Frequently Asked Questions
Who invented the Playboy Bunny?

Hugh Hefner inspecting a new design for the Bunny costume at the Chicago Playboy Mansion.Hugh Hefner invented the Playboy Bunny. Playboy magazine had run a pictorial article on Chicago's Gaslight Club. In response to that article, over 3,000 readers letters flooded into the Playboy office asking how they could join this exclusive key club.

Victor Lownes, a Playboy Executive suggested to Hefner that Playboy should open a night club of it's own. Hefner immediately saw the commercial and promotional benefits. But also the personal ones: it is good for the ego to sit in your own nightclub as King Playboy.

Plans for a Playboy Club were begun in 1959. But the beautiful Bunny was not yet born. Seeking to maximize on the image Playboy was most famous for, it's Playmates, initial talk centred on dressing the Playboy Club's hostesses in revealing negligees and calling them 'Playmates'. But during a night-out, Victor Lownes' then girlfriend, Ilse Taurins, suggested to Hefner the idea of dressing the hostesses in the image of the tuxedoed Playboy Rabbit character. This Rabbit, personifying the Playboy lifestyle and the magazine's ethos, had featured on Playboy covers and in advertising spreads. Hefner answered that he had already considered the idea of Playboy Bunnies, but had disregarded it as 'too masculine.' Ilse said her mother, a seamstress, could run up a prototype female rabbit costume for Hefner to inspect.

A few days later Ilse stood before Hefner, Lownes and a few other key executives wearing the prototype Bunny costume her mother had made. The effect was astounding. Hefner in a flash knew that he had his hostess uniform at last (he was particularly smitten by the tail). And so, after many refinements to the design of the costume, when the first Playboy Club opened it was staffed by the most famous icons of the Sexual Revolution and a legend was born - The Playboy Bunny.

But the Bunny may never have been born at all!

Forget Darwin, this is evolution!

In one of those strange twists of fate in life that retrospectively seem inevitable (or perhaps it is divine intervention?) the Rabbit character was a result of a fortuitous late name change. Hefner originally intended to call his magazine "Stag Party" with a human stag character as a company mascot, designed by cartoonist Arv Miller. But before the first issue came out, "Stag" magazine claimed trademark infringement. Unwilling to lose time in litigation, Hefner renamed his magazine PLAYBOY and chose a new symbol. Arv Miller transformed his stag to a rabbit. Founding Art Director Arthur (Art) Paul then created the world-famous Rabbit Head logo.

Hefner has wryly stated in many interviews that had this last-minute name change not occurred there would have been no Bunny Empire since it is impossible to imagine that there would have existed a chain of successful nightclubs around the world with girls wearing antlers on their heads!

"Doe Girls" just does not have the same ring. Although antlers may have proved useful when dealing with the wandering hands of keyholders.

The Playboy Bunny costume is the only non-service uniform to have been granted a U.S. Patent. The Smithsonian and the Chicago Historical Society both have Bunny costumes on display.

For more on the origins and development of the Bunny see our History section.

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When did the first Playboy Club open?

The first Playboy Club opened in Chicago on 116 E. Walton Street. The doors opened for the first time on the leap year night of February 29th 1960. Paradise on Earth had arrived. Read more about that famous night in Playboy's own 40th Anniversary Tribute.

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When did the last Playboy Club close?

Playmate Ava Fabian helped in the recruitment for the Rhodos Playboy Casino.If you count the failed Rhodos Playboy Casino, then the year would be 1999. Playmate Ava Fabian, right, helped in the recruitment for the Rhodos Playboy Casino.

But the last real Playboy Club closed in Manila during 1991 (I say this because this was the final end of a continuous and glorious 31-year era, 1960-1991).

The last U.S. Playboy Club to close was the franchise in Lansing, Michigan. The last American Bunny dips took place on July 31st 1988.

See the article Bye Bye Bunnies for an explanation for the demise of the Playboy Clubs.

But now, there is a new Playboy Club/Casino at The Palms in Vegas. Visit their official site for more information:

Las Vegas Playboy Club

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Which cities had Playboy Clubs?
The original New York Playboy Club
The original New York Playboy Club

The following cities were blessed with Playboy Clubs
(in chronological order by date of original opening):

  • Chicago February 29th 1960

  • Miami May 20th 1961

  • New Orleans October 13th 1961

  • St. Louis October 16th 1962

  • New York December 8th 1962

  • Phoenix December 19th 1962

  • Detroit December 28th 1963

  • Manila, Philippines January 1964

  • Baltimore 1964

  • Kansas City June 13th 1964

  • Cincinnati September 16th 1964

  • Los Angeles December 31st 1964

  • Ochos Rios Club, Hotel, & Resort, Jamaica January 4th 1965

  • Boston February 26th 1965

  • Atlanta March 6th 1965

  • San Francisco November 13th 1965

  • London Casino & Club July 1st 1966

  • Montreal July 15th 1967

  • Denver December 9th 1967

  • Lake Geneva Club, Hotel, & Resort, Wisconsin May 6th 1968

  • Playboy Towers, Chicago November 1st 1970

  • Miami Plaza Club, Hotel, & Resort December 22nd 1970

  • Great Gorge Club, Hotel, & Resort, New Jersey December 22nd 1971

  • Clermont Club, London 1972 (not strictly a Playboy Club but non-costumed Bunnies did work there)

  • Portsmouth, U.K. December 1972

  • Manchester, U.K. December 13th 1973

  • Tokyo December 9th 1976

  • Dallas July 27th 1977

  • Osaka, Japan February 1st 1978

  • Bahamas April 11th 1978

  • Nagoya, Japan July 16th 1979

  • Sapporo, Japan April 25th 1980

  • Atlantic City Hotel, Casino, & Club April 14th 1981

  • Buffalo April 24th 1981

  • St. Petersburg, Florida May 8th 1981

  • Lansing September 17th 1981

  • San Diego December 17th 1981

  • Columbus, Ohio December 7th 1982

  • Des Moines March 12th 1984

  • Omaha May 18th 1984

  • Rhodes 1999

  • Las Vegas October 6th 2006

Note: the above opening dates were based upon two sources:

  1. The Bunny Years by Kathryn Leigh Scott

  2. The Playboy Book by Gretchen Edgren

Bunny KayBut these dates cannot be considered conclusive. Kathryn Leigh Scott's otherwise excellent The Bunny Years contradicts itself on the opening dates for four clubs (Miami, New Orleans, Los Angeles and London). The Bunny Years also overlooks the first Baltimore Playboy Club (which was damaged in a fire) and quotes the second Baltimore Playboy Club opening date. But the Playboy Book itself mistakenly cites the Miami Plaza opening in 1980!

In addition, most Playboy Clubs had re-opening dates as they were refurbished or moved to entirely new locations. See the article Bye Bye Bunnies for an explanation. I do not have information for the individual closing dates for the above Clubs.

If you think any of the above opening dates are incorrect then please let me know.

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Which famous women have worked as Bunnies?

The following ladies wore the famous tail and ears before they themselves became famous:

Deborah Harry. Click to view larger version.
Deborah Harry
Gloria Steinem. Click to view larger version.
Gloria Steinem
Lauren Hutton. Click to view larger version.
Lauren Hutton
  • Deborah Harry - punk / new wave pop Goddess.
    New York Playboy Club, 1968-1973
  • Lauren Hutton - the world's first Supermodel (first model to earn $1,000,000 per annum). New York Playboy Club, 1963-1964
  • Jackie Zeman - actress (most notably in General Hospital).
    New York Playboy Club, 1970
  • Kathryn Leigh Scott - actress, author and publisher.
    New York Playboy Club, 1963-1966
  • Dr. Polly Matzinger - world renowned immunologist.
    Denver Playboy Club, 1969
  • Susan Sullivan - actress. New York Playboy Club, 1963-1964.
  • Gloria Steinem - feminist writer, activist and publisher.
    New York Playboy Club, 1963
  • Sherilyn Fenn - actress (most notably in Twin Peaks).
    Los Angeles Playboy Club (Century City), 1984
  • Barbara Bosson - actress (most notably in Hill Street Blues).
    New York Playboy Club, 1963-1964
  • Maria Richwine - actress. Los Angeles Playboy Club (Century City)
  • Gloria Henry - actress (most notably in Live and Let Die).
    New York Playboy Club
  • Dale Bozzio - singer with "Missing Persons". Boston Playboy Club
  • Cynthia Myers - model and actress (most notably in
    Beyond the Valley of the Dolls). Chicago Playboy Club
  • Dolly Read - actress (most notably in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls). Before becoming Miss May 1966 Dolly trained in the Chicago Playboy Club, 1966. After she posed she worked in the London Playboy Club, 1966, and the New York Playboy Club, 1967
  • Patricia Quinn - actress (most notably as Magenta in The Rocky Horror Picture Show). London Playboy Club
  • Katy Mirza - model and actress. London Playboy Club
  • Kimba Wood - federal judge. London Playboy Club
  • Candace (Candy) Collins - model and actress. Chicago Playboy Club
  • Lynne Moody - actress (most notably in Roots).
    Los Angeles Playboy Club (Sunset Boulevard)
  • B.J. Ward - opera singer and voice artist.
    New York Playboy Club, 1963
  • Anthea Redfern - model and game show hostess.
    London Playboy Club
  • Carol Cleveland - actress in Monty Python films and TV series.
    London Playboy Club
  • Julie Cobb - actress. Los Angeles Playboy Club (Sunset Boulevard)
Goldie Hawn and Chelsea Brown dressed as Bunnies for a sketch on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In
Goldie Hawn and Chelsea Brown
dressed as Bunnies for a sketch
on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In

Stars who have dressed up as Playboy Bunnies: Cher, Farrah Fawcett, Sally Field, Burt Reynolds, Dolly Parton, Goldie Hawn, Kirstie Alley, Hilary Swank, Mariel Hemmingway, Carrie Fisher, Dudley Moore, Penny Marshall, Barbara Walters, Rosalind Russell, Tatum O'Neal, Roseanne Barr, Kylie Minogue, Shari Lewis, Kelly Brook, Hattie Jacques, Flip Wilson, Steve Allen, Bill Dana, Johnny Carson, Sandra Bernhardt, Annie Lennox, Renee Zellweger, Reece witherspoon, Ruby Wax, Joanna Kerns, Delta Burke, Shirley Jones, Samantha Fox, Bob Hope, Carol Wayne, Benny Hill, Danny La Rue, the Smothers Brothers, Charlie Weaver, Steve Rossi, Mimi Hines, Ana Claudia Michels, Marty Allen, Ruth Buzzi, Carol Channing, Pauley Perrette.

Famous men who married Playboy Bunnies: Bob Dylan, Jimmy Connors, Mort Sahl, Dick Martin, Larry King, Victor Lownes, Bruce Forsyth.

Famous children whose mothers were Playboy Bunnies: Jon Bon Jovi, Dean Cain, Corey Feldman, Janel Moloney, Melissa Auf der Maur.

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What is the difference between Bunnies and Playmates?

One of the most common misconceptions held by those who know little of Playboy and it's history is the belief that Playmates are Bunnies and vice-versa. The term 'Bunny' or 'Playboy Bunny' is often used synonymously as a descriptive term for any woman who has appeared au naturel in PLAYBOY. But Bunnies are distinct from Playmates who in turn are different from Playboy models.

Hello, my name is Joey, I was a Playmate Bunny!

  • A Playboy Bunny is strictly speaking a woman who has worked in a Playboy Club wearing the Bunny uniform. In the 31-year reign of the Playboy Clubs over 25,000 women wore satin ears and fluffy tails. Although many were asked, very few chose to become Playmates or models for the numerous 'Bunnies of... " pictorials which appeared in PLAYBOY. They were cotton-tailed queens. The world may never see their like again... Pedantry alert: When referring to Bunnies and their environment use capitalization since the terms are proper nouns. Thus: Playboy Bunny, Playboy Bunnies, Bunny, Bunnies, Playboy Club, Bunny Girl and not Playboy bunny, Playboy bunnies, bunny, bunnies, Playboy club, bunny girl. Of course Playboy should always begin with a capital 'P' if you are directly referring to the magazine, the company, the Bunnies, the Clubs, the philosophy, the founder (Hugh Hefner), or the Playmates, models, staff, etc.

  • A Playboy Playmate is a woman who has appeared in the centerfold pictorial of PLAYBOY magazine. A Playmate can only be correctly called a Playboy Bunny if she has worked in one of the Clubs. These ladies were called Playmate Bunnies (and they were paid a higher basic wage than non-Playmate Bunnies). Quite a few Playmates donned the Bunny ears and tail. There were over 25,000 Bunnies in Playboy's history and there are over 550 Playmates. The roll call of Playmate Bunnies includes Helena Antonaccio, Dianne Chandler, Carol Vitale, Karla Conway, Heather Van Every, Deanna Baker, Dolly Read, Connie Mason, June Cochran, Karen Christy, Lannie Balcolm, Kai Brendlinger, Terri Kimball, Avis Kimble, Jennifer Jackson, Laura Lyons, Janis Schmitt, Candace Collins, Laura Misch, Delores Wells, Patti Reynolds, Shay Knuth and Janet Lupo. Pamela Anderson and Marilyn Monroe were Playboy Playmates but NOT Playboy Bunnies. View the complete list of Playmate Bunnies.

  • A Playboy Model is a lady who has posed nude in a Playboy pictorial (but not the centerfold), or has been featured in one of Playboy's many secondary publications / news stand specials. Many Playmates have appeared in Playboy pictorials and other official publications before and after posing for the centerfold. Farrah Fawcett, Bo Derek, Cindy Crawford, etc. have all appeared in the pages of Playboy but are neither Playmates nor Bunnies. In the strictest sense, a Playboy Model is a woman contracted to the Playboy Modeling Agency. It is therefore not strictly accurate to call celebrities by the term Playboy model if they have posed for Playboy Back in the days when the Playboy Clubs were in their prime many Bunnies went on to work for the Playboy Modeling Agency, based in Los Angeles.

  • Playboy Playmates Angela Little, Lisa Dergan, Ava Fabian and Kelly Monaco wearing the Bunny outfit for a Playboy promotion.To confuse matters further, many recent Playboy Playmates and models have worn the Bunny costume for Playboy promotional events such as the Dewar's Playboy Lounge, the LA Lakers NBA celebration party, Hard Rock cafe openings, Playboy Golf Scrambles, numerous Playboy Mansion events (including as Bunny Ring Girls at boxing exhibitions), Spring Break festivities and the cancelled 2000 Democrat Presidential Fundraiser at the Los Angeles Playboy Mansion. Last, and certainly not least, the lovely Playmate Deana Brooks is adorable in her red Bunny costume as the online hostess ('Betting Bunny') for Playboy's sports and gaming websites. View the list of Current Playmate Bunnies.

The world famous Rabbit Head logo, designed by Art PaulThe Rabbit Head Design Logo, created by original PLAYBOY art director Art Paul is also referred to as the Playboy Bunny. So too the Rabbit in a tuxedo archetype-Playboy who featured on many PLAYBOY covers (mostly in the 1950s issues but also many subsequent January issue Playmate reviews down the decades). PLAYBOY successfully marketed this character as a stuffed collectible. For more on Playboy collectibles see the article The Rabbit In Your Attic.

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How do I become a Bunny?

Currently there are four Playboy Clubs in the world: Playboy at the Palms in Vegas (opened 2006), Playboy Macau (2010), Playboy Cancun (2010) and Playboy London (2011).

Before the Palms venture, in 1999, Playboy briefly re-entered the casino industry with a new Playboy Casino, staffed by Bunnies, on the Greek island of Rhodos. Unfortunately the casino was not a success and Playboy pulled out of the venture.

Hugh Lucky Man!Playboy, aware of the timeless elegance and the sexual magic of the Bunny image, currently use Playmates and models in Bunny costumes for promotional appearances. Playboy have been planning for many years to open Playboy Casinos (with Bunnies), the first has arrived in Las Vegas and hopefully will be followed by one again in London, England. The London plan was postponed after Playboy's proposed partner, Ladbrokes, was sold by it's owner, the Hilton Group to the Gala Bingo company.

Playboy are also in the midst of negotiations to open a casino, with Bunnies, in Shanghai, China and are still looking at possible sites and partners to re-enter the club/casino market in London.

Here is some information on general Bunny hiring policy and the requirements from when the Playboy Clubs were in their glorious existence. I hope you enjoy it.

Age requirement: 18-24
In some Playboy Clubs the minimum age for a Bunny had to be 21 because of State Liquor License Laws. That is only ladies 21 and over could serve alcohol. The range 18-24 was the Bunny hiring age. Some women over 24 were hired as Bunnies while many Bunnies hired when they were young stayed Bunnies into their late twenties and even late thirties. The average Bunny 'Tour of Duty' was around 6 months. Some girls however stayed for over ten years. A few Bunnies were still Bunny-Dipping into their thirties, providing they still met the 'Bunny Image' - the young, fresh and beautiful appearance.

Have you been a good boy this year?Height: No stipulation
The height of a woman was really of no consequence in the hiring policy. Bunnies came in all heights, from 4'10" all the way up to over six feet tall in their stocking soles.

Weight: Varied, usually between seven and ten stones
A Bunny had to be slim. Bunnies were regularly weighed to ensure they were maintaining the requisite 'Bunny Image'. This meant a Bunny had to remain slim and to take good care of her hair, nails and skin. Bunnies had to be slim but sexy. The costume took care of the curves.

Bra size: Unimportant
A common misconception is that Bunnies had to have naturally large breasts. Very few did. The costume's construction was even more breast enhancing than a Wonderbra. Furthermore those cleavages were achieved by stuffing and more stuffing of various kinds of padding (socks, tissues) into the cups of the Bunny costume. Almost every Bunny was enhanced by this method.

Extra: Of course the primary attribute looked for was physical beauty. But Playboy also wanted girls who were personable. Girls with a cheerful disposition were wanted and indeed such personalities were necessary to allow the Bunny to do a long eight hour shift. Provided an applicant was slim, beautiful and a 'people person' she would be hired. No previous experience was needed as Playboy had it's own meticulous Bunny Training Program. In addition Playboy was without prejudice in it's hiring policy. Girls from all nations, creeds, classes, and religions were hired to work as Bunnies. Any keyholder who objected to this had their membership revoked. Playboy has always been an equal opportunities employer.

To learn more about Playboy Bunnies please see The Bunny Years available as a book and a video. Both are available from all good book and video stores. You can also view an original Playboy Bunny Recruitment Brochure in our History section.

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How do I pose for Playboy / become a Playmate?

For information about becoming a Playmate or a Playboy model, please see the official Playmates FAQ. For a general overview of Playboy Enterprises International Inc. (PEII) please peruse the official Playboy Help pages. To contact Playboy, go to the official Playboy Entrerprises site. There you will find a list of Playboy office addresses and telephone numbers.

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Where can I buy a Playboy Bunny costume?

Our costumes are difficult to find...Original Playboy Bunny costumes are very rare. Legend has it that Playboy mostly shredded or (more likely) put into storage the thousands of Bunny costumes they owned when the Clubs closed.

But there are Playboy Bunny costumes in circulation. A few Bunnies were given their costumes as a reward (for their years of good service) after they retired from Bunnyhood. It is these costumes that occasionally appear on the Playboy and eBay auction sites.

Most Bunnies who did receive their costumes as a parting gift continue to keep a hold of these valuable mementos from that special time in their lives. But some do sell their costumes.

Look for real costumes occasionally sold (both by private sellers and sometimes by Playboy) on the Playboy Auction site: auctions.playboy.com.

And also on eBay, www.ebay.com. But be aware that on eBay many sellers mistakenly (in innocence) or deliberately (to deceive) call ersatz costumes 'authentic' or 'original.'

You can probably tell a real from a fake Bunny costume, but if you can't then take a close look at the Bunny pictures on this website:- Ex Playboy Bunnies.

A sure sign that a costume is authentic will be it's selling price. A complete Bunny costume (bodice, ears, tail, collar, bow-ties, cuffs, cufflinks, name tag rosette) will go for upwards of $1,000. An original bodice on it's own will fetch upwards of $600.

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Was she a Playboy Bunny?

New York Playboy Club Bunnies, 1963.I am often emailed requesting to know if a woman has worked as a Bunny. But consider the difficulty I have in answering such questions. In the 31 year history of the Playboy Clubs over 25,000 women worked as Bunnies. I do not have a database of ex Bunnies nor do I suspect has Playboy. The company, in the Seventies, used to maintain a department that kept track of Bunnies and the careers they went onto after hanging up their tails and ears. Hugh Hefner wanted to keep in contact with and informed about what women did when they left Bunnydom behind. I believe this was done both as a gesture of goodwill and also for any potential positive publicity for Playboy. Christie Hefner's first role in her father's empire was working in this department. Ironically, years later, when she took over the day-to-day running of the company, Christie took the difficult decision to phase out the entire Playboy Club Empire, as the clubs had become unprofitable. Her father was reluctant to close the clubs but he knew they were no longer economically viable (even the Mid-West franchise Playboy Clubs were not turning a profit).

A Bunny Mother training new Bunnies with Training Bunny Kelly Collins.Similarly, I am often asked for photos of particular ex Bunnies. Often these requests are for Playmates, models, and celebrities who have posed for the magazine but were never Bunnies. Clearly visitors to this site have failed to appreciate What is the difference between Bunnies and Playmates?. The Playboy Cyber Club has archives of these photos, please go there. But even when people request photos of bona fide ex Bunnies, I cannot help. Much as I would love to have a photo (or fifty) for every ex Bunny, I simply do not. What you see on this site is what I have. This site is dependant upon the contributions of ex Playboy Bunnies, club employees, former keyholders and Bunny enthusiasts. Playboy has an extensive archive of former employee photos, but I do not know if it has been indexed. Although if they are offering, I am willing... :)

Think about it. If you emailed Coca Cola, IBM or Ford to ask if a particular individual worked at the company forty years ago, and could you please have a copy of their employee photograph, what response do you think you would receive?

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Where are all the nudes?

There are no nudes on the Ex Playboy Bunnies website because this is, surprisingly, a website for BUNNIES!! This is a place of Bunny suits not birthday suits. Please read the answer to What is the difference between Bunnies and Playmates? above. You can find all the beautiful nude women your eyes desire in the Playboy Cyber Club.

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The Ex Playboy Bunnies Website is not an affiliated Playboy website.

For a fulsome list of Playboy information please visit the official Playboy FAQ.

Are any of the details in this FAQ wrong? Then let me know!

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Disclaimer: The Ex Playboy Bunnies Website is not affiliated to Playboy Enterprises International, Inc. (PEII). This site is not an official Playboy website. The images and text within some of the articles in the History section (and some of the Bunny photos in the Bunny albums) of this website are copyright of PEII. Playboy, Playboy Bunny, Hugh Hefner, the Bunny Costume, and the Rabbit Head Design are registered trademarks of Playboy Enterprises International, Inc. (PEII) and are protected under trademark and copyright law.