shares of Playboy,” the SEC said in the lawsuit.