Hugh Hefner Didn’t Own The Playboy Mansion
You’d think Hefner — who was rumored to be worth around $50 million at the time of his passing — would’ve owned this iconic building. As fate would have it, he actually didn’t technically own the building.
According to various reports, Playboy Enterprises owned the building. It got to a point where Hefner actually had to lease the building from the company. Before you start feeling bad for Hugh, let’s look at the fine print of the contract. Some reports insist Hefner only had to pay $100/month for the leasing of the building.
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He Likes What He Likes
Hefner was a stickler as to how the mansion looked. In a sense, he wanted to preserve the time period dating back to the ’60’s. As best as he could, he withstood requests to alter and update the décor within the house.
Taking it a step further, there were no cordless phones at the mansion. Instead, he opted to only operate with landline phones. Even though the place was ‘dated’, it worked well enough for Hugh.
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The Original Mansion Was Supposed to be in Chicago
Hefner was born and raised in Chicago before making his way west to Los Angeles. In the late ’50’s, he purchased the mansion shown above — with the purpose of making it the official Playboy spot. It was said to cost Hefner $400,000 (which by today’s standard, would have cost roughly $8.6 million).
However, as Hefner continued to meet more and more influential people based on the West Coast, it would make more sense for him to abandon this project in favor of a mansion in Southern California. Today, the Chicago mansion is actually seven separate units.
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Actor Luke Wilson Suffered a Severe Punishment
We all know Luke Wilson from a number of noteworthy projects (Old School, The Royal Tenenbaums, Blue Streak). He also happens to be the brother of fellow actor Owen Wilson. There was a time where Wilson garnered a heavily-desired invite to the mansion.
Security asked who he was with — and Wilson allegedly responded that he was with his brother, Owen. As fate would have it, he was actually with a friend. When this white lie was discovered, Wilson reportedly was banned from entering the mansion for 18 months.
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Hugh’s Girlfriends Had Allowances
The process in being one of Hefner’s girlfriends certainly had its perks. There were some unsavory elements of the job, also. According to one of his past girlfriends, Hugh would have a Friday morning check-in of sorts.
Going to his private bedroom, the girlfriends would approach the room as Hefner got their ‘allowances’ ready. The girlfriend recounted as he’d hand them $100 bills one by one (until each girlfriend received $1,000). If any of the girls upset him, Hefner allegedly would not dole out the cash to the said girl.
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Hugh Loved Animals
Hugh loved his animals. We’re not just talking about dogs — but rather the exotic wildlife you’d normally not see at the average residence. By procuring a zoo license, he was able to keep some really unique creatures on the premises.
We’re talking about flamingoes, peacocks, toucans, monkeys, snakes, a tiger, macaws, and a llama. It must’ve been pretty sweet to hit the pool/grotto while watching flamingoes causally strutting across the property lawn.
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Boxing at the Mansion?
There were plenty of instances where the grounds were transformed into a full-on boxing arena. Some of these showcases were done for charity. Others were created for sheer entertainment. By entertainment, we mean for those guests in attendance for a big party.
Reports also indicate that the seating chart was a big deal for the girlfriends living in the house. In other words…they all wanted to sit next to Hef ringside.
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Elvis Loved The Mansion
Elvis was a big fan of the mansion. Consider us not surprised — as the iconic musician was among the thousands of celebrities who’d gain admission into the residence. There was one night where Elvis reportedly got…a little wild.
Alleged rumors insist that the King of Rock ‘n Roll was enjoying himself immensely. So much, in fact, that Elvis allegedly had a room all to himself with eight Playboy Bunnies. In the aftermath of this, the room was dubbed ‘The Elvis Suite’ — and it was reportedly kept away from other celebs.
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A Curfew Was Instituted
It’s weird to think that adults would have any sort of curfew. Then again, the Playboy Mansion is a completely different animal. Reports indicate that the girls would have to return to the Mansion by 9 p.m.
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Grim Opinion on Mansion Gates
Holly Madison was one of the more famous girlfriends living in the Mansion. When she left, she wrote a tell-all book (Down The Rabbit Hole) in which she offered some rather eye-popping allegations. We all know about the famed gate separating the property from the outside world.
Many assume those were put in place — naturally — as a security measure to keep people away. According to Madison’s book, she reportedly insisted that they instead were to “lock her in” the property. The insinuation appears as if life within the walls were a bit like a prison.
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Earning Your Own Money Was Out of the Question
This stipulation wasn’t exactly the most progressive move by Hef. According to one article, girlfriends weren’t allowed to earn money for themselves. They could make money only under the stipulation that it were within the realm of Hefner and Playboy.
Basically, the main sources of income for these ladies came via the reality show, and also at events were Hefner was present. At times, reports indicated that the girls would sometimes have to beg him for money.
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How Many Girlfriends Did He Have?!
Hugh definitely had a way with the ladies! Aside from being married three times and having a handful of lengthy relationships with playmates, Hugh also had his live-in girlfriends. According to reports, Hefner allegedly had 12 girlfriends at one time.
Whenever he had to attend an event, it wasn’t too difficult in finding a plus-one. We would be curious as to whether the ladies were jealous of one another…or if they enjoyed the shared responsibilities.
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No Boys Allowed
According to some past Playmates who lived in the Mansion, they were not allowed to bring boys over. Surely, if you’re in a relationship with Hef, it would make sense.
Still, it begs the question: if girls were upset over not being able to bring men back to the crib, what sort of relationship was it in the first place? Reports also indicate that a few of the past Playmates did end up leaving the house over this stipulation by Hef.
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There is something quite fascinating about the property. Located in a suburb of Los Angeles, the Mansion is said to be the only private home allowed to have a private fireworks permit. One of Hefner’s favorite holidays was the Fourth of July.
He’d reportedly unleash a fantastic fireworks show from the property. According to those in the area, they said the show could be seen for miles and miles.
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Be Careful of the Grotto
A decade ago, it was reported that hundreds of guests became ill after visiting the Mansion. Of course, every stone was unturned in the hopes of finding out the culprit. As fate would have it, the famed grotto — a place many have enjoyed over the years — was the source of a bacteria outbreak.
The famed hot tub was full of the disease, and as such it needed to be fully fumigated. Understandably so, the grotto likely wasn’t as popular in the following years.
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There were a number of reasons as to why the girls sometimes rarely saw Hugh. For one, he had a number of events off the property to attend to. He’d only take a couple of his girlfriends for those (if not just one).
The property itself was massive, and there was a ton going on. As one ex-girlfriend reportedly say, there’d be times where she’d maybe only see Hugh for a brief glimpse once a day.
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Watch it, Mr. Lennon!
A plethora of A-Listers came through the gates to visit Hugh and the property. One of those is famed musician John Lennon. As the story goes, Lennon was smoking a cigarette when visiting Hef.
Whether Lennon was a bit too intoxicated or not, he was alleged to have put out his cigarette on a very expensive piece of art crafted by Matisse (Hefner was a gigantic art collector). Hefner reportedly paid to have the piece restored, and the presumed relationship between Hef and Lennon was not strained.
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Of course, Hefner became rather chummy with some big-name celebrities. Aside from being a place of pleasure, fun, and excitement, it was also a safe haven for some who were going through a rough patch.
As the legend goes, the likes of Tony Curtis, Shel Silverstein (yes — that Shel Silverstein), and James Caan all lived at one point or another at the mansion. We could only imagine what the parties were like during this spell.
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The Playboy Staff
The Holmby Hills estate is — shall we say — massive. The house is nearly 22,000 square-feet (on over five acres). It features 29 rooms, forests, an orchard, and tons of miscellaneous swathes of land. As such, the upkeep is immense.
It leads to the crew working on this home being rather large. 80 full-time employees are reportedly working on the grounds. This includes everything from the chef to security, and even the electricians.
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Rumors had been swirling over the special characteristics of this mystical property. Some swore that secret tunnels existed as a way to get celebrities in and out of the property without being seen. We wouldn’t have put it past Hefner to be as accommodating to his guests as possible.
Some even suspected that the tunnels ended up in the homes of Jack Nicholson and James Caan. However, those working at the Mansion revealed that this entire theory was a massive prank used on April Fool’s Day.
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True…or Not True?
In a book he wrote, actor Stephen Baldwin mentioned a time in which he was at the Mansion with Robert Downey Jr. According to Downey Jr., there was a special step on a spiral staircase heading towards the cellar.
Baldwin was told that the third step from the bottom would trigger a silent alarm. The theory is that the cellar was originally safe-guarded when people snuck alcohol during the Prohibition era in the ’20’s. However, no one knows for sure.
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No Hugh…No Problem!
People who came to the Mansion wanted to meet Hugh. He was — after all — a pretty big deal! The figure had a magnetic personality people enjoyed, and meeting Hugh was often met with the request for a picture. Well, there were times that Hugh wasn’t able to schmooze at the Mansion.
When that happened, Hugh wanted to still give the people what they wanted. As such, a life-size cardboard cutout of Hefner was placed on the grounds of the Mansion when he was unavailable. This was especially the case allegedly inside during dinner parties.
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Dating back to his days as a writer, Hefner loved chronicling his journey. He lived one of the most fascinating lives of anyone over the last century. In order to preserve this for future generations, he had his own scrapbook specialist who put together over 3,000 albums of pictures and other miscellaneous items over the course of his life.
Anyone could access them, as they were in the library of the Mansion. Duly, he even gave the specialist instructions as to what to do when Hef eventually passed away. Some of the final entries into the scrapbooks were obituaries from Hefner’s funeral.
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Check Your Email
Hefner was said to be very picky as to how his girlfriends acted in the Mansion. If there was something he didn’t like, he reportedly was very open in having constant dialogue to voice his displeasure over whatever irked him.
Additionally, it was alleged that the girls living in the house would receive emails detailing what they did wrong — and how they had to represent themselves/the brand in a specific way when outside the house.
Talk about controlling.
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Decorate The Way You Want
After reading this piece, one could surmise that the women living in the Mansion didn’t exactly have much in the way of independence. However, they did reportedly have the freedom to decorate their bedrooms however they wanted.
Hugh himself liked the Mansion the way it was (which became dilapidated, dated, and somewhat decrepit). With that said, the girlfriends had free reign to do whatever they wanted to their own spaces.
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