Scene It Before: The Playboy Mansion

The owner of one of L.A.’s most filmed properties turns 89 today
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Playboy founder Hugh Hefner is celebrating his 89th birthday today. The octogenarian has been iconic ever since he launched his racy magazine empire in 1953. (Bonus fact: Marilyn Monroe was the mag’s first cover girl.) Perhaps even more famous than Hef, though, is his homestead, the Playboy Mansion, which is located at 10236 Charing Cross Road in Beverly Hills, just around the corner from Aaron Spelling’s former home, The Manor, at 594 S. Mapleton Drive. The property is actually the second Playboy Mansion (the first was at 1340 N. State Parkway in Chicago) and was originally dubbed Playboy Mansion West.

The 21,987-square-foot compound, which sits on 5.3 acres, was built in 1927 for Arthur Letts Jr., an heir to the Broadway department store fortune, and designed by prolific residential architect Arthur Roland Kelly in the Gothic Tudor-style. Hef purchased the pad in 1971 but didn’t make it his permanent residence until 1974.

Though the manse is famous for the legendary levels of debauchery that take place regularly on the premises, it is also one of L.A.’s most popular filming locations.

Besides being featured regularly on The Girls Next Door reality series, which ran from 2005 through 2010, the Playboy Mansion has been utilized countless times by Hollywood locations scouts—in fact far more times than I could chronicle in this single blog post. Here are some of its more notable appearances:

A screen capture from "Sex and the City"
A screen capture from “Sex and the City”

A Season 3 episode of Sex and the City titled “Sex and Another City,” in which Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) scores the girls invites to a pool party at the manse. While there, Samantha wrongfully accuses another guest of stealing her “fake Fendi” and gets kicked out.

A screen grab from "Entourage"
A screen grab from “Entourage”

Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon) gets Pauly Shore banned from the mansion for life in the Season 2 episode of Entourage titled “Aquamansion.”

BHCop
A screen grab from “Beverly Hills Cop II”

Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) crashes a charity event there in Beverly Hills Cop II while driving a cement truck.

Pitbull, Nickelback, Weezer, Nelly, and Justin Timberlake have all shot videos on the property.

A screen grab from "The Gambler"
A screen grab from “The Gambler”

And most recently, the residence served as the home of Roberta (Jessica Lange) in the 2014 thriller The Gambler.

In real life, the Playboy Mansion boasts 22 rooms, a wine cellar, a screening room, a zoo, an aviary, a four-bedroom guest house, an outdoor kitchen, a built-in pipe organ, a game house, a grotto, and, reportedly, underground tunnels that once connected the residence to the homes of several of Hollywood’s elite. Now I know why Hef lives in his pajamas and rarely leaves the premises. If I had all of that at my home, I doubt I’d ever leave either!

A screen capture from "Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle"
A screen capture from “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle”

In 2003’s Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, the Angels dress up as nuns in order to infiltrate a Christian orphanage. That Christian orphanage was, ironically, played by the Playboy Mansion.

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