Photo of the Day

Hef and his bunnies at the original Playboy Mansion, Chicago, 1966. Photograph by Burt Glinn/Magnum Photo.

Mr Playboy

Beware Playmates on the Loose

The knocker on his front door proclaims: “If You Don’t Swing, Don’t Ring”

Hugh Hefner, the founder and original editor of Playboy, which plopped the post-war sexual revolution onto countless coffee tables around the world, died of natural causes of natural causes at his home in California on September 27, 2017.

In the process of becoming fabulously wealthy and famous, Hefner profoundly altered American life and values. Hefner, from the beginning, believed he could overturn social norms and take America with him.

Put these images together and a single name springs to mind-Hugh Hefner: Gorgeous young women in revealing poses; extravagant mansion parties packed with celebrities; a hot-tub grotto, elegant smoking jackets, and round rotating beds; the hedonistic pursuit of uninhibited sex.

From his spectacular launch of Playboy magazine and the dizzying expansion of his leisure empire, the publisher has attracted public attention and controversy for decades.

The leading men’s magazine of its age, Playboy helped bring explicit photography, embodied by its famous nude centrefolds, into the mainstream. Its iconic logo – a bunny sporting a bow tie – would eventually be emblazoned on nightclubs, a record company and TV series. And with his trademark smoking jackets and pipes – and the silk pyjamas he would often wear to work – Hefner became the embodiment of a sexually adventurous yet urbane image and lifestyle, a seeming role model for generations of men.

Q: How did this start for you, dressing in pyjamas?

The Hef: It began in the early days of the magazine in Chicago. I was working around the clock. When the staff arrived in the morning, I would still be in my pyjamas. In the ’70s, it had become something acceptable enough so I could get away with it. I just continued to wear them on most casual occasions here. You don’t have to make any serious decisions in terms of what you’re going to wear other than what colour pyjamas to wear.

Marilyn Monroe on the first cover of Playboy, 1953.

When the first issue of Playboy magazine came out it was graced by Marilyn Monroe, who got paid a reported $50 for posing for the cover. In 1953, it was a time when states could legally ban contraceptives when the word “pregnant” was not allowed on “I Love Lucy,” Hefner published the first issue of Playboy, featuring naked photos of Marilyn Monroe (taken years earlier) and an editorial promise of “humour, sophistication and spice.”

Playboy soon became forbidden fruit for teenagers and a bible for men with time and money, primed for the magazine’s prescribed evenings of dimmed lights, hard drinks, soft jazz, deep thoughts and deeper desires. Within a year, circulation neared 200,000. Within five years, it had topped 1 million.

After the first issue of Playboy, Hefner realized that they had to shift their pinup strategy. The logic was that when one launches with Marilyn Monroe, it’s impossible – or so it seemed – to follow with someone of comparable desirability. So began the “Playmate of the Month”: the magazine chose beautiful, but unknown, women, to be featured nude with a short biography provided. The first, Miss January 1954, was Margie Harrison.

But before long Hefner wearied of the quality of centrefold pinups. Charlaine Karalus, Playboy’s subscription manager – and Hefner’s lover – suggested that the magazine take its own photos. Talented and beautiful, Hefner asked her to be Miss July 1955. She agreed, under the condition that she was provided with an alias. And so, “Janet Pilgrim” became the first so-called “girl next door.” As the magazine explained, she came from their own offices – a reminder that gorgeous women were not only to be found on pinups or in the movies. Miss July 1955 became a genuine sensation precisely because she was not a professional model. There was excitement in the idea of an unexpectedly sexy woman, a woman who was extraordinarily attractive but, due to circumstances, approachable. After that, Playboy began to photograph women who were not models by trade: students, clerks, authors and so forth. Hefner cultivated this practice into a philosophy – that his magazine would never spurn the women “right in front of us.” It was a brilliant move predicated on both male fantasy and male entitlement. Hefner understood that most men yearned for a seeming paradox: an attainable Aphrodite. If one could, theoretically, bump into a woman on the street, then she must not be too far out of reach, so to speak.

USA. Nevada, Las Vegas. 1966. Founder of Playboy, Hugh Hefner, working on the floor in a hallway of his mansion. © Burt Glinn | Magnum Photos.

The first issue sold an impressive 50,000 copies, and Hefner’s idea of tapping into the yearning for an alternative to Eisenhower-era blandness struck a chord. “I just thought there was another way of living a life,” he said. “Under all the conservatism and the repression, there was this yearning for something different. That’s the reason the magazine was successful, why people embraced it from the very outset.”

In 1963, Hefner had his first major brush with infamy when he was sued for publishing nude photos of actress Jayne Mansfield. (The jury couldn’t reach a decision and Hefner was spared.)

One bunny turned out to be a journalist: Feminist Gloria Steinem got hired in the early 1960s and turned her brief employment into an article for Show magazine that described the clubs as pleasure havens for men only.

A young Gloria Steinem had gone undercover as a Playboy Bunny at one of his Playboy Clubs and wrote a stinging inside critique of the magazine’s ethos and chauvinism in an article, titled “A Bunny’s Tale,” which was published in Show magazine. The bunnies, Steinem wrote, tended to be poorly educated, overworked and underpaid. Steinem regarded the magazine and clubs not as erotic, but “pornographic.”

“I think Hefner himself wants to go down in history as a person of sophistication and glamour. But the last person I would want to go down in history as is Hugh Hefner,” Steinem later said.

Satellite view of the Playboy Mansion.

Playboy proved a scourge and a temptation. Drew Barrymore, Farrah Fawcett and Linda Evans are among those who have posed for the magazine. Several bunnies became celebrities, too, including singer Deborah Harry and model Lauren Hutton, both of whom had fond memories of their time with Playboy.

Other bunnies had traumatic experiences, with several alleging they had been raped by Hefner’s close friend Bill Cosby. Hefner issued a statement in late 2014 he “would never tolerate this behaviour.” But two years later, former bunny Chloe Goins sued Cosby and Hefner for sexual battery, gender violence and other charges over an alleged 2008 rape.

By the 1970s, the magazine had more than 7 million readers and had inspired such raunchier imitations as Penthouse and Hustler. Competition and the internet reduced circulation to less than 3 million by the 21st century, but Hefner and Playboy remained brand names worldwide. Asked by The New York Times in 1992 of what he was proudest, Hefner responded: “That I changed attitudes toward sex. That nice people can live together now. That I decontaminated the notion of premarital sex. That gives me great satisfaction.”

He was a widely admired but far from universally beloved figure. Many feminist and religious leaders regarded him as nothing but a glorified pornographer who degraded and objectified women with impunity. Women were warned from the first issue: “If you’re somebody’s sister, wife, or mother-in-law,” the magazine declared, “and picked us up by mistake, please pass us along to the man in your life and get back to Ladies Home Companion.”

Hugh Hefner in the Chicago Playboy mansion. Chicago, IL., USA. 1966. © Burt Glinn | Magnum Photos.

When Hugh Hefner was drafting the image of his ideal Playboy reader—a literate and liberated sort, who also enjoyed a nice set of cans—his ideas went far beyond silk bed sheets, martini shakers, and one-night stands with stewardesses, a dog-eared copy of the latest Kinsey Report laid conspicuously on the nightstand.

In fact, one of his most lasting contributions to Western culture might be in the realms of architecture and design, areas of interest that allowed him to round out his readers’ world. After inventing the Playboy bunny, he laid the floor plans for another cultural icon: the bachelor pad. Raised in Chicago amid the buildings of Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright, Hefner was an early champion of midcentury modern. He was also a student of human nature, having earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Hefner’s erudite interiors were fully automated, streamlined machines for high-end living, with doorless quarters to encourage debauchery. In contrast to today’s man caves and the musty drawing rooms of yore (where men lounged in cracked leather chairs and harrumphed into their cognac snifters), Hefner’s renderings were chockablock with gizmos and designed to seduce, with linear open plans so a man could smoke his pipe anywhere he damn well pleased.

Remote control in hand, he could also draw the curtains, open the garage door, pop open the wet bar, or click on the hooded fireplace, all from the comfort of his two-piece Eames lounge. You could say Hefner saw his reader, a sort of 007 with a license to lady kill, as the future of American manhood. His reasoning was sound: After surviving the horrors of WWII and Korea, didn’t every guy deserve a castle all his own?

In the gorgeously rendered architectural and design drawings that appeared regularly in Playboy’s pages from the early fifties to 1979, the classic men’s den, a secluded habitat equal parts fantasy and function, radiated out into every room of the house.

The master bedroom of the Playboy Penthouse Apartment designed by Chrysalis architects, 1956. Courtesy of Playboy.

The Hef encouraged a pleasure at all cost lifestyle. Pleasure and doing what “feels good” became the focus and purpose of his life and many bought into it. Hugh’s influence came when society was headed into a very prosperous time and people had more leisure time. Society bought into the purpose of life is pleasure and that if we would just seek the highest pleasure we would be happy.

Hefner played a crucial role in the sexual revolution that upended traditional notions of behaviour and expectations regarding sex. He emerged as one of the most influential advocates of a rapidly developing consumer culture, flooding Playboy readers with images of material abundance and a leisurely lifestyle. He proved instrumental-with his influential magazine, syndicated television shows, fashionable nightclubs, swanky resorts, and movie and musical projects-in making popular culture into a dominant force in many people’s lives.

Ironically, Hefner also became a controversial force in the movement for women’s rights. Although advocating women’s sexual freedom and their liberation from traditional family constraints, the publisher became a whipping boy for feminists who viewed him as a prophet for a new kind of male domination.

The Playboy Mansion has been a creative centre for Hef as his residence and workplace…

Hefner began his creative work as a cartoonist. As a child, Hefner was shy and took to drawing cartoons as a way to combat his social anxieties. In high school, he founded his school’s newspaper, and wrote and illustrated his own comic book, “School Daze.” He continued this work as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The impulse to draw grew from Hefner’s desire to construct and dwell in a fantasy of the world as he would have preferred it. Often, these fantasies centred on the sort of man he wanted to be. He was dazzled by celebrities like Humphrey Bogart, who performed masculinity’s most desirable iterations. Hefner sought to reinvent himself according to mid-century heteronormative ideals. Esquire served as the primary guidebook for men seeking to transform themselves into chick magnets, and before the 1950s – a more sexually restrictive era – they also included images of pinup girls. Hefner was seduced by the pinups, thereby exploring his own desires as he simultaneously studied how to be a desirable man.

When Hefner and his colleagues started work on the first issue of Playboy, initially called Stag Party, it was the early 1950s – a far more puritanical time. Esquire, for whom Hefner briefly worked, no longer included pinup girls or cartoons; wholesomeness was the new fetish. So when he decided to begin his own magazine, he modelled it after the Esquire of the 1940s and curated it according to his own interests: writing on music, literature and culture for “the young, urban male.” But whereas many of the pinup girls in other mags of the time had previously been drawn, Hefner decided to confront the issue of sexuality more squarely by including photos of nude women.

Last year the mansion was sold for more than $US100 million, the buyer being 33-year-old investor Daren Metropoulos, who agreed that Hugh could continue staying in the home he’s been living in since 1971. Source: Getty

This, on its own, was not revolutionary: sunbathing magazines existed at the time, and their female models posed naked. But Hefner wanted his magazine’s pinup to contain a pointed editorial message: sex was OK. Unsurprisingly, however, the means of conveying this message was deeply sexist. At the time, calendar companies purchased photos of nude models, as well as their rights. Anyone who wanted to procure one of these photographs was required to do business with the company that owned it. When word spread that one of these calendar companies had purchased an early nude photo of Marilyn Monroe, Hefner realized that this was the key to making the first issue of Stag Party a success – after all, there was no woman in America more desired and revered as a sexual icon. Monroe, of course, had no say in this transaction: Hefner approached a male representative at the calendar company and bargained for the photo. After purchasing all rights to it, he was free to distribute it without recourse.

Pyjama Party. The Playboy Mansion is one of the most iconic homes in California—if not the whole of America. Known as being Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s home, its rise to fame was due to the legendary parties held there. What started out as Hugh Hefner’s private playboy parties soon turned into debaucherous celebrations of excess with an exclusive guest list.

Hefner did not model Playboy’s content after his own glamorous lifestyle – at first, it didn’t exist. He married his college sweetheart in 1949 – they lost their virginity to one another when he was 22 – and he lived modestly with his young family away from Chicago’s more lascivious allures. But after the first issue of Playboy was a rollicking success, Hefner moved the magazine’s office from his kitchen table to downtown Chicago and hired a larger full-time staff. He would end up spending increasingly more time at work, even moving a rollout couch into his office so that he could sleep there. Accordingly, his marriage suffered.

Hefner, however, seemed to feel no guilt. His team, comprised of men and women, would end up becoming a second family, and started hitting the town together. Soon enough, Playboy would start showing up on the invite list for Chicago’s more elite parties. It is at one of those events that Hefner met his first actual playboy: Victor Lownes. An old-money raised, mid-life divorcee who came to the conclusion that he didn’t want to be trapped by the confines of marriage in his 40s.

Whereas Hefner was “shy and cerebral,” Lownes was gregarious and promiscuous – the sort of person Hefner wanted to be. He hired the independently wealthy Lownes as Playboy’s manager of promotions. And at the same time, he started to learn the art of masculine sophistication, the very thing his publication peddled. Hefner explained that, during this time, he was “exploring the outer limits of what it really meant to be moral.” But the series also makes it clear that he was stifled by the traditional values that, up until that point, choreographed his life, and that he is purposefully discarding them.

What Hefner ended up realizing, as he drifted further away from his family, is that he disdained the prevailing expectation for men to “settle down,” as it were, immediately after college. He started to live as if he were a single man and, accordingly, came to believe that all men should enjoy a period of revelry and self-indulgence prior to marriage. (There is no discussion about whether women deserve similar lenience, or how women factor into this idealized bachelor period.)

At the dawn of the 1960s, Hefner also decided that the magazine should shift its aim – that it should be a guide on “how to become the ultimate playboy.” At that point, there was no magazine that looked at how to live as a single man. Playboy looked to fill that gap while promoting a new way of navigating one’s youth. Hefner determined that his magazine would initiate trends, rather than follow them, and methodically demonstrate how to effectively and exuberantly live “the playboy lifestyle.” Playboy set out to offer a new perspective on what masculinity can mean. At the time, heterosexual manhood was exemplified by outdoor pastimes: fishing, hunting and grilling. But men could also mix cocktails in smoking jackets, read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and appreciate works of art. Playboy started to promote a genteel form of heteronormative masculinity: men who wanted to bed beautiful women but didn’t necessarily care to threadworms onto fishing books.

Playboy model Holly Madison posing outside the Playboy mansion back in 2005. Spanning across 1.3 acres, the five-bedroom property was the ultimate haven for Hugh and his playmates. Source: Getty

Hefner wouldn’t have been the first person anyone would have expected to launch such an empire. Born in Chicago on April 9th, 1926, he was the son of Methodists, served as a noncombatant in World War II, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Illinois and didn’t lose his virginity until he was 22. “I was raised in a truly typical Midwestern home with a lot of repression,” Hefner said later. “My life, and the creation of Playboy were a response to that repression. I tried to make some difference, and I think I managed to do that.”

In the early 1950s, Hefner officially entered the publishing world with a job as a copywriter at Esquire, then based in Chicago. When the magazine declined to give him a raise, he opted to stay in town when Esquire moved to New York. Hefner sensed another destiny for himself, tied in with the post-war repression of the Fifties. “I looked back on the Roaring Twenties, with its jazz, Great Gatsby and the pre-Code films as a party I had somehow managed to miss,” he later explained. “After World War II, I expected something similar, a return to the period after the first war. But when the skirt lengths went down instead of up, I knew we were in big trouble. It turned out to be a very conservative, serious period – socially, sexually and politically.”

Hefner’s parents worked as school teachers and raised the future mogul in Chicago. The publisher once described them in an interview as ‘conservative, Midwestern and Methodist.’ No matter their convictions on Hefners line of work, the family bond was clearly strong. It was his mother who loaned her son $1,000 to fund Playboy. Not because she believed in the venture, but because she believed in her son. The magazine was launched in 1953 along with some help from other investors and a US$600 bank loan.

Inside the Chicago Playboy Mansion. USA. Chicago, IL. 1966. Hugh HEFNER, Playboy founder, with playboy bunnies at his home.

Hef was raised in a repressive home where there was little emotion shown, no outward displays of love. No kissing on the cheek. He and his brother felt very much that we were loved, but simply, their parents were unable to show their love. Their father is a direct descendant of William Bradford, one of the original Puritans on the Mayflower. Hef thinks those roots ran deep not only in his life but are a part of the American experience. Hef said: “One of the sad things about my life is that my parents were never fully able to appreciate what I’ve managed to accomplish. I think they were proud of me as a person. My father came to work for me. My mother invested $1,000 in Playboy, not because she believed in the magazine but because she believed in her son. That money made them millionaires. But I don’t think that they ever fully appreciated the positive impact that Playboy and my life have had on society.”

What life lessons did your parents teach you?

A: Tolerance, idealism, honesty and lack of bigotry. They were crippled in only one way: the Puritan way they were raised.

Q: But you’ve made talking about sex at the dinner table acceptable. What are your thoughts on that?

Hef: It’s what I take the most pride in. I would like to be remembered as someone who has had a significant impact in changing sexual values, in changing the repressive attitudes toward sexuality.

Q: What do you remember most about your first high school crush?

Hef: The fact that I reinvented myself in order to get noticed. I started dressing cool with yellow cords and saddle shoes. I learned to jitterbug and started referring to myself as Hef.

Mother knows best: The bond between the adult entertainment publisher and his mom was clear in this rare image from 1976; it was revealed that she helped him launch the magazine with a small loan in 1953.

Proud parents: Playboy founder Hugh Hefner shared intimate photos of his life from the 1970s on his Instagram page showing his ‘conservative’ parents Grace and Glenn Hefner.

Arguably the most successful magazine editor of all time, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner was the first publisher to create not only a magazine but a lifestyle brand.

He previously said: ‘I think that from the very beginning … what made Playboy so popular was not simply the naked ladies, there were naked ladies in other magazines. ‘What made the magazine so popular was, even before I started writing the philosophy, there was a point of view in the magazine. ‘Prior to that, you couldn’t run nude pictures without some kind of rationale that they were art.

Hefner said that he was a strong advocate of First Amendment, civil rights and reproductive rights and that the magazine contained far more than centrefolds. Playboy serialized Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” and later published fiction by Doris Lessing and Vladimir Nabokov. Playboy also specialized in long and candid interviews, from Fidel Castro and Frank Sinatra to Marlon Brando and then-presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, who confided that he had “committed adultery” in his heart.

The line that people read Playboy for the prose, not the pictures, was only partly a joke.

Hugh did more than his fair share for the black civil rights movement in 1960s America and is seen by many as being years ahead of his time when most media outlets in the US were fearful of showing any signs of integration between black and white.

It was during 1962 that ‘Roots’ author Alex Haley first interviewed Miles Davis for Playboy magazine and Davis spoke at length about his thoughts and feelings on the racism he encountered in his daily life. Such was the success of this piece that Hefner made Haley’s interviews a regular feature in the magazine. These days interviews with black artists may not seem to be much out of the ordinary but back in the 1960s not many magazines would take such a risk fearing circulation and advertising issues.

The Hef and Ella Fitzgerald. Hugh Hefner – The Pyjama-Clad Activist.

During the cultural and sexual revolution of the 1960s – possibly the heydey of the magazine – Hefner embodied the lifestyle his magazine proposed at his Chicago, and later Los Angeles, mansions. The magazine fused nude female pictorials with writing from literary heavyweights like the author Vladimir Nabokov, who previewed his 1969 book Ada in the magazine and featured interviews with political figures; Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Miles Davis and George Lincoln Rockwell, leader of the American Nazi Party, all appeared uncensored in Playboy Interviews.

When looking for a home for Playboy in Chicago, Hefner’s bids for planning to build were hindered by city authorities. But then he heard of a remarkable three-story property at 1340 N. State Parkway, two blocks from Lake Michigan on Chicago’s famed Gold Coast. “It was a magnificent brick-and-limestone mansion, surrounded by an imposing wrought-iron fence, built in 1899 by Dr George Isham – one of whose ancestors had been Abraham Lincoln’s law partner,” wrote Hefner in the now out-of-print book Inside the Playboy Mansion.

Hefner acquired what was to become the Playboy Mansion in December 1959 – “not simply as a private residence, but as a corporate facility that would become the very centre of the Playboy world.” Hefner aspired to foster a salon-culture there, entertaining celebrities, models, and cultural figures. Playboy’s Penthouse was a television show first broadcast in 1959, which portrayed a typical party at Hefner’s place, complete with Playboy Playmates and celebrities, who would chat with Hefner and perform. Guests included Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Nina Simone as well as Lenny Bruce, Cy Coleman, and Buddy Rich. It was one of the few television shows that showed black and white people socializing at a time when much of America was still segregated; many TV stations in the south would not air it.

As part of his ever-expanding Playboy Empire, in 1960 Hefner set up a series of nightclubs called, not surprisingly, Playboy Club, on a franchise basis. Once a member joined they had access to other clubs using a coveted membership ‘key’. However, black members soon found that when they travelled south they weren’t allowed in the Playboy Clubs in Miami and New Orleans. When Hefner heard about this he quickly set about buying the franchises back and made a point that all his clubs would not tolerate racism.

In 1965 Jennifer Jackson became the first black Playboy centrefold model during a time when wider society didn’t consider black women to be attractive. To put this into some kind of perspective ‘Sports Illustrated’ didn’t have a black woman on its cover until 1996 some 31 years after Playboy.

The Playboy Philosophy. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner typing at his desk in his mansion. Chicago, IL, USA. 1966. © Burt Glinn | Magnum Photos.

There was James Bond-inspired living at Hefner’s Holmby Hills, Los Angeles mansion – which Hefner bought in 1970.

“Hef and Ian Fleming were really good friends – Ian Fleming’s novels first appeared in Playboy Magazine – so there were trap doors in the Chicago mansion inspired by James Bond. There was a painting and you’d push a button and the painting would rise and then there would be the TV set – and back in those days nobody had that. On the floor, there was a trap door and you’d open it and down below you’d see people swimming. Another secret door would open to reveal a fireman’s pole, which you could use to slide all the way down to the bottom floor, towards the pool.”

“The photograph of Hef with the files is very important because all of those files in front of him are research material for him to write the Playboy philosophy. There is a people file and there’s a subject file; what’s in front of him is the subject file. Hef wrote the Playboy philosophy himself in 18 different installments that were published in the magazine, they included ‘Sex and the Church,’ ‘Obscenity and the Law,’ ‘Censorship and Sex’, ‘Religion, Sex and the State’ – because in the United States there’s differences in sex laws in each different state – and there was also ‘Religious Freedom in the United States’.

In his lifetime, Hef tried to make a difference, to work towards a positive change in people’s attitudes and even the law. He tried to argue that sex is healthy and should not be punishable. He also backed Roe v. Wade to give women the right to choose. During this period, he met with ministers, and also Jewish rabbis, protestants and clergymen and they all had a discussion regarding religion, sexuality and ethics, and he then wrote about that in the Playboy philosophy.”

“When Hef is working on the magazine he uses the floor to spread out all of the layouts of the magazine. He separates them all out: the cartoons, the illustrations, and editorial. He uses the floor as his desk. He always works on the floor so that visually he can see how the magazine is going to be laid out.

That round bed is also James Bond-inspired: it rotates, so if he’s working he’ll rotate it to a certain place, then if he’s romantically with a person, he can rotate it and it can face the fireplace, then if he wants to watch a movie, he could rotate it to the other side of the room and there would be a screen and a projector. Also, in that round bed, there is a slot where a cabinet will open with supplies, and in the middle there is a black cushion panel that folds open to reveal cup holders and something to place his dinner on so that he can eat his dinner while he is working.”

Hugh Hefner abandoned the Chicago mansion in the 1970s. The building is now luxury apartments.

Hefner in bed, 1966. Courtesy of Playboy.

Have your own party at the Playboy Mansion, Like a True Playboy!!

At the original Playboy Mansion in Chicago, there used to be a brass plate that read (in Latin) “If you don’t swing, don’t ring”.

Want to host a private party at the Playboy Mansion? All you have to do is contact Playboy Enterprises right here and inquire—make sure you know the date you’d like your party (plus some alternative dates), how many people will be in attendance, and if you have any special requirements (catering, entertainment, etc.). Good luck!

The playboy Mansion is made up of a total of 29 rooms. The original mansion was originally designed in a Gothic-Tudor style, and was built on 5.3 acres of land in 1927. The mansion is home to a games room, a wine cellar, a “cinema”/screening room, tennis courts, zoo (and adjoining aviary), patio (with barbecue area), as well as a large swimming pool area that includes features such as an artificial waterfall, sauna, bathhouse, and of course the much talked-about grotto.

The living areas of the mansion are located on the ground floor, and include the dining room, kitchens, and main reception (and event) areas. The upstairs of the mansion houses Hugh’s “girlfriends” (also known as the “bunnies in residence,” and which can range anywhere from three to fifteen women at a time), as well as the master bedroom, where Hugh slept.

While the house is not owned by Hugh himself (it is technically owned by Playboy Enterprises, to which hush pays an annual rent), Hugh has renovated it to better fit his needs to the tune of $15 million. While the mansion itself is impressive, the sprawling grounds are part of its charm and play host to some of the biggest parties held at the mansion.

While parties at the Playboy Mansion abound, getting invited to one was not so easy. To maintain the exclusivity of the parties, as well as some mystery around the Playboy lifestyle, the guest list was usually limited, and security tight.

Parties held at the Mansion fell into three categories:

1) Private parties hosted by Hugh,

2) Private events hosted by a company other than Playboy Enterprises or charity that chose to use the Playboy Mansion as their party location, and

3) Public parties where an invitation is a bonus (but is not required) and tickets could be purchased (at a very high price).

Every day was an occasion for a party at the Playboy Mansion! While Hugh’s private parties were frequent, his main party—frequented by numerous celebrities—was his Midsummer Night’s Dream party which took place every year. Hugh also hosted an annual Halloween party at the mansion (organized by a third-party, and for which tickets could be purchased), as well as numerous other parties such as the infamous lingerie & pyjama party, the summer solstice party, the ‘fight night’ party, Grammy party, and Superbowl party.

In order to get invited to a party at the Playboy Mansion, here’s what you needed to do:

For a private party:

  • Have a personal invitation from Hugh himself or any of his “girlfriends” or Playboy bunnies.
  • Work for Playboy Enterprises or be employed by Hugh himself
  • Be an attractive—and preferably scantily-clad—woman
  • Be a known celebrity
  • Win a ticket in the Playboy magazine sweepstakes

The easiest party to get into at the Playboy Mansion was the annual Halloween party. This year, the party was to be held on October 25th, and tickets could be purchased online. Prices are on request only, but our understanding is they could range anywhere from $1,500 to $15,000.

If you made it to the Playboy Mansion, there’s a lot you could experience during your visit. First of all, only certain areas of the Mansion were designated party areas. Some areas were off-limits, such as the second floor of the Mansion, which included Hugh’s girlfriends’ rooms as well as the master bedroom.

Because the Mansion is located on sprawling grounds, the party (or at least part of it) would be held outdoors— and you were advised to pack your swimsuit just in case!

And while we’re on the topic of swimsuits: the famed grotto, located at the pool, is something you would have definitely experienced if you went swimming at the Mansion. The grotto is a secluded area in the pool created out of artificial rocks and contains a Jacuzzi/hot-tub. It also features several mattresses for “napping.”

Parties at the Mansion were notorious for their over-the-top entertainment. There was usually a DJ, and anything from flamethrowers to contortionists, to cage dancers. The Manson is also the only property in the county to have a fireworks license, as well as a zoo license. So there was definitely some sort of entertainment to feature animals (snakes, birds, and monkeys—that we’ve heard of). The Playboy Mansion was home to a 24-hour kitchen, with 12 full-time chefs that cater every meal and every party. Guests had loads of carefully prepared dishes, as well as a selection of freshly baked treats (Hugh loved cookies!). Parties at the mansion almost always had an open bar, to keep the good times flowing.

While the Playboy Mansion has hosted some of the biggest celebrity names in Hollywood, it’s also known for keeping their guest list under wraps so the A-list can party without inhibitions or worrying about the paparazzi. Some stars like being seen, and others not so much. What Happened in the Grotto, Stayed in the Grotto.

First off, forget about driving yourself to a party at the Mansion. All vehicles that entered the property underwent a security check, and often vehicles belonging to people were not associated with Hugh were not allowed to remain on the grounds. For large parties, you were asked to leave your car at a nearby parking lot and take a special shuttle to the Mansion.

Many people who attended parties at the Playboy Mansion expected to hook up with attractive strangers. While this was often the case as there were be lots—and we mean lots—of beautiful, mostly-naked women at the party, most did not appreciate unsolicited touching, and many were not to be photographed. Hugh’s “girlfriends” were for Hugh’s enjoyment only, and rumour has it that he could be quite possessive and did care for sharing. To avoid embarrassment (or worse—being thrown out of the party), guests were advised to practice common courtesy with the ladies present, or risk getting unlucky.

Similarly, if you spotted a celebrity, you were to make sure to ask before you snap a pic—most celebrities like to keep what happens in the Playboy Mansion out of the public eye.

The address of the Playboy Mansion is 10236 Charing Cross Road, Los Angeles, California.

Hugh Hefner (c) and the Playboy Playmates arrive at the ’35th Annual AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Al Pacino’ held at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, CA on Thursday, June 7, 2007.

In 2016 his famous Playboy mansion in Beverly Hills, LA, was sold for more than $US100 million, the buyer being 33-year-old investor Daren Metropoulos.

He agreed that Hugh could continue staying in the home he’s been living in since 1971. Hefner’s neighbour will now be taking over the Playboy mansion. He also included the proviso that his legendary bedroom remains untouched until sometime after his death. His neighbour, Metropoulos, is said to have agreed to the conditions when purchasing the property, and as Hugh Hefner has now passed away at the age of 91, it’s thought the new owner will now move in. Metropoulos bought the house next door and now reportedly plans to join the two dwellings, aiming to preserve the architectural heritage of the property built in 1927.

In September 2017, the ranch-style home where Hugh Heffner’s voluptuous Playboy Bunnies once lived in luxury was been sold for $17.25 million. The famed Playboy Bunny Ranch, which is directly across from the Playboy Mansion, was sold to an unidentified buyer.

The 29-bedroom mansion became famous for being the location for many wild parties thrown by Hugh, as well as being the setting for the MTV show Girls Of The Playboy Mansion and featuring on an episode of Cribs. It features a zoo and the famous grotto swimming pool which was used for many of the raunchy soirees – famously Hugh had parties with up to 16 women in there – which is hidden in a rock in the back garden.

The residence played host to thousands of pool parties, kept the secrets of hundreds of Hollywood stars, and been inhabited by an ever-changing coterie of the world’s most beautiful women and Hugh Hefner.

Hugh used to share the house with his Playboy bunnies, for whom he used to host three movie nights a week and paid them a weekly allowance. The girls were under a strict 9 pm curfew while living there and many said it felt like ‘prison’. His three favourite Playboy bunnies – his ‘girlfriends’, with Kendra Wilkinson, Holly Madison, and Bridget Marquardt – would live in the main house with him while the others shared a house within the grounds.

The Playboy Mansion schedule:

  • Monday was “Manly Night.” Hef had the guys over for dinner and a movie.
  • Tuesday was “Family Night.” Hef’s wife and two sons, who lived adjacent to the Mansion, would pop by for some much-needed family time.
  • Wednesday was “Club Night.” The girlfriends were prepped and ready by 10 pm to hit some ultra-exclusive LA nightspot.
  • Thursday was an “Off Night.” The girls had a free evening with a 9 pm curfew. (Also the case for Monday and Tuesday.)
  • Friday was another “Club Night.” Same deal as for Wednesday.
  • Saturday was a buffet dinner and movie with Hefner. Kinda like couples night in.
  • Sunday was Church. Only kidding – Sunday was the “Fun in the Sun” pool party, followed by dinner and an evening movie.

None of the girls seemed very excited to sleep with their elderly boyfriend. Generally, the newer girls were pressed into action, like Holly on her first bedroom visit. “My turn was over just as quickly as it started… I have never had a more disconnected experience. There was zero intimacy involved. No kissing, nothing. It was so brief that I can’t even recall what it felt like beyond having a heavy body on top of mine.” In the manner of a politician glad-handing a room of supporters, Hefner services as many girls as possible. Hef strictly forbade any of his girlfriends from dating other people” – not out of jealousy so much as the Playboy (and Hefner) image.

According to Holly, the newly arrived Playgirls fell into three categories:

  • The Hustler: tried to take old Hef for all he was worth.
  • The Runner: quickly decided life as a glorified slave wasn’t for them, and duly vanished.
  • The Fighter: tough and honest. Tried to build a new Jerusalem within the Mansion’s hallowed walls. Undermined constantly by the hustlers.

Girlfriends had to stay at Hef’s table all night, only dancing within clear sight. Bathroom breaks were permissible but brief.

Hugh Hefner showing off one of his silk robes with wife Crystal just before Halloween 2014.

The Hef leaves behind his third wife, Crystal Harris, a former Playboy Playmate who he married in 2012. Hugh was previously married to Kimberley Conrad from 1989 to 2010 and Millie Williams from 1949 to 1959.

Cooper one of Hefners four children confirmed his father’s death.The Playboy founder’s son has remembered his dad in a tribute praising him for being a trailblazer in pushing for free speech and sexual freedom with his magazine empire. The 26-year-old said: ‘My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom. ‘He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history.

‘He will be greatly missed by many, including his wife Crystal, my sister Christie and my brothers David and Marston, and all of us at Playboy Enterprises.’ Cooper is the chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises. Cooper’s mother is Kimberly Conrad, Hefner’s second wife and former Playmate of the Year.

Cooper, the youngest of Hefner’s four children, has achieved quite a lot at age 26. He is the Chief Creative Officer at Playboy Enterprises, the founder and former CEO of upstart media company HOP, and a member of the California State Military Reserve

Hugh Hefner bounces into the movie room at his 31-room Holmby Hills mansion dressed in his usual custom silk pyjamas, smoking jacket and velvet slippers.

It is believed that Hugh will be buried next to the first centrefold of Playboy magazine. Hefner reportedly bought the vault next to Marilyn Monroe’s in the Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles so he could lie next to the actress forever. The publisher bought the mausoleum vault in 1992 for $75,000 – while an anonymous bidder bought the vault directly above Marilyn for $4.6 million in 2009.

Playboy Mansion – Wikipedia

I Went to the Playboy Mansion (and It Was Kinda Depressing) – VICE

The Playboy Mansion – A look inside the Playboy Mansion – Pictures …

Wild moments from the Playboy Mansion – NY Daily News

Hugh Hefner’s Neighbor to Buy Playboy Mansion – People

Hugh Hefner – Wikipedia

Hugh Hefner: Inside the Playboy Mansion – Rolling Stone

Hugh Hefner On Early ‘Playboy’ And Changing America’s Values : NPR

Hugh Hefner – Biography.com

Hugh Hefner’s wives and girlfriends through the years – INSIDER

What To Read About Hugh Hefner’s Complicated Life And Legacy – Digg

Hugh Hefner, ‘Playboy’ Founder, Dead at 91 – Rolling Stone

Hugh Hefner, Iconic Playboy, Dies at 91 | Vanity Fair

Hugh Hefner’s Surprising Civil-Rights Legacy – The Daily Beast

Real life inside Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion | British GQ

The iconic Playboy Mansion played a starring role in Hugh Hefner’s life

Hugh Hefner Esquire Interview – The Perfect Life of Hugh Hefner

Checking in With Hugh Heffner – Rolling Stone


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