There's probably only a handful of people in the world who haven't heard of the Playboy Mansion and its infamous resident. This is a place immortalized in pop culture and local media, known for its insane parties filled with celebrities, just as much as the sex god and media mogul Hugh Hefner, who lived in it. But few would know that from last year, Hefner didn't actually own it. And with his passing, it's now in the hands of Daren Metropolous. But who is this guy? And how on earth could he afford it?
The Iconic L.A. Party House
At almost 22,000 square feet, the Playboy Mansion was every bachelor's dream pad. It's located in the exclusive suburb of Holmby Hills, just next door to Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, the center for all things glitzy and celebrity. Ever since it was bought in 1971 by Hefner, it's been surrounded by whispers, rumors, and legends. Apart from the White House, there is possibly no other residence more famous in the world.
Every Night A Celebration
It was famous for good reason. All those rumors and legends were true, and the house really was the scene of wild parties almost every week for decades. Think Gatsby, but for the 21st century, complete with the world's most famous celebrities, scantily-clad women, the infamous grotto and waterfall, and unlimited drinks. If you ever got an invite, you could die a happy person.
Originally, It Hardly Cost Hefner Anything
Back when Playboy launched in 1953, Hefner was a penniless copywriter with $8,000 of debt. Fast forward to 1971 and he was hugely wealthy from the success of Playboy, at one point with an estimated net worth of $200 million. He bought the Playboy Mansion then for a pittance - only $1.1 million. Even in today's money, that's roughly $6 million, which would barely be enough to buy a walk-up in Brooklyn.
Sold Last Year
How times have changed. Not many people know it, but Hefner actually sold his mansion last year for a cool $110 million, faced with a massive downturn in the print industry and struggles with Playboy. The buyer? A young man by the name of Daren Metropolous. Few had heard of him, but he had the cash to spend...
The 33-year-old Daren Metropolous was a virtual nobody in the world, although the sale might now make him pretty famous. A businessman like his father, Greek-American C. Dean Metropolous, he had been interested in the property for a very long time, and keen to make a splash in the celebrity world. Dropping over $100 million on a property will definitely do that.
The sale of the property came with an interesting agreement. Although Daren had ownership, he allowed Hugh Hefner to continue living (and partying) in the Mansion for the rest of his life, an arrangement that would be beneficial for the both of them. Nobody would want to be known as the man who kicked Hef out, although we can bet he'll have to change all the sheets now.
An Old Neighbor
As a matter of fact, Daren wasn't even new to the neighborhood. Some years back, he also bought the property next door to Hefner's for $18 million, meaning that he's been living next door this entire time. Ultimately, Daren's vision is to combine the two properties into a single, sprawling, luxurious mega mansion - though we don't know if the parties will continue.
Hugh's Sad Passing
It only took a year for Hefner and Metropolous's agreement to come to an end, with the tragic passing of Hugh Hefner on Wednesday. Dying of natural causes at age 91, Hefner's passing came as a blow to everyone who knew him, but it does mean that the title and occupancy immediately transfers to Daren.
Daren Had This To Say
Such an arrangement was always going to end strangely, especially when it rests on the death of one of the parties. But Daren put out a heartfelt message to Hefner's friends and family to ease the transition, saying "Hugh Hefner was a visionary in business, a giant in media and an iconic figure of pop culture whose legacy will leave a lasting impact. I was fortunate to know him as a neighbor and friend and I extend my deepest sympathies to his family."
Where He Got The Money From
If Daren Metropolous is a virtual nobody, how did he amass so many riches that he could buy out the legendary Playboy founder? The answer is, maybe not so surprisingly, that it's not his money, but his dad's. Daren is a businessman, but he owes most of his success to the incredibly astute decisions that C. Dean Metropolous has made over the years.
The Story Of His Father
C. Dean's story, in turn, is one of those American Dreams turned real. The son of Greek migrants, he came to the States when he was 10 years old, in 1956. He worked and studied hard, and by the time in his early 20s he had already completed an MBA and Bachelor's at Babson College in Massachusetts. This was the beginning of an empire...
Reviving Old Brands
His first deal in his 20s was to spend his entire life savings on a struggling European air conditioner company, turning it into a profit-making monster. This was to typify his entire MO: find a company with a loyal following and iconic brand but making a loss, and turn it into a successful business. He did this with Hostess (the maker of Twinkies), beer company Pabst, and Bumble Bee Tuna, making close to half a billion dollars when he would sell them a few years later.
Passing On His Knowledge And Money
Basically winning the lottery, Daren Metropolous was born in his father's shadow, but with all the resources and incredible wealth that he could imagine. With his dad's guidance, he's acquired that same knowledge and helped him out with many of the company revivals, even serving as the CEO of Pabst as it rebuilt its brand. Not only that, but he seems to have unlimited access to that family money, too.
This Is How Rich They Are
At 71 years old, C. Dean Metropolous is a very, very rich man. He may not be a household name, but that doesn't matter, as he's amassed a shocking $2.4 billion through his immense business acumen. So much money, in fact, that the father and son are looking to buy their very own NFL team. When you can own a sports team, you know you've made it.
There's no doubt that it will take a few weeks before Daren and Hugh's agreement comes into full force. Partly to allow the family time to grieve and pack the hell up, and also to iron out the wrinkles of the trade. What will happen next is anyone's guess. No doubt all the celebrities and socialites out there are hoping that the parties continue forever. But with Daren's fondness for anonymity and staying out of the spotlight, even that's not for certain.
Trending On CultureHook: