Everyone Got Naked – The Hollywood Reporter

My first brush with the Playboy Mansion was in 1974 when I was a meter reader for the gas company. (How I became a meter reader for the gas company and it’s a really great job – you walk all day, alone, in unattended peace – is another story .)

There was an elderly man who had reached the point of seniority doing more collecting than reading gauges. One day, he came to the office and said that he had just arrived at Playboy Mansion. Apparently, they were several months behind in paying the bill. The old guy went to the main gate near Sunset Boulevard, where he spoke to someone via the intercom – the house was probably 75 yards from the uphill driveway – and the person didn’t understand the message. that the gas bill must be paid now. Like, right now.

“I told them that if they didn’t come down here and pay the bill, I would bring a crew out here and they would dig a hole and cut the line,” the old man told me. He said he waited a few minutes and was on the drive to Hefner, dressed in his pajamas and bathrobe with a checkbook in hand. Hefner was friendly with him; scolds his henchmen for being incompetent fools and pays the bills.

The impression that left me was: “I wonder if the Playboy empire ever had a cash flow problem?” Are unpaid bills and other sources of income sought? In the decades that followed, after I stupidly quit my gas company job and started covering events for the newspapers, I always had a feeling Hefner would move into renting out his mansion. himself when he needed some quick cash.

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I first set foot on the Playboy Mansion campus in 1988. I was sent by someone who no longer exists. Appraisal of messengers including a performance at the Music Center and a after party at the mansion for a visiting French ballet troupe. I remember being really impressed with the house. It’s a picture of the ivy-covered form of the East Coast. It looked like the building where the commanding admiral in Annapolis would be staying.

At its majestic doors, I learned the first rule of events held at Playboy Mansion: You must not enter the house. You are returning to the pool. That’s where the reception happens. I guess if you were Hugh Hefner, you wouldn’t want a bunch of strangers running through the hole looking for the bunny’s memento.

While we waited for the ballet gymnasium to arrive, we were given a drink and roamed the grounds. It’s strange, but what I remember best is a chain still wrapped around a huge tree that was once attached to a chimpanzee. I have heard stories about the monkey and that one has to be careful because he is a meaner person. Maybe I feel regret because I finally made it to the mansion, and the chimpanzee went out.

Also leaving a strong impression is the sumptuous landscape that descends the hill towards the Sunset. It was done in such a way that under the moonlight, it seemed that the house had stretched for miles. I learned that there are sophisticated sensors in the garden that will alert the guards if someone tries to widen the fence. I heard a story that a UCLA fraternity’s initiation ritual involved getting it in and out of the mansion grounds without being harmed by guards or monkeys.

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A crowd of classical art patrons gathers near the pool. I don’t see Hefner. There’s a sense of fun hosting a luxurious event like this at the villa, but it’s pretty poor. This is a rich man good people/dance aficionado floors of LA society.

Then the ballerinas arrived, and the first thing they did was take off their clothes and dance in the pool. That changed everything. So everyone took off their clothes and jumped into the pool. There was a lot of talk among the guests about how much better this place is than the regular Music Center after party.

I returned to the villa dozens of times over the next few decades, but that was the only time I saw someone naked.

A typical rental villa would involve a company that doesn’t care about its image in certain areas of feminism, said a skateboard maker that branched out into clothing. Maybe they’re trying to stand out during LA’s Fashion Week, so the mansion makes sense as a party venue. It certainly sounds less boring than the free pizza in the Beverly Hilton conference room. But if you’ve been to a corporate party at the villa, you’ve been to all of them. My impression is: If you have used Hef’s villa you also have to use Hef’s tents, caterers, waiters and security. The grounds are a beautiful setting, but all parties look the same.

A slightly different night is when Hefner throws a party to announce PlayboyPlayer friend of the year. I think this is in mid 90’s. Part of the evening includes guests being taken in small groups to tour the grounds. This was the only time I stayed in the villa and we only made it to the entrance hall/living room. It reminds of something other than Harry Potter. Nice, but a bit Hollywood-now-Oxford.

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Again, like the monkey’s leash, it’s the odd detail I remember most. The lady who escorted us (Bunny? Formerly Bunny? Not Bunny?) took us to the garden across from the front door of the mansion. These are classic European rose gardens with walkways. On one side are a number of small buildings that are occasionally inhabited. She showed us a really sterile little room that had a bed in it with almost nothing else in it. Then she casually mentioned that at the end 1960s Bill Cosby lived in this room for a year. I’m not sure that tells you about Cosby but it must be something.

However, all of this is in the past of the villa. Since its new owner can afford the $100 million price tag, it’s doubtful he’ll be renting it out anytime soon for more money.

A version of this story first appeared in the October 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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