Every straight male on earth has dreamed, at one point or another, of living in the Playboy Mansion.
An opulent palace teeming with a perpetually refreshing supply of buxom young beauties lazing about — what’s not to like?
Sure, it’s probably infested with old man smell, but that’s nothing some Glade Plug-Ins and some slathered-on tanning oil won’t cover up.
Hugh Hefner just turned 87, so there’s a good chance he won’t be living there (or anywhere) much longer, and the Playboy Mansion could come on the market. Here are some things you should know before making your bid (which should be roughly $54 million, judging by the 2011 appraisal).
9. The current playboy mansion is not the original Playboy Mansion
The original Playboy Mansion was a 70-room classical French brick and limestone home (which looks like a school) in Chicago built in 1899 for a physician named Dr. George Swift Isham. Hef bought it in 1959, and for a period during the swinging ’70s, he divided his time between the Chicago mansion and Hollywood, moving full-time to the California mansion in 1974. The Chicago mansion reportedly had a brass plate on the front door engraved with the Latin words Si Non Oscillas, Noli Tintinnare (“If you don’t swing, don’t ring”). Classy.
8. It’s kind of a dump
In 2010, Hugh Hefner’s former girlfriend Izabella St. James wrote in her tell-all autobiogrpahy, Bunny Tales: Behind Closed Doors at the Playboy Mansion, that the house was in dire need of an extreme makeover:
“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,” she wrote.
Nothing symbolizes sexy quite like the general scent of decay, huh?
[Author's note: I interviewed Izabella St. James a few years ago. She was very sweet, but declined my marriage proposal.]
7. It has a Mini-Me next door
The house next to the Playboy Mansion is a mirror image of the main palace, but smaller. Hefner purchased the neighboring building in 1996 as a home for his separated wife Kimberley Conrad and their children together. When Hef and Conrad finalized their divorce in 2010, they sold the house for a reported $5 million, which was to be split between them (and many lawyers).
6. It was designed by R. Kelly
Arthur R. Kelly, to be exact — not to be confused with the R&B Singer with a similar name. The architect Arthur Rolland Kelly specialized in the Tudor Revival style exemplified by the Playboy Mansion. Although architecture nerds prefer Kelly’s Frost-Tufts House — a classy bungalow in the Hollywood Hills now called Mariposa and reportedly owned by Sheryl Crow — his most famous creation is the Playboy Mansion, which Peter O’Toole described as “what God would have done if He’d had the money.”
5. The mansion makes more TV cameos than Betty White
Because of its iconic status and convenient Los Angeles location, the Mansion has become symbolic of Hollywood decadence as a backdrop in countless TV shows. You may have seen the mansion on: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (Hilary goes for a weathergirl photoshoot), The Amazing Race (it was the starting line of the Season 12 race), WWE Smackdown (Eddie Guerrero tries to stop his girlfriend Chyna‘s cover shoot), The Apprentice (a pool party), Beverly Hills Cop (Axel Foley crashes a party), Curb Your Enthusiasm (Hef shows off the place during a party), Sex and the City (the girls get thrown out of a party) and Entourage (you guessed it: a party scene).
4. A UFC fighter got knocked out there and then quit MMA
The Playboy Mansion has hosted a number of boxing and mixed martial arts events over the years, including several cards promoted by Sugar Ray Leonard and a pair of Strikeforce MMA shows.
Veteran UFC fighter Eugene Jackson, who had several dozen pro MMA fights under his belt, suffered a nasty knockout at the hands of Joe Riggs during Strikeforce: Playboy Mansion in September 2007, and hasn’t had a pro fight since. Perhaps he was distracted by the cage-side beauties.
3. The hot tub could make you sick
A couple of years ago, more than 120 people came down with fever and respiratory problems after attending a conference at the mansion. The culprit: Legionnaires’ Disease, spread from bacteria that emanated from a hot tub in the mansion’s famous grotto, according to the Centers for Disease Control. One can only imagine what other biological critters have infested those roiling waters.
2. There’s a Playboy Mansion video game
Playboy: The Mansion was released in 2005 for Playstation 2, Xbox and PC. The game promised to blend state-of-the-art social simulation with traditional role-playing and empire-building gameplay, allowing players to hobnob with beauties and develop the Playboy brand. The reviews were unanimous: meh. “Shooting centerfolds and putting together a magazine is halfway interesting, but the gameplay is nothing more than a third-rate “Sims” clone,” wrote Electronic Gaming Monthly.
1. Hefner’s a renter
According to Playboy Enterprises’ financial filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Hef pays rent for the “portion of the Playboy Mansion used exclusively for him and his personal guests’ residence,” which sets him back about $1.4 million per year.
Playboy Enterprises pays for the Mansion’s operating expenses, including depreciation and taxes.
We’re guessing Hef doesn’t mow the lawn (it’s a five-acre property) or clean up after the pets (there’s a full zoo and aviary, with accompanying pet cemetery).