SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
There's a house for sale in Los Angeles - 29 rooms, tennis court, swimming pool and wine cellar, a guest house, game house, movie theater and a grotto, which is not to be confused with any grotto you've read about in the Bible. The owner wants $200 million. Local realtors say that's optimistic, which is often their way of saying that's ridiculous. But the house is Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion.
At the age of 89, Hef may be downsizing. Insert the double-entendre of your choice here. But there is a catch. Any buyer must permit Playboy's founder to continue to live in the house until he moves on. Twenty-nine rooms should afford privacy all around, but imagine padding down to the kitchen to find yourself walking on cracker crumbs and dirty plates in the sink because some night snacker in his black silk pajamas didn't clean up and downed the last sip of orange juice. Hef. The man isn't used to sharing.
The Playboy Mansion is a year younger than its owner and may be getting a little creaky - or worse. Izabella St. James, a former Playboy bunny who lived there from 2002 to 2004, says much of the furniture is old and ratty, the bedding is soiled and tatty and the dogs who belong to the bunnies who live in the mansion relieve themselves on the curtains and carpets. That would be a lot to put up with in a budget motel, much less a $200 billion mansion. Hugh Hefner's been married for three years to Crystal Hefner, who is his third wife and, for whatever it means, 60 years younger than Hef. He's spent many years sharing his residence with a changing cast of young women, but in 2005 he told Britain's Telegraph, I thinned the herd a couple of years ago because there were some rivalries, some petty jealousies and I was trying to emphasize the quality. There are some statements for which no truly clever response is possible.
Anyone who wants own Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion must also know it comes with a history of ring-a-ding '70s glitz but also darker chapters of drug use and sexual assault at his celebrated parties. Recent reports say Mr. Hefner now fills his nights by slurping canned chicken noodle soup and chomping oatmeal and raisin cookies before he watches old movies with his younger brother and a few old friends. He sits hand-in-hand with his wife. They say good night at 9 p.m. Imagine spending millions to move into the Playboy Mansion and instead of rampant revelry, you find you have to get in line for the Early Bird Special.
(SOUNDBITE OF CY COLEMAN SONG, "PLAYBOY'S THEME")
SIMON: Cy Coleman. You're listening to NPR News.
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