The Playboy mansion (also known as the Playboy mansion West) is the home of Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner. In Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California, near Beverly Hills, the mansion became the envy of every teenage boy during the 1970s through media reports of Hefner’s lavish and wild parties.
Here are 42 extravagant facts about the Playboy mansion and its eccentric founder.
42. It’s Only Smells
According to some Playboy bunnies/ex occupants of the mansion, things weren’t exactly up to code, cleanliness wise. There have been reports of old, stained bedding and dingy furniture. Along with this, the girls have pink bedrooms with white carpeting—which doesn’t leave much to the imagination when it comes to the stains left behind from all the pet dogs running around. Apparently, the girls would replace items like mattresses and bedding out-of-pocket, and were only reimbursed after producing receipts for each item.
41. Lucky Number 3
Rumor has it that Hugh Hefner would have two to a dozen “girlfriends” living with him at a time. These girlfriends are not to be confused with playmates. Each girlfriend had their own room, but one “special lady” was named as girlfriend number one and stayed with Hef in his room. Each girlfriend received a $1000 a week bonus “allowance.”
40. Hard Times
After 45 years of owning the legendary property, Hugh Hefner is now a renter. Last August he sold the grounds via his Playboy Enterprises to private equity investor and Hostess owner Daren Metropoulos for $100 million. The catch? Hefner can lease it for $1 million a month.
39. Invite Only
The guest lists to parties at the Playboy mansion are exclusive, with Hef personally deciding on who gets past the gates. Once in awhile, you can find auctions selling tickets to the big parties and they go for thousands of dollars. If you track down tickets on the cheap, they are most likely fakes.
38. Wild Side
The Playboy mansion is home to a private zoo. It is one of very few private residences that actually has a zoo license. Hefner is a fan of birds and they can be found all over the grounds. There are plenty of peacocks, macaws, flamingos, toucans and ducks. The highlight is a cage that houses approximately 100 squirrel monkeys.
Many people have heard or seen images of the infamous Grotto. You can probably picture it in your mind. The fake cave of rocks, the whirlpool, the waterfall, the dim lighting, the strategically placed mattresses surrounding the water. In 2011, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health discovered the bacteria responsible for causing Legionnaires’ disease in the whirlpool after 123 fundraiser attendees became ill.
The Playboy Mansion is the only private home in Los Angeles that actually has a permanent fireworks permit. The fourth-of-July fireworks show is a big hit every year and can be seen for miles around.
The original mansion was in Chicago, where Playboy Magazine was founded. You might be interested in knowing that a brass plate hung in that mansion that read, “If you don’t swing, don’t ring.” In the 1970s, Hef moved to LA and into the more familiar mansion we all know today.
34. The King
Within the mansion is a secret room, called “The Elvis Room.” Legend has it that the King himself, Elvis Presley, had a little slumber party in the room with up to eight eager bunnies.
There were rumors of underground tunnels running from the mansion to the homes of famous guests like Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, and James Caan. In 2015, Hef officially stated that the tunnels do not exist.
32. The Beat Its
Hefner is a collector of fine art, but one former Beatle wasn’t too appreciative. During a visit to the Mansion, John Lennon allegedly became a little belligerent and put out a cigarette on a work by Henri Matisse. Hefner restored the illustration and Lennon was presumably allowed to continue visiting.
31. It’s A Trap!
Actor Stephen Baldwin recalled in his autobiography the time that he and Robert Downey, Jr. descended a spiral staircase to hang out with Playmates in the wine cellar. When Downey reached the third-to-last step, he turned to Baldwin and told him not to step on it because it would trigger a silent alarm. The feature might have been a holdover from 1927, when the cellar was in use as a boozy storage room during Prohibition.
Actor Luke Wilson was banned from the playboy mansion after an employee asked who he was with and Wilson lied by saying it was his brother, Owen when it was actually a friend. Wilson was denied entry for 18 months before he was allowed back in.
29. Make Yourself At Home
The amenities of the Mansion were so lavish that several of Hefner’s guests considered staying there a vacation. James Caan moved in for a bit in the 1970s. So did Shel Silverstein and Tony Curtis. It must have been hard having to readjust to normal life.
Shel Silverstien playing croquet at the Playboy mansion
28. Old Fashioned
The Mansion has been host to professional boxing and mixed martial arts events. Boxers like David Haye, who were accustomed to fighting in front of large Las Vegas crowds, fought in front of just a few hundred spectators, many of them celebrities.
27. Biographer To The Stars
Steve Martinez is Hugh Hefner’s personal full-time archivist who painstakingly updates the nearly 3000 volumes of scrapbooks kept in the Mansion’s library. The volumes begin with portraits of Hefner at six months old and Hugh has left instructions for the final volumes to be filled with his obituaries.
26. Full Time
Playboy employs over 80 full-time workers to tend to the grounds, cook, provide security, and maintain electrical and plumbing services. Thanks for helping the economy Playboy!
Hefner takes the Mansion’s regularly-scheduled movie nights very seriously. He has a board of friends curate titles for screenings and has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to disruptions. Mike Tyson was once invited to attend a screening but he fell asleep early in the film. He was never invited to another screening.
Playboy Mansion screening room
24. Monster Party
Hef isn’t a big partier. He prefers to spend his nights lounging in his pajamas and a robe, watching his favorite classic movies.
23. Totally Not Weird
When a dinner gathering or party is in full swing and Hefner can’t attend, a life-size cardboard cutout of him can usually be seen looming over the proceedings. Nothing strange about that.
22. Stay Put
Free speech advocate/Hustler founder Larry Flynt expressed interest in buying the Mansion early in 2016, with plans to convert it into the “Hustler Mansion.” While it’s not known whether a formal offer was ever made, Flynt conveyed through associate Harry Mohney that Hefner would not be welcome to remain. As it stands, Hefner’s deal includes being able to remain in residence until his death.
Izabella St. James wrote in her book, Bunny Tales: Behind Closed Doors at the Playboy Mansion, about how Hef would use the girlfriend’s allowance to manipulate them.”Every Friday morning we had to go to Hef’s room…and then ask for our allowance: a thousand dollars counted out in crisp hundred-dollar bills from a safe in one of his bookcases. We all hated this process. Hef would always use the occasion to bring up anything he wasn’t happy about in the relationship. Most of the complaints were about the lack of harmony among the girlfriends — or your lack of participation in the ‘parties’ he held in his bedroom. If we’d been out of town for any reason and missed one of the official ‘going out’ nights [when Hefner liked to parade his girls at nightclubs] he wouldn’t want to give us the allowance. He used it as a weapon.”
Playmate Melissa Howe opened up about the strict rules regarding behaviour and appearance. She said “If you do something wrong, you’ll get an email. There’s a strict code of conduct. There are even rules about Instagram and Twitter. You’ve got to show everything in a good light and if you’re drunk in a picture you’ll be in trouble.”
Hefner has a rabbit subspecies named after him, Sylvilagus palustris hefneri, in honor of the financial support provided by his corporation.
Sylvilagus palustris hefneri AKA Marsh Rabbit
Hugh Hefner holds the Guinness World Record for being the longest-serving Editor in Chief of a magazine, now for over 60+ years. Now that’s dedication.
17. Banned Pt II
Selling Playboy Magazine is banned in many major parts of Asia & most Muslim countries. It’s a good thing those parts of the world don’t have the internet! Oh, wait…
Hugh Hefner bought the crypt next to Marilyn Monroe’s in 1992 for $75,000 – which would amount to $131 308 in 2017!
15. Early Start
With an IQ of 152 as a child, Playboy founder Hefner was no less than a child prodigy. He wrote a lot of comic books, mysteries and horror stories in grade school and high school. He even started a comic book autobiography in high school called “School Daze.”
Hefner enlisted as an infantry clerk in 1944 during World War II. His love for cartoons continued even in the battlefield where he contributed cartoons for the Army newspaper. He also won a sharpshooter badge for firing the M1 Garand rifle during basic training.
In 1951, Hefner was working for the men’s lifestyle magazine Esquire as a copywriter. He reportedly quit after he was denied a $5 raise. Soon thereafter, Hefner would launch a magazine by the name of Playboy. Looks like he made the right move.
In 1953, funded with a $600 loan which he raised by mortgaging his furniture and $8,000 from 45 investors, including $1,000 from his mother, Hefner launched Playboy. Initially, it was titled “Stag Party.” Could you imagine the girls wearing antlers?
11. Happy Birthday, Mr. Hefner
In December 1953, Hefner came out with the first issue of the magazine, featuring Marilyn Monroe’s nude calendar shoot. More than 54,000 copies of the issue were sold, at 50 cents each. Fact 16 makes a little more sense now.
10. Hands Up
In 1963, an issue of Playboy featured nude pictures of American actress Jayne Mansfield. It was deemed too vulgar and obscene, which led to Hefner’s arrest. Charges were dropped against him after the jury was unable to reach a verdict. Hugh was allowed to return to the (original) mansion and continue his “work.”
Hefner selected a rabbit as the Playboy mascot for its “humorous sexual connotations.” Later, Playboy’s art director Art Paul confessed to have drawn the logo in less than half an hour. By the 1970s, Playboy’s rabbit head logo was so popular that readers could simply draw a rabbit head on an envelope and were assured that their message would reach the desired destination (so long as the postage was paid, of course).
Pamela Anderson has graced the cover of Playboy (not to mention the mansion) more than any other model, a record 14 times, starting with the October 1989 issue. She also wrote the foreword for the Playboy coffee table book Playboy’s Greatest Covers.
7. On Top
Even after six decades, Playboy continues to dominate the men’s magazine department with sales of over 2.6 million a month in the U.S. alone. Six months after they decided to remove nude images from their publication in 2016, their sales jumped more than 28 percent.
Cover of Playboy’s first no-nude issue
6. Famous Friends
Drew Barrymore, Madonna, Sharon Stone, Naomi Campbell, Kelly Brook, Brooke Burke, Cindy Crawford and Elle Macpherson are only a few of the celebrities to have adorned the cover of Playboy magazine.
Hefner revealed in an interview that pajamas were a natural result of his late-night work habits. He has over 200 pairs of silk pajamas in 20 colors, along with custom-made velvet and satin jackets.
4. Short Lived
In 1960, Playboy started a chain of clubs, with the first one opening in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. The distinguishing feature of the clubs was attractive, scantily-clad women serving drinks. By 1961, the Chicago location had 132,000 members, making it the busiest club in the world.
3. I Don’t Even Know my Third Cousins
Hefner claims to be the 11th direct descendant of Plymouth Colony governor William Bradford, who came to the U.S. on the Mayflower in 1620. He is the ninth cousin of the 68th Secretary of State John Kerry and the 43rd President George W. Bush.
2. Bed Time
The girlfriends living in the house would abide by a strict curfew. They are required to be on the mansion grounds by 9 pm, unless they are accompanying Hef at an event. Staff take note of which girls break curfew, which can result in losing a week’s allowance, the $1000 per week doled out to each girlfriend. One of the most famous of Hef’s ex-girlfriends, Kendra Wilkinson, was once quoted as saying the constant enforcement of the curfew and Hef’s monitoring of the girls drove her “insane.”
Playboy was the first men’s magazine to be published in Braille. The first braille edition came out in 1970.
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