The Playboy Mansion is the former home of Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner who lived there from 1974 until his death in 2017. The mansion became famous during the 1970s through media reports of Hefner’s lavish parties which were often attended by celebrities and socialites.
The Playboy Mansion estate located at 10236 Charing Cross Road in Los Angeles is full of unique enticing. The original of Playboy Mansion was a 70-room brick and limestone residence in Chicago’s Gold Coast, which had been built in 1899.
The massive estate in Los Angeles is not the first Playboy Mansion that Hugh Hefner has owned. Hefner had founded Playboy in Chicago in 1953. Bobbie Arnstein, Hefner’s assistant and close friend, also lived at that mansion. She was later convicted on drug charges in 1974 and sentenced to 15 years in prison, but ended up committing suicide in 1975. The media frenzy that came with the trial forced Hefner to leave Chicago and move to Los Angeles, where he would live until his death 43 years later.
As Hugh Hefner’s pleasure palace, The Playboy Mansion was widely known as one of the country’s most notorious party homes. The Playboy Mansion become an iconic architecture in Los Angeles, and the embodiment of the glamour and decadent lifestyle of the rich and famous. Although the provocative appeal have died down after Hefner’s passing in 2017.
The 29-room house spreads across 21,987 square feet of living space, featured an endless array of jaw-dropping amenities, including a wine cellar with a Prohibition-era secret door and alarm and a movie screening room with a built-in pipe organ. There is an actual, separate game house on the north side of the premises, dedicated entirely to games and entertainment. There are also three zoo/aviary buildings, a pet cemetery, tennis and basketball courts, and a lot of bedrooms.
The house also frequenty hosted events that it required a staff of 80 full-time employees, including chefs, butlers, security, plumbers and electricians, landscapers, and even zoo staff. The Playboy Mansion is one of very few L.A. homes to actually have a zoo license, featuring aviaries and arboretums filled with exotic birds, monkeys, and all kinds of animals. The mansion is also the only private home in Los Angeles to have a permanent fireworks permit.
It is currently owned by Daren Metropoulos, the son of billionaire investor Dean Metropoulos, and is used for various corporate activities. It also serves as a location for television production, magazine photography, charitable events, and civic functions. Now, its wild party days are long behind it, but the home continues its tradition of entertaining guests, and is now a sough-after setting for Hollywood events and fundraisers.
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 in 1971 for $1.1 million, from Louis D. Statham (1908–1983), an engineer, inventor and chess aficionado. In early 2011, it was valued at $54 million.
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, Marston and Cooper. Hefner and Conrad married in 1989 and separated in 1998. In March 2009, Hefner and Conrad put the property up 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. That residence was commonly referred to as the Bunny House. In April 2013, the Bunny House was listed for sale for the asking price of $11 million. In September 2017, the property was sold to an unidentified buyer for $17.25 million.
In March 2018, Daren Metropoulos, the owner of the Playboy Mansion, entered into an agreement with the City of Los Angeles which permanently protects the mansion from demolition. The agreement between Metropoulos and the City of Los Angeles, referred to between the parties as a “permanent protection covenant,” is binding on all future owners. The agreement protects the mansion from demolition, but still allows Metropoulos to make modernizations and substantial renovations and repairs to the property “following a long period of deferred maintenance” while under Playboy ownership.
Under the permanent protection covenant, Metropoulos has further agreed to restore the house and facade to “its original grandeur.” The compromise agreement reversed a move in November 2017 by Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz to seek landmark status for the mansion in the hope of protecting the architectural integrity of the estate for what he called “an excellent example of a Gothic-Tudor.”
The Playboy Mansion 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 29 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 servant’s wing) houses the Editorial offices of Playboy. The main Aviary building is the original greenhouse, with four guestrooms adjoining.
The Master 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 house is a separate building on the north side. There are two sidewalks from the fountain in front of the main entrance, 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 game house’s rear backyard. The game house has a backyard with lounge chairs and gates on either side.
In Pop Cluture
The house can be seen in the 1966 film Madame X, before it was purchased by Playboy.
The Playboy Mansion was used as a film location in Beverly Hills Cop II, with Hefner as himself in a cameo role.
The mansion hosted the Starting Line of the 12th season of CBS’ long-running reality competition series The Amazing Race.
The mansion was a main setting in the 2008 film The House Bunny, and Hugh Hefner again portrayed himself.
The mansion’s front gate appeared in the 2011 film Hop in which EB tries to request lodging in the mansion only for Hefner (in a voice-only appearance as himself, heard over the entry phone) to turn him away. Later, when the Pink Berets are searching for EB outside of the mansion, Hefner comes on the entry phone again and threatens to put a stop to what ever is going on outside. The Pink Berets respond by smashing the camera.
The mansion is briefly mentioned in the last panel of the Big Nate comic’s October 10, 2016 strip, in which Nate requests permission to interview Mr. Galvin for the school newspaper which Mr. Galvin denies as the last time Nate wrote about him, he Photoshopped Mr. Galvin’s head on to a photo of Leonardo DiCaprio at the Playboy Mansion, causing readers to jump to the false conclusion that Mr. Galvin was a “philandering party animal.”
The mansion can be seen in Grand Theft Auto V. It has a small cave, back patio and a small bar. Women and old men can be found here at night.