Playboy founder Hugh Hefner lived in the Playboy Mansion since 1971, and made it a landmark of its own. But in the final year of his life, Hefner had sold the property, and was paying $1 million in rent to his own neighbor. Hefner died Thursday at 91, leaving the future of the Playboy Mansion uncertain, though its legacy of excess will certainly remain for generations.
According to CNNMoney, the 20,000-square-foot mansion itself has 12 bedrooms with multiple kitchens, a gym, a screening room, a game room, and a wine cellar. The grounds have a tennis court, a guest house, a pool, and that infamous grotto. It also has a zoo license, which means animals like monkeys and exotic birds roam freely throughout the property, located in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Times reports it was built in 1927 and designed by Arthur R. Kelly for the department store heir Arthur Letts Jr. Playboy bought the property in 1971 for $1.1 million, and sold it for 100 times that in 2016. The home, which was owned by Playboy Enterprises before the sale, became a symbol of the Playboy brand, and all the sexual freedom and wild partying that came with it. Stories of parties at the mansion became Hollywood lore, and later on it became home to the E! reality show The Girls Next Door.
Daren Metropoulos, the son of billionaire C. Dean Metropoulos and co-owner of Hostess Brands, bought the residence next door from Hefner for $18 million in 2009. He then restored its formal gardens and grounds, which are next to the Los Angeles Country Club. That property had been used by Hefner's ex-wife, Kimberley, and their children as a personal residence.
In 2016, he bought the Playboy Mansion itself, with the caveat that Hefner and his wife, Crystal, could still live there until his death, while paying $1 million a year in rent. The sale included all the statues, gargoyles, and even arcade games on the property. The Los Angeles Times reports the deal was for $100 million, which was half of the original asking price, but it was still the largest sale ever recorded in Los Angeles County.
On Metropoulos & Co’s website, Daren detailed what his plans are for the property:
“In August 2016, he purchased the Playboy Mansion itself, with the future intention of reconnecting the two estates—returning the combined 7.3 acre compound to the original vision executed by noted architect Arthur R. Kelly and its first owner, Arthur Letts, Jr., the department store heir whose father conceived and developed Holmby Hills when it was the Wolfskill Ranch. He looks forward to the opportunity to bring his passion and attention to detail to ultimately restore the grandeur of a historic property that has been recognized for its craftsmanship, architectural splendor and magnificent detail. As he told The Wall Street Journal when the deal was announced: “The heritage of this property transcends its celebrity, and to have the opportunity to serve as its steward would be a true privilege.”
Now that Hefner has died, it is unclear of the timing for Metropoulos's plans for the property, though he did tell the Wall Street Journal he would use it as his private residence. Playboy Enterprises and Metropoulos & Co did not respond to requests for comment.