13 Little Known Facts About Hugh Hefner & the Playboy Mansion

RealClear Staff


Playboy is one of the most infamous American lifestyle magazines in the world. It features photographs of nude women as well as journalism and fiction. 
It was founded in Chicago in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and has since grown into a branding empire.

The Playboy Mansion is the home of Hugh Hefner and his many girlfriends, and is located in Los Angeles, California. It has been well known for legendary and scandalous parties ever since the 1970s, and the Mansion contains many secrets within its walls.

Here are 13 facts about Hef himself and The Playboy Mansion that may surprise you!

13. The Playboy Mansion is one of the only private residences in America with a zoo license

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The Mansion is home to 3 types of monkeys, 9 dogs, 3 cats, over 100 species of birds (including cockatoos, peacocks, African cranes, parrots & toucans), plus countless reptiles and amphibians!

12. Hugh Hefner holds the Guinness World Record for being the longest-serving Editor in Chief of a magazine, now for over 60+ years

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Playboy was founded in Chicago in 1953 by Hugh Hefner, and 61 years later it has a circulation of over 1.8 million subscribers!

11. The infamous 'Playboy Grotto' is not sexy, it's actually pretty gross

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There are a lot of urban legends that surround the grotto, which is really just a big artificial cave with whirlpools in it.

The grotto was also reportedly infected with the bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ disease and H1N1 virus ('swine flu'). Yuck!

10. Selling Playboy Magazine is banned in many major parts of Asia & most Muslim counties.

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Selling and distributing Playboy Magazine is banned in India, mainland China (not Hong  Kong), Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

9. Hugh Hefner bought the crypt next to Marilyn Monroe's in 1992 for $75,000 - which would amount to $127,410 in 2014!

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Hef has always been obsessed with Marilyn Monroe, although he never met her. The very first issue of Playboy Magazine in 1953 had Marilyn Monroe on the cover.

The burial vault he bought next to Marilyn is located at the Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

8. Hef's girlfriends were each paid an allowance of $1,000 a week.

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Hef's (many) girlfriends who lived at the mansion with him were paid $1,000 per week, because they weren't "allowed" to have other jobs, except paid Playboy appearances.

7. They also had a 9:00 PM curfew every night.

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Everyone who lives at the Playboy Mansion has a 9:00 PM curfew EVERY night, especially the girlfriends, except when they went out partying with Hefner, of course.

6. The Mansion is the only house in the entire county of Los Angeles to have a fireworks permit

The Playboy Mansion is the only residence in Los Angeles that has a "Pyrotechnic License" that enables the place to set off fireworks. Every year on the 4th of July there is a giant fireworks show at the mansion that can be seen for miles around!

5. Hugh Hefner is a celebrated Civil Rights activist

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The NAACP gave Hugh Hefner an award for the documentary film, “Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist, and Rebel.”Alex Haley, the famous African- American author of Roots, conducted the first interview for the magazine. 

Hef's Playboy TV shows and Playboy Clubs helped to break down the race barriers for legendary black performers in the 1950s and 1960s, including Sammy Davis Jr., and Dizzy Gillespie.

4. Christie Hefner was made President of Playboy Enterprises at the young age of 30

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Christie Hefner, Hugh's oldest daughter from his first of 3 marriages, was made President of Playboy Enterprises in 1982 at only 30 years old. 

In 1988, she was made CEO and Chairman of the Board where she remained for 21 years before she stepped down in 2009. Christie is now Executive Chairman of Canyon Ranch Enterprises, a health resort and spa company.

3. Hef has 12 full-time chefs at his command at all times

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Hugh Hefner and his mansion have a 24 hour, $1.2 MILLION per year food service operation. 

William Bloxsom-Carter, the executive chef and food and beverage director of Playboy Enterprises, Inc., is only 1 of 12 full-time chefs who are there around the clock.

Everything is made from scratch, so guests and girlfriends can order literally anything to eat or drink at all hours of the day. Yum!

2. The original Playboy Mansion was in Chicago

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Hef bought the brick condo building in 1959 (it was built in 1899) in Chicago, where Playboy Magazine was founded, and dubbed it the first Playboy Mansion.

He even hung a brass plate over the door that said, "If You Don’t Swing, Don’t Ring." Alas, he relocated to the Hollywood area in the mid 1970's.


1. The Playboy Mansion is not even owned by Hef anymore

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The mansion is actually owned by Playboy Enterprises and Hef just rents out the portions of the home that he needs for he and his girlfriend's own personal use.  Hefner’s annual rent has ranged from $700,000 to $1.4 million over the past several years.



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