The legendary mansion had been the home of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner since 1971 and had hosted its fair share of parties over the years. While it seemed out of reach for us mere mortals, we did manage to get a look inside thanks to shows like MTV Cribs and The Girls Next Door.
It boasts 22 rooms, a booze cellar, games room, cinema, three zoos/aviaries, a pet cemetery, tennis and basketball courts, a gym, a pool with a waterfall and two ‘well-established’ forests. Standard.
However, with the news that the iconic playboy founder, Hugh Hefner, had passed away at the age of 91, many are wondering what will become of the place that is nearly as synonymous with the Playboy brand as the bunny logo.
The Beverly Hills mansion was actually bought last year by investor Daren Metropoulos, who had been Hef’s next door neighbour since 2009. That was the year Metropoulos bought the neighbouring mini Playboy mansion that Hugh created in 1998 for ex-wife Kimberley Conrad.
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The massive property was first purchased by Hefner in 1971 for $1.1 million (which would equate to $6.66 million/£4.96 million in 2017). When it went on to the market last year, Playboy Enterprises was asking $200 million (£149 million) for it, in addition to the condition that Hugh would be allowed to live in it until his death.
It eventually sold for $100 million (£79 million), which became the largest sale ever in the Los Angeles county, according to the LA Times. The newspaper reports that Metropoulos wants to renovate the mansion and eventually connect it with its smaller, near identical neighbour. Combining the property for his personal residence would mean the estate will be a whopping 7.1 acres.
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One of Hef’s former girlfriends, Izabella St. James, recounted in her memoir, Bunny Tales,that the place was in serious need of a face-lift. She wrote: “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.
“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…The mattresses on our beds were disgusting – old, worn and stained. The sheets were past their best, too.”
Hugh outside the Playboy mansion in 1983. Credit: PA
But Hefner’s legacy will live on in the juggernaut that he created in 1953 with $8,000 ($73,563/£54,846 in 2017). While Playboy magazine was well known for its nude images of women, some of whom were celebrities or sporting stars, it was also renowned for its articles.
However, it controversially decided its March 2016 edition would have no full-frontal nudity. Chief Executive Scott Flanders believed it was too difficult competing with internet porn. Hugh agreed, saying: “This is what I always intended Playboy Magazine to look like.”
Less than a year later, the company acknowledged the decision had been a mistake and brought nudity back for this year’s February edition. What started as a magazine has grown into Playboy Enterprises, which includes Playboy TV, Playboy Online, Playboy Radio and a massive range of merchandise.
Hugh’s son, Cooper, has been at the helm of the creative side of the magazine since June last year, but he’s planning on bringing all those arms of the company into line with the magazine’s central premise that it would be ‘playful and sophisticated’. Cooper told the Hollywood Reporter: “We need our story to be told with one voice across all platforms.”
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