Hugh Hefner’s Neighbor Bought the Playboy Mansion With $100 Million From His Family’s Twinkie, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Chef Boyardee Fortune

Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy, a magazine popular for nude photos of women wearing bunny ears, shocked the world at his death with his surprisingly low net worth. A year before his passing, he sold the infamous Playboy Mansion to his neighbor, Daren Metropoulos, for $100 million. But Hefner didn’t pocket anything from the proceeds of the sale.

So who is this man who bought one of the most famous homes in popular culture? And why was Hefner’s net worth so low?

Next-door neighbor Daren Metropoulos buys the Playboy Mansion

Daren Metropoulos forked out $100 million for the Playboy Mansion with the understanding that Hefner would not vacate the mansion until his death, reports the New York Times.

The heir to a fortune built on Chef Boyardee meatballs, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, and Bumble Bee tuna, 32 at the time of the purchase, seemed to be a perfect fit for the playboy bill. In one of the photos printed by the NY Times, the young tycoon, wearing sunglasses and a trucker hat, is seen with a PBR tallboy on a private jet.

However, prior to the acquisition, not many people seemed to know Metropoulos, despite residing in the neighborhood for some time. He had previously bought a sprawling $18 million mansion next to the Playboy Mansion, and understood the area well. The new playboy intended to combine the two mansions into one gigantic property.

Metropoulos is not new to wealth. He was born to a billionaire father, Dean Metropoulos, a Greek-born American businessman and investor. Daren’s father is dubbed Mr. Shelf due to his propensity to take up every available shelf space in grocery stores.

Hugh Hefner’s death and the mystery of the Playboy mansion

The All-New 2017 Fiat 124 Spider at Playboy's 2016 Playmate of the Year Announcement
The Playboy Mansion in 2016 | Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Playboy

Hefner, who died at the age of 91, founded the Playboy magazine in 1853 with $8,000; his brother and mother chipped in with $1,000 each. The young entrepreneur’s accountant father wanted nothing to do with the magazine, believing it was a bad investment.

The magazine soon became popular, perhaps due to the near-scandalous photos of women spread across its glossy pages. But what stood out most was his Playboy mansion, constructed in 1927 among wealthy neighbors like Google’s Eric Schmidt.

The mansion maintained an air of mystery until 2005 when its doors were flung open to the public during the airing of a reality show, The Girl Next Door. Despite the show allowing girlfriends into the mansion, nothing much about its interior was fed to the public.

At his death, several shocking revelations came to the forefront: Hefner didn’t really own any real estate. In fact, he never really owned the Playboy Mansion despite having purchased it at $1.05 million from Louis D. Statham, a famous chess player, in 1971.

Hefner’s family offload their remaining Playboy shares

Following his death in 2017, the Hefner family sold its 33% interest in the company, representing $35 million, according to Fortune. Hefner’s four children and his widow split the money. The sale of the family shares took place in two phases, with the first phase yielding $15 million immediately. The rest was held in escrow until the family paid off a $20 million loan.

However, Hefner’s son is the last tie to the Playboy brand, the business that earned them recognition in the entertainment industry and turned Hugh Hefner into a household name. Cooper Hefner is the company’s chief creative officer, and hopes to carry on the family legacy.

It appears the new owner of the Playboy Mansion can only renovate the property. According to reports appearing in Fortune, Metropoulos allegedly struck a deal with Los Angeles officials that would permanently protect the mansion from demolition, even from any future owner doing so.

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