15 Iconic 'Playboy' Magazine Covers, From Marilyn Monroe To Naomi Campbell
If there's one magazine on newsstands that is known for its sexy, alluring, and overall daring cover images, it's Playboy. And with the news that Playboy will no longer print full female nudity recently breaking, now seems like a great time to look back at some of its most provocative covers. Over the past 62 years in print, the magazine has produced several iconic covers that have certainly set a high bar.
Playboy's covers, unlike its centerfolds and other spreads, never featured full-frontal nudity. So while there were certainly some nude ladies inside the magazine, the cover stars were always a tad more covered up (emphasis on "tad"). Whether they appeared inside the pages of the magazine or not, many big names, stars, and celebrities have covered the glossy from Marilyn Monroe to Naomi Campbell, to Anna Nicole Smith, to Dolly Parton, and yes, even Kim Kardashian.
With 62 years of experience under its risqué belt Playboy is likely to continue producing memorable images, even if they don't include naked women. So, in anticipation of the magazine turning over a new leaf, let's look back on 17 of the most iconic Playboy magazine covers from the 1950s to today.
1. Marilyn Monroe, Dec. 1953
The first ever Playboy cover featured none other than Hollywood bombshell, Marilyn Monroe. Hugh Hefner, the founder of the magazine, sold the issues out of his kitchen in Illinois. Frankly, I'm sure his cover girl helped with sales. Just look at her!
2. Darine Stern, Oct. 1971
The first African American woman to appear alone on the cover of Playboy (save that famous bunny icon, of course) was Darine Stern.
3. Barbra Streisand, Oct. 1977
This is easily one of the more covered-up images for Playboy in the late '70s. This was the one and only time she posed for the mag, and the cover is delightfully retro and cool. And very safe for work!
4. Dolly Parton, Oct. 1978
Parton, everyone's favorite southern belle, dressed up as a Playboy bunny on the cover of the magazine in 1978. This was her first and last time on the magazine cover, but certainly not the last time we would see someone in Playboy dressed like a bunny, that's for sure.
5. Farrah Fawcett, Dec. 1978
Talk about a sexy cover! Farrah Fawcett was pretty much everyone's dream girl in the '70s, so it makes sense that she was a Playboy cover girl. Appearing in a men's shirt and heels while also holding a glass of alcohol, this cover looks like a whole lot of fun.
6. Bo Derek, March 1980
Swimsuit issue or, washed up on shore issue? Either way, Bo Derek looked absolutely gorgeous on the cover of Playboy in 1980. Talk about a pose!
7. Women Of The U.S. Government, Nov. 1980
Released only a few days before Ronald Reagan was elected, this issue created quite a stir. Featuring female government employees posing semi-nude in a 10-page spread, it's obvious how this became one of Playboy's most controversial covers.
8. Madonna, Sept. 1985
"Unlike A Virgin, For The Very First Time," is quite a quippy headline for the magazine's cover featuring the singer. Madonna wasn't one to follow many rules, so it makes perfect sense that she graced Playboy's pages back in her heyday.
9. Brooke Shields, Dec. 1986
Shields appeared on the Holiday issue of the magazine in 1986. She had just turned 21-years-old.
10. Pamela Anderson, Oct. 1989
This Playboy cover essentially launched Pamela Anderson's modeling and acting career. She was discovered at a football game via a jumbo tron close up, and got this cover on the national magazine two months later. And, well, the rest is history.
11. Anna Nicole Smith, June 1993
Anna Nicole Smith, another one of Playboy's major scouts as well as a big-name Playmate of the Year, was on her first cover in 1993. Wearing nothing but a sheet, Smith's black and white image is very reminiscent of the inaugural Monroe issue. Not to mention that the two shared a very similar likeness.
12. Naomi Campbell, Dec. 1999
For the holiday issue of 1999, Naomi Campbell dressed in hardly anything for the Playboy cover. Don't ask me why she's holding a phone, because I really couldn't tell you.
13. Kim Kardashian, Dec. 2007
This issue's release was scheduled along with the premiere of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Eight years have passed and a lot has certainly changed.
14. Marge, Nov. 2009
Does this cover look familiar? Inspired by the Darine Stern issue in 1971, Playboy took Marge, the leading lady from the animated TV show The Simpsons, and figured her to pose exactly like Stern — Playboy bunny chair and all.
15. Chelsea Handler, Dec. 2009
One of the most recent notable covers goes to Handler, who posed for the magazine in anticipation of her new late night show on E!. The holiday issue featured Handler in quite an interesting pair of boots and a gold bikini for the cover. But hey, whatever works!
I'll be very interested to see how the magazine's image progresses now that it has banished nude photos.