Victor Lownes
Victor Lownes
Victor Aubrey Lownes III An executive with Playboy Enterprises in various capacities, various vice-presidencies, always a close confidant of Hugh Hefner. Headed Playboy Europe and the UK Playboy Clubs from the mid-sixties until his dismissal in the early eighties. During this time he was Britain's highest paid executive, drawing a salary of $113,800 and was Playboy Enterprises second biggest shareholder.
Victor Lownes's personal information overview.
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Ex-Playboy executive Victor Lownes dies at 88
Yahoo News - about 1 month
LONDON (AP) — Victor Lownes, a former executive of Playboy who helped forge the brand's hedonistic ethos and put much of the swing into the "Swinging London" era, has died at 88.
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Yahoo News article
The Bunny Is Back - Wall Street Journal
Google News - over 5 years
Promotions director Victor Lownes III suggested a female version of the magazine's determinedly male rabbit mascot. "The magazine had rarely considered girls as bunnies," Mr. Lownes recalled. "The Playboy Bunny was generally the copulator,
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Google News article
Ears to a new Playboy era ... Club opens tonight - The Sun
Google News - over 5 years
Known as 45 Park Lane, it was run by Hefner's then right-hand man Victor Lownes. Hugh's a lucky boy then ... Hef with bunnies in '69 It was popular with celebrities including Woody Allen, Sir Michael Caine, George Best and Jack Nicholson and it was
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Google News article
Króliczki Playboya wracają - TVN24
Google News - almost 6 years
Opis chicagowskiego klubu okazał się takim hitem, że Hefner i jego wspólnik Victor Lownes zdecydowali otworzyć własny lokal bazujący na stylu życia lansowanym przez magazyn. Członkostwo w takim klubie było symbolem statusu, kosztowało 50 dolarów dla
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Google News article
THEATER REVIEW; Journalist in Asylum Lacks Exit Strategy
NYTimes - over 8 years
A pulse-quickening question leapt into my mind, startling me from my torpor, somewhere in the middle of the first act of ''Mindgame,'' the quaintly cheesy thriller by Anthony Horowitz that opened Sunday night at the SoHo Playhouse. It was not, unfortunately, one of the thorny brainteasers Mr. Horowitz was aiming to elicit. No, I was not burning to
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NYTimes article
Arnold Morton, Steakhouse Founder, 83
NYTimes - over 11 years
Arnold Morton, a restaurateur who founded the chain of steakhouses that bear his name and helped start the first Playboy Club and the Taste of Chicago food festival, died Saturday in Deerfield, Ill. He was 83. Mr. Morton suffered from Alzheimer's disease and cancer, his family said. Mr. Morton's first restaurant, the Walton Walk, opened in the
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NYTimes article
BUSINESS PEOPLE; From Scotland Yard To Casino Director
NYTimes - about 35 years
Peter C. Neivens, a 59-year-old retired officer from London's Metropolitian Police, has been named an executive director of the new company that will run the British gambling casinos sold last week by Playboy Enterprises. In a transaction completed on Friday, Playboy's three London casinos and other gambling interests were purchased by Trident
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NYTimes article
NYTimes - over 35 years
Playboy Enterprises Inc., threatened with the loss of gambling licenses for two of its three London casinos, announced yesterday that it had reached an agreement in principle to sell its British gambling operations. The casinos alone accounted for 86 percent of the Chicago-based company's pretax profits in the fiscal year that ended last June 30.
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NYTimes article
NYTimes - over 35 years
A court ruling today lifted the gambling licenses of Playboy's two most profitable London casinos, charging that they had engaged in gambling improprieties. The Playboy Club in Park Lane and The Clermont Club in Berkeley Square were affected by the ruling. Along with the Victoria Sporting Club of London, they constitute the major profit center of
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NYTimes article
NYTimes - almost 36 years
* Avnet Inc. has appointed William C. Cacciatore senior vice president in charge of electronic and electrical distribution. * Consolidated Rail Corporation has elected to its board Daniel B. Burke, president of Capital Cities Communications Inc.; William R. Dimeling, executive vice president of the Reading Company; Hendrick J. Hartong, executive
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NYTimes article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Victor Lownes
  • 1993
    Age 64
    With the loss of its gaming assets, Playboy barely survived.27 March 1993
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  • 1984
    Age 55
    She had continued to pose for Playboy until 1984.
    More Details Hide Details Marilyn is now a journalist who has written for the London Observer, Irish America, Esquire magazine, and the British GQ. Lownes reconciled with Polanski following his dismissal. During the Roman Polanski libel case against Vanity Fair in July 2005, Lownes was ill and could not attend the trial. His wife came in his place. Today, Lownes is rarely seen in public and little is known about his current activities. It is said that Cole and Lownes maintain homes in New York City, London, and Fuengirola, Spain. “What is a playboy? It is usually someone who is getting more sex than you are.”
  • 1981
    Age 52
    Playboy, which made $31 million in the year ending June 30, 1981, lost more than $51 million in the year ending June 30, 1982.
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    By 1981, Lownes was back in London, serving as senior vice president at Playboy Enterprises in charge of the casinos worldwide, the moneymaking part of the whole Playboy empire.
    More Details Hide Details He was leading the effort to open up Atlantic City, New Jersey, for gambling from his London base. Work was started on the future Atlantic City Casino building. In London. Lownes was accused of irregularities by the British gaming authorities, falsely, he claimed. Hefner panicked and before Lownes even appeared before the authorities he was fired in an obvious attempt to save the New Jersey deal. Without him, the British gaming license was revoked and Playboy lost their most valuable assets. Playboy's temporary gaming license in Atlantic City was not renewed.
    With the gaming license approval for the Victoria Sporting Club in February 1981, Playboy Enterprises became the largest, and, table for table, one of the most profitable gaming operators in the UK.
    More Details Hide Details They had three London casinos, two provincial casinos, interests in two others, 72 off track betting parlors, and six bingo parlors. In these casinos they attracted some of the highest of the high rollers and societies’ upper crust. In 1975, Hefner's penchant for becoming involved in various ventures and then losing interest led to unprofitability in many areas of Playboy. Lownes was brought back to Chicago by Hefner personally as a hatchet man to trim the fat off the corporation. He was given virtually unlimited powers and on the job, Lownes was so dedicated to cutting expenses that he was known within the company as "Attila" or "Jaws". Lownes was the executive producer for And Now For Something Completely Different (1971), the first Monty Python film. He was a fan and proposed the idea of a film specifically designed to introduce the British comedy troupe to a U.S. audience. He was very egotistical. According to Terry Gilliam, Lownes insisted on getting an animated executive producer credit equal in size to those of the group members. Gilliam refused and so Lownes had the credit made elsewhere at his own cost. Gilliam then created a different style of credit for the Pythons so Lownes' credit is the only one that appears in this way. In their 1982 film "Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl", Gilliam burlesqued the incident by giving one Python a credit name three times the size of anyone else's: "MICHAEL PALIN - as the man with the biggest credit".
  • 1978
    Age 49
    As well as being Victor Lownes residence the mansion was used as a training camp for Playboy bunnies and was well known for hosting extravagant parties, including the infamous 1978 25-hour party (to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of Playboy Magazine), when guests and Bunny Girls who were given green dots to wear, were allowed upstairs to Stocks' many bedrooms.
    More Details Hide Details Guests included Jim Henson and Don Oz (the Muppets), Barbara Parkins (Peyton Place), and Janine Paule. In 1973, the Manchester and Portsmouth Casino Clubs were opened.
  • 1967
    Age 38
    He later moved to 1 Connaught Street in 1967 which had previously been the London residence of Mary Augusta Ward, a novelist of the late 19th and early 20th century.
    More Details Hide Details A massive Francis Bacon painting he acquired during this time was so hideous that it was exiled to hanging in the hall. A grandfather clock in the property was painted by Timothy Leary. In the 1970s, Playboy magazine encountered competition and profits dropped, at the same time gaming profits from the London casino kept rising, making future expansion into gaming very attractive. In the spring of 1972 the Clermont Club in Berkley Square, famous for its high rollers and celebrity clientele, was purchased. A large rural property a few miles from London was added to the organization in 1972. Stocks House, a 42-room Georgian Mansion located outside Aldbury in Hertfordshire which, coincidentally, had previously been the country home of Mary Augusta Ward. At the time of Lownes' purchase it had been in use as a Catholic girls' school since 1944.
  • 1966
    Age 37
    Gambling had recently been legalized in the UK and Lownes realized there was an opportunity to add the attraction of a casino to the nightclub. A Playboy Club was opened in the heart of the capital, at 45 Park Lane overlooking Hyde Park, on July 1, 1966 and was an immediate success.
    More Details Hide Details It was nicknamed the "Hutch on the Park." "UK One", as Lownes became known, slid easily into the feverish atmosphere of "Swinging London". Regular parties were thrown at his house and the 1960s A-List went, the same cast list that played the tables at the club including The Beatles, George Best, Warren Beatty, Michael Caine, Judy Garland, Sean Connery, Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate.
  • 1963
    Age 34
    In 1963, Victor Lownes became restless and asked Hefner to be sent to London to open a British Playboy club.
    More Details Hide Details He placed an advertisement in The Times personal columns that read: "American millionaire seeks a flat in the most fashionable part of London. Rents up to £100 a week." He found a house at 3 Montpellier Square, opposite Harrods which he rented for 75 guineas a week. He spent months in London working out how and where to open a club.
  • 1959
    Age 30
    Plans for a Playboy Club were begun in 1959.
    More Details Hide Details Victor Lownes' then girlfriend suggested to Hefner the idea of dressing the hostesses in the image of the tuxedoed Playboy Bunny character. Hefner took some persuading as he had always viewed the rabbit as a male character but once he saw a prototype of the outfit he changed his mind. Under Lownes' management, the first Playboy Club opened in downtown Chicago on 116 E Walton Street. It was essentially a bar with entertainment featuring Playboy Bunnies serving drinks and performances by some big names in entertainment. The doors opened for the first time on the leap year night of February 29, 1960 and it was an immediate success. More clubs followed in cities over the USA.
  • 1955
    Age 26
    Lownes was asked to write a couple of articles, and in November 1955, he was offered a full-time job with the company as Promotions Director.
    More Details Hide Details Lownes set about drumming up advertising for the pariah publication, most conservative companies wanting nothing to do with the magazine. He was quite successful in changing minds. Advertising for a club called Gaslight in Chicago, Lownes saw an opportunity to diversify the Playboy brand and suggested to Hefner that Playboy should open a club of its own. Hefner immediately saw the commercial and promotional benefits.
  • 1954
    Age 25
    Lownes moved to Chicago where he lived for several months entertaining scores of young women. At a party in 1954, Lownes met Hugh Hefner, a man whose almost identical interests had led him to recently create Playboy Magazine.
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    Soon after meeting Hugh Hefner in 1954, Hefner started Playboy Magazine.
    More Details Hide Details Lownes eventually joined his publishing company, serving in various capacities as vice president. Lownes was a close confidant of Hefner and developed a reputation of dating Playboy Playmates. Lownes headed Playboy Europe and the UK Playboy Clubs from the mid-sixties until his dismissal in the early eighties. Lownes oversaw Playboy Enterprises's move into casino gambling in the UK in the 1960s, which became Playboy's most successful business other than its publishing until the advent of cable television. He oversaw the most successful part of Hefner's attempt to diversify out of publishing and into motion pictures, hotels and casino gambling. During his time as head of Playboy Europe, he was Britain's highest paid executive, drawing a large salary and eventually becoming Playboy Enterprises's second biggest shareholder. Lownes is credited with creating Playboy Clubs in the United States. Lownes was born to a wealthy family in Buffalo, New York that moved to Florida. At the age of 12, his father gave him a cigar to smoke as aversion therapy. At the same age, he also accidentally shot and killed his best friend, which resulted in his forced enrollment at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell. While there, he met Nicky Hilton, Conrad Hilton's son, who became a friend. After the Institute, he went on to the University of Chicago where he obtained an MBA and met his first wife.
  • 1946
    Age 17
    In 1946, at the age of 18, Lownes got married to Judith Downs, and had two children:
    More Details Hide Details After several jobs, he found employment at an industrial time lock firm. “I was promoted to manager within a few months,” he would later write, “due solely to hard work, conscientiousness and the fact that my grandfather owned the company.” While he was successful, with a loving wife, two children, a large home, and a good job, he was unsatisfied. Following his father's death, after seven years of marriage he had what in an older man would be called a mid-life crisis. He rebelled against the apparent respectability of the middle class American dream, trapped by marriage and decided to abandon his family.
  • 1928
    Born in 1928.
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