- Los Angeles, CA, USA
- Political territory:
- Los Angeles
The Playboy Mansion (also known as the Playboy Mansion West) was the former home of Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner.
In Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California, near Beverly Hills, the mansion became famous during the 1970s through media reports of Hefner's lavish parties.
Currently owned by Dean Metropoulos, the mansion is also used for various corporate activities and serves as a valuable location for television production, magazine photography, charitable events, and civic functions.
Architect Arthur R. Kelly
The 21,987-square-foot (2,042.7 m2) house is described as in the "Gothic-Tudor" style by Forbes magazine, and sits on 5.3 acres (2.1 ha). It was designed by Arthur R. Kelly in 1927 for Arthur Letts, Jr., son of the Broadway department store founder Arthur Letts and acquired by Playboy from Louis D. Statham (1908–1983), an engineer, inventor and chess aficionado, in 1971 for $1.1 million. In early 2011, it was valued at $54 million. It sits close to the northwestern corner of the Los Angeles Country Club, near University of California, Los Angeles and the Bel-Air Country Club. $15 million has been invested in renovation and expansion.
The mansion has 22 rooms including a wine cellar (with a Prohibition-era secret door), a screening room with built-in pipe organ, a game room, three zoo/aviary buildings (and related pet cemetery), a tennis/basketball court, a waterfall and a swimming pool area (including a patio and barbecue area, a grotto, a basement gym with sauna below the bathhouse). Landscaping includes a large koi pond with artificial stream, a small citrus orchard and two well-established forests of tree ferns and redwoods. The west wing (originally servants wing) houses the Editorial offices of Playboy. The main Aviary building is the original greenhouse, with four guestrooms adjoining. The Master's suite occupies several rooms on the second and third floors, and is the most heavily renovated area of the Mansion proper, with an extensive carved-oak decor dating to the 1970s. Otherwise, the Mansion proper is maintained in its original Gothic-revival furnishings for the most part. The pipe organ was extensively restored in the last decade. There is also an outdoor kitchen to serve party events. These features and others have been shown on television.
The game room (game house) is a separate building on the north side. From the fountain in front of the main entrance, there are two sidewalks, running past a wishing-well. That on the right leads to the game house and runs past a duplicate Hollywood Star of Hefner. Its front entrance opens to a game room with a pool table in the center. This room has vintage and modern arcade games, pinball machines, player piano, jukebox, television, stereo, and couch. The game house has two wings. Left is a room with a soft cushioned floor, mirrors all around, television. There is a restroom with a shower. The right wing of the game house has a smaller restroom, and entrance to a bedroom. This bedroom is connected to another, which has an exit to the rear backyard of the game house. The game house has a backyard with lounge chairs, and gates on either side.
In 2010, Hugh Hefner's former girlfriend Izabella St. James wrote in her memoir Bunny Tales that the house was in need of renovation: "Everything in the Mansion felt old and stale, and Archie the house dog would regularly relieve himself on the hallway curtains, adding a powerful whiff of urine to the general scent of decay." St. James further wrote for her memoir Bunny Tales, "Each bedroom had mismatched, random pieces of furniture. It was as if someone had gone to a charity shop and bought the basics for each room"; and, "The mattresses on our beds were disgusting - old, worn and stained. The sheets were past their best, too."
The mansion next door is a mirror image of the Playboy Mansion layout, only smaller, and was purchased by Hefner in 1996 as the home for his separated wife Kimberley Conrad and their children together Marston and Cooper. Hefner and Conrad married in 1989 and separated in 1998. In March 2009 Hefner and Conrad announced they were listing the property for sale for the asking price of $28 million. In August 2009 the property was purchased by Daren Metropoulos for $18 million.
In 2002, Hefner purchased a house across and down the street from the mansion for use by Playmates and other guests who would prefer to stay further from the busy activity of the Mansion proper. This house is commonly referred to as the 'Bunny House'. In April 2013 the Bunny House was listed for sale for the asking price of $11 million.
Sale of Playboy Mansion
In January 2016 the Playboy Mansion was listed for sale by Playboy Enterprises, Inc. for the asking price of $200 million subject to the condition Hefner continue to rent the mansion for life. In August 2016 the Playboy Mansion was bought for $100 million by Daren Metropoulos, the co-owner of Hostess Brands and head of the investment firm Metropoulos & Co. Metropoulos intends to eventually renovate and restore the mansion to its original form. In 2009 Metropoulos bought the mansion next door to the Playboy Mansion from Hefner and ultimately desires to connect the two properties, both of which mansions were designed by the architect Arthur R. Kelly and estates about the Los Angeles Country Club.
Original Playboy Mansion
The original Playboy Mansion was a 70-room classical French brick and limestone residence in Chicago's Gold Coast district at 1340 North State Parkway which had been built in 1899 for Dr. George Swift Isham, a prominent surgeon whose social circle included Theodore Roosevelt and Robert Peary; it was ultimately acquired by Hefner in 1959. The building was designed by architect James Gamble Rogers, best known for his work at Yale University and Columbia University. The mansion's basement, Hefner's original "grotto", had a swimming pool with a glass wall.
For a period in the 1970s, Hefner divided his time between Chicago and the Mansion West. The Chicago mansion boasted a brass plate on the door with the Latin inscription Si Non Oscillas, Noli Tintinnare ("If you don't swing, don't ring").
Although Playboy Enterprises would remain headquartered in Chicago until 2012, Hefner left the city permanently for Los Angeles in 1974 following the conviction and ensuing suicide of longtime aide Bobbie Arnstein, the culmination of "a federal... investigation of drug use in Hefner's mansion" by U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and future Governor of Illinois James R. Thompson. Thereafter, the Chicago mansion was turned into a dormitory for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with Hefner formally deeding the building to the Art Institute in 1989. In 1993, the mansion was sold to developer Bruce Abrams and converted into four high-price luxury condos. In 2011, one 7,874 sq ft (731.5 m2) condominium was placed for sale at an asking price of $6.7 million.
Events and appearances
- In 2008, the house appeared in the film The House Bunny with Anna Faris and Emma Stone.
Midsummer Night's Dream Party
The Midsummer Night's Dream Party, also known as the Midsummer's party, is held at the Playboy Mansion on the first Saturday in August.
In 2007, the party was thrown on August 4. The theme was Arabian Nights. Some of the guests were Christopher Knight and wife Adrianne Curry, Alfonso Ribeiro, Bambi Lashell and many more.
This show was taped by E! cable television channel and aired on The Girls Next Door episode "Unveilings". For the first time in the history of the mansion, the event took place twice in one year (2007). The event started off at the mansion then headed to the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, home to the world's only Playboy Club two weeks later.
According to Playboy Enterprises' SEC filings, Hefner pays Playboy rent for "that portion of the Playboy Mansion used exclusively for him and his personal guests' residence as well as the per-unit value of non-business meals, beverages and other benefits received by him and his personal guests". This amount was $1.3 million in 2002, $1.4 million in 2003, and $1.3 million in 2004.
Playboy pays for the Mansion's operating expenses (including depreciation and taxes), which were $3.6 million in 2002, $2.3 million in 2003, and $3.0 million in 2004, net of rent received from Hefner.
The Playboy Mansion hosts charity events, including Karma Foundation, the Celebrity Poker Tournament, a fundraising party for the Marijuana Policy Project, and an event to benefit research into autism.
Public health incidents
In February 2011, 123 people complained of fever and respiratory illness after attending a DomainFest Global conference event held at the Playboy Mansion. Epidemiologists from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported their findings at a Centers for Disease Control conference that the disease outbreak was traced to a whirlpool hot tub in the mansion's famed grotto, where they found bacteria that cause Legionnaires' disease.
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