Hefner, who launched the adult magazine in 1953, received the prize at the Los Angeles Press Club's fourth annual National Entertainment Journalism Awards Gala on Thursday (17Nov11).
Press Club President Will Lewis heaped praise on the Playboy editor-in-chief, insisting, "Hefner's footprint on American popular culture is huge. For almost 60 years, Playboy has been on the leading edge in shaping positive attitudes on civil rights, gay rights, as well as human sexuality."
Hefner shared his special evening with his son Cooper and girlfriend Anna Sophia Berglund, as well as his comedian pal Dick Gregory, who gave a speech in his honour.
In a subsequent post on his Twitter.com page, the veteran publisher wrote, "The LA Press Club's Lifetime Achievement dinner proved to be a really special, quite emotional evening for me. The Lifetime Achievement Award had even more meaning because family & friends were there to share the night.
"Dick Gregory's personal tribute was the real highlight of the evening for me. He flew across the country to be here."
The action hunk attended the Mansion's annual Midsummer Night's Dream soiree, where he dressed in pyjamas and socialised with Hugh Hefner and his Playmate girlfriends Shera Bechard and Anna Berglund.
The Arabian Nights-themed bash was also enjoyed by a host of celebrities including will.i.am, director Michael Bay, Dane Cook and Back to the Future star Crispin Glover.
The Playboy boss was dumped by model Crystal Harris just days before their wedding earlier this month (Jun11), but refuses to allow the heartbreak to get him down and has surrounded himself with busty blondes since the split.
Hefner sparked speculation he was romancing Harris' playmate pal Anna Sophia Berglund last week (end26Jun11) after taking her on a trip to Disneyland and labelling her his "best girl".
But now the 85 year old has told his followers on Twitter.com that he is back in a relationship with Shera Bechard, who is the November 2011 Playmate.
He writes on his page, "Shera is both our November 2011 Playmate & my new girlfriend," while Bechard writes, "It's true... Shera Bechard really does love Hugh Hefner !!! The world is in alignment again!!"
The model dumped the Playboy mogul last week (ends19Jun11) just days before their wedding, but Hefner, 85, appears to have put the heartbreak behind him by spending time with another beautiful blonde.
He has been hanging out with Harris' playmate pal Anna Sophia Berglund, even taking the 25 year old and her friends to Disneyland this week (beg20Jun11), and he told the world about her in a post on Twitter.com.
Hefner writes, "With Crystal gone, Anna is my best girl, but she's also Crystal's good friend. Anna is really one in a million."