Playboy Mansion History
The original Playboy Mansion, Playboy Mansion East, was a 70-room residence in Chicago, Illinois located at 1340 North State Parkway. It was built in 1899 and acquired by Mr. Hefner in 1959. For a period in the 1970s, Hef divided his time between the Chicago mansion and the Mansion West, moving fulltime to the California mansion in 1974. The Chicago mansion boasted a brass plate on the door with the Latin inscription, Si Non Oscillas, Noli Tintinnare ("If you don't swing, don't ring").
The current Playboy Mansion, Playboy Mansion West, is located at 10236 Charing Cross Rd., Los Angeles, CA 90024. The 21,987 square foot house is described as being in the "Gothic-Tudor" style by Forbes magazine, and sits on 5.3 acres. It was built by architect Arthur R. Kelly in 1927 and acquired by Playboy from Louis D. Statham, a wealthy engineer, inventor and chess aficionado, in 1971 for about $1.2 million. It sits close to the extreme northwestern corner of the exclusive Los Angeles Country Club, near UCLA and the Bel-Air Country Club. Over the years, approximately $15 million has been invested in renovating and expanding the mansion and the current market value of the home is $50 million.
The mansion has 22 rooms including a wine cellar, a game room, a private zoo and aviary (and related pet cemetery), tennis courts, a waterfall and a large swimming pool area (including a patio and barbecue area, the famous grotto, a sauna and a bathhouse). These features and many others have been frequently showcased on television.
The game room, a separate building on the property's north-side, is more properly called a game house. From the fountain in front of the main entrance, there are two sidewalks, which run past a wishing-well. The sidewalk on the right leads to the game house and runs past a Hollywood Star of Hugh Hefner. Its front entrance opens to a game room with a pool table in the center. This room has a number of vintage and modern arcade games, pinball machines, player piano, jukebox, television, stereo, and couch. The game house has two wings. Walking to the left, one finds a room with a soft cushioned floor, mirrors all around, television, and an exit. There is also a restroom with a shower. The right wing of the game house has a smaller restroom and entrance to a bedroom. This bedroom is also connected to another bedroom, which has an exit to the rear backyard of the game house. The game house has a backyard with lounge chairs, and gates on either side.
Playboy Mansion West became famous during the 1970s because of Hefner's lavish parties. According to Bridget Marquardt on an episode of The Girls Next Door, the Mansion is the only private residence in the city of Los Angeles with a permit for both fireworks displays and a zoo permit.
Although there may be others, a secret room known as the "Elvis Suite" is said to have been kept out of the public view, even for frequent and important visitors, for more than thirty years. In a March 2007 television interview, Hefner — who is an avid Elvis Presley admirer — explained the suite is special to him because of one night in the early seventies, when Elvis stayed in that suite along with no less than 8 girls. Hefner further confirmed that whenever movie stars, sports stars, or rappers come there to chill out, they always request the "Elvis Suite", but that it remains, and will most likely remain, off limits. He also added "Yeah, Elvis loved women, of all colors."
The house next door is a mirror image of the Mansion layout, only writ smaller. Hefner purchased the neighboring building in 1996 and it is currently home to his separated wife Kimberley Conrad and their children together. Hefner and Conrad married in 1989 and separated in 1998, although they have never divorced. Conrad said in an E! True Hollywood Story episode that she has no plans to get a divorce.
In 2002, Hefner purchased a house across the street from the Playboy Mansion specifically for use by Playboy Playmates.
During the early 2000s, ESPN began broadcasting live boxing bouts from the house's large backyard. Sugar Ray Leonard, in his capacity as boxing promoter, has held boxing cards there.
In addition to numerous Playboy features and pictorials, the Playboy Mansion has been the subject of a coffee table book, a popular video game (Playboy: The Mansion), in which the player must build the Playboy "empire"), and inspired the U2 song "The Playboy Mansion" on their 1997 album "Pop".
The mansion has also been featured in several music videos- including "Playmate of the Year" by Zebrahead, "Work It" by Nelly featuring Justin Timberlake , Rockstar by Nickelback and "Beverly Hills" by Weezer. MTV aired a special in late 2000 where Limp Bizkit threw an album release party at the mansion to coincide with the release of their album "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water."
In the Eddie Murphy movie "Beverly Hills Cop II," his character crashes a party at the mansion.
In 2000, WWF superstar Eddie Guerrero appeared at the mansion in hopes to speak to Hugh Hefner about stopping the release of girlfriend (kayfabe) Joanie "Chyna" Laurer's first photo shoot. A similar segment was shot in 2003, when WWE diva Nidia Guenard made an appearance at the Mansion during an episode of SmackDown, where she attempted to get past security in order to speak to Hefner. Nidia was jealous (kayfabe) of Torrie Wilson who was getting a Playboy photoshoot.
The 2005 Playmates at Play at the Playboy Mansion swimsuit calendar was shot on the grounds of the Mansion in 2004.
In 2005 and 2006, life at the Mansion, specifically the world of Hef's girlfriends - Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt, and Kendra Wilkinson have been featured on the E! reality television series The Girls Next Door. Playboy Mansion West has also appeared in episodes of several TV shows including Curb Your Enthusiasm (Hugh Hefner and a variety of playmates co-starred), Entourage (Hefner guest starred along with his Playmates), Sex and the City (the four main characters went to a party and were thrown out), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (Hilary Banks goes to the Mansion to do a Weathergirl Photo Shoot) and an episode of Viva La Bam.
In 2007, the Mansion appeared in an episode of the sixth season of The Apprentice as the site of a pool party held for the winning team.
Also, the site served as the starting line for the twelfth season of the five time Emmy-award winning The Amazing Race.
In 2013, the legendary parties at the Playboy Mansion continue!