There’s a house in Holmby Hills that features Gothic-style architecture. It is the place Hugh Hefner has called home for over 40 years. He’s hosted parties there, conducted business deals, and of course, invited a few “friends” to move in with him. This place, of course, is the Playboy Mansion.
The Mansion has been a source of controversy for years. A number of female celebrities have visited there to appear on the cover of Playboy Magazine (the publication has recently decided not to feature nude photos of women anymore). Some celebrities have come to the Playboy Mansion for a party or gathering and have been approached about becoming Playboy Bunnies. For the most part, people see Hefner’s residence as a den of sin and all types of excessive sexuality —even though many of the people who feel that way have never stepped foot into the Playboy Mansion.
Of course, there are a few Playboy Playmates who have left the mansion and complained about Hefner’s controlling and chauvinistic behavior (thanks for confirming some of our assumptions, Holly Madison). There are also former Playmates who have nothing but good things to say about Hugh, and frequently mention his kindness. No matter what your opinion of the Playboy Mansion is, there are likely some surprising facts you’d be intrigued to know about this interesting piece of real estate. Here are 12 things you didn’t know about the Playboy Mansion.
12. Hugh Hefner Bought The Home From A Chessmaster
The Playboy Mansion was apparently a pretty “upstanding” place before Hugh Hefner took over the mortgage. Chess great Louis D. Statham owned the home before Hefner, and Hugh purchased the mansion for around $1 million in 1971. Statham was also known for designing spaceships, and is credited for creating measuring tools that kept NASA spacecrafts on their course while in space. Looks like Hefner bought the mansion so he could participate in a few calculated moves of his own. Hugh has made several renovations to the home since he initially purchased it, and it is now for sale for $200 million.
11. John Lennon Caused Some “Damage” In The Mansion
It’s no secret that celebrities like to visit the Playboy Mansion often. The legendary John Lennon used to stop by pretty often, and one night when he was in a drunken state of revelry (or rage), he decided to put his cigarette out on one of Hefner’s Matisse paintings (which are worth a lot of money). Lennon was separated from Yoko Ono at the time, which was probably why he was acting so strangely—the separation is likely why he was at the mansion in the first place. Of course, Hefner was furious about the painting, but Lennon managed to smooth things over with him. The painting is now considered a collector’s item, and is still hanging in the Playboy Mansion.
10. There’s An “Elvis” Room In the Mansion
There’s a secret room in the Playboy Mansion that has been dubbed the “Elvis” room. It has not been on camera, even though most of the rooms and exterior of the Mansion have been featured on reality shows and entertainment reports. Hefner likes to keep the room private, which is kind of ironic. After all, everyone knows at least a little of what goes on in the Playboy Mansion, and Hefner certainly doesn’t mind being surrounded by women who wouldn’t exactly be described as “conservative.” It is also rumored that Elvis spent the night in the room with eight (yes, eight) Playboy Bunnies. Once again, we are overwhelmed with the classiness of this place.
9. The Mansion Provides A Considerable Amount Of Jobs
There are about 70 people who have the distinction of being Playboy Mansion staff, which likely looks interesting (to say the least) on a resume. Not counting the Playboy Bunnies, Hefner has a staff that includes butlers, chefs, security, groundskeepers, maintenance and even zookeepers. After all, the Mansion is a business, and someone’s got to keep it running smoothly while Hefner is doing…all the things that Hefner does. At least he’s doing some “good” by providing hard-working people with a steady paycheck. Apparently, there are some women who work at the Playboy Mansion who aren’t paid to “entertain” Hefner, but we’re not sure if that makes him any less of a womanizer.
8. The Mansion Serves As A “Detention Center” For Hefner’s Girlfriends
As you probably would imagine, Hefner is pretty strict on the girls he selects to live in the Playboy Mansion. While most people think these women are constantly lavished with gifts and have the freedom to party as they please, some former Playmates are quick to say that wasn’t the case. Izabella St. James, one of Hef’s former playmates, stated that the women had a strict curfew, and weren’t permitted to be out after 9:00 pm, unless they were with Hefner. St. James also states that the Playmates were allowed to order any food or beverages they wanted around the clock, but weren’t allowed to go in the kitchen—not even to get a glass of water. She even says that all the women had to gather in Hefner’s bedroom on Friday morning, wait for him to pick up dog poop from the floor, then request their allowances. He gave them each $1,000 and counted out the bills from a safe he kept in a bookcase. Classy, and not objectifying at all.
7. The Mansion Isn’t All That Glamorous
Izabella St. James, as well as a few other people who have visited the mansion in recent years, claim that the place is turning into a bit of a dump. Allegedly, some of the furniture is stained and is starting to look worn. Several appliances in the home no longer work properly, and the place is starting to smell like an old man lives there. Maybe Hefner is getting too up in age to keep the mansion maintained like he used to. Perhaps it’s time for him to give up his philandering ways and turn the mansion over to someone who would do something better with it, but we don’t see that happening any time soon.
6. The Playboy Bunnies Were Expected To Be On Their Best Behavior
Former Playmate Melissa Howe, stated in her memoir The Mirror, that there was a strict code of conduct for the girls in the mansion (this obviously doesn’t apply to the men who visit there). Howe stated that when a Playmate did something that was against Hefner’s rules, the Playmate would receive an email. There were also rules about what the women were allowed to post on social media, and they weren’t allowed to paint Hefner or the Playboy Mansion in a bad light. The women even got reprimanded if they looked drunk in pictures.
5. The Original Playboy Mansion Has Been Converted Into Condos
The first Playboy Mansion was in Chicago. Hefner purchased the home, which was 72 rooms and constructed in Victorian style, in 1959. The building is located in the Gold Coast area, and Hefner continued to use the home for parties, until the Art Institute of Chicago purchased the property in the 1970s and converted it into student housing. Based on the reputation for partying that is often assigned to college students, the goings-on in the building may not have changed too much. Then in the 1990s, a developer upgraded the building to turn it into seven multi-million dollar condos. We’re guessing it would be pretty interesting for parents raising their children here to tell them the history of the home.
4. Hefner Doesn’t Technically Own The Mansion
Playboy’s parent company, Icon Acquisitions Holdings, is the actual owner of the Playboy Mansion. That means Hugh Hefner has to pay “fair market rent” to live in the mansion, and he is also required to pay a fee every year to cover things like food and those elaborate parties he loves to host. Perhaps this is a smart business move on Hefner’s part, but it definitely makes outsiders feel that perhaps he’s not as financially stable as he makes himself out to be. Then again, even the rich have bills to pay, and it looks like he’s been handling his money pretty well all these years.
3. There’s A Playboy Arcade
Just a short walk from the main Mansion is a “sexy arcade.” There are vintage games in the space, as well as a pool table and a jukebox. The arcade also has a separate room where all the walls are mirrors and the floors are cushioned. We can only imagine what goes on in there (although we kind of don’t want to). Is there nowhere on the Playboy property where the Playmate don’t have to be pressured to “perform”? Probably not. But hey, that’s what the Playboy Mansion is known for, and it’s a large part of the reason the Mansion has remained so popular throughout the years.
2. Heffner Has Movie Night On Sundays
Every Sunday night, Hugh Hefner hosts a movie night for his invited guests, as well as the Playmates (although we’re pretty sure the Playmates are required to attend). Sometimes the feature presentation will be a movie that has recently been released. Most of the time, however, Hefner will show a movie from his 4,000-film collection. The movies are arranged on the spiral staircase of his bedroom, just so he can show off how many he has. That’s kind of what he does with the Playmates as well, since several of them have confirmed that there are specific nights that are required to go out with Hefner so he can “show them off.”
1. Guys Have Been Banned From The Mansion
To further explore the notion that Hefner wants all the Playboy Bunnies to himself, there have been reports that some famous guys have been banned from the mansion. They include Reggie Bush, although the reason is unknown. It may be because his athletic ability and good looks were intimidating to Hefner. Luke Wilson was also banned from the mansion when he tried to pretend that he was his famous brother, Owen, to get into a party. Hefner didn’t take kindly to that, and banned Luke for more than a year. Reportedly, Wilson called Hefner’s secretary in tears to apologize. Cade McNown was also banned from the mansion, because he apparently stole (one of) Hefner’s girlfriend(s) at the time.