Dennis Hof

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Dennis Hof
Dennis Hof, Heidi Fleiss, Ron Jeremy (cropped).jpg
Hof in 2006
Member-elect of the Nevada Assembly
from the 36th district
In office
Died before taking office
Preceded byJames Oscarson
Succeeded byGregory Hafen II
Personal details
Born(1946-10-14)October 14, 1946
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.[1]
DiedOctober 16, 2018(2018-10-16) (aged 72)
Crystal, Nevada, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (2016–18)
Other political
Libertarian (2015–16)
Domestic partnerHeidi Fleiss (2009–2018)
  • Entrepreneur
  • brothel owner
  • television personality

Dennis Leroy Hof (October 14, 1946 – October 16, 2018) was an American brothel owner. He owned seven legal brothels in Nevada, most notably the Moonlite BunnyRanch. Hof was also a Republican candidate in 2018 for the Nevada Assembly, which he was posthumously elected to less than one month after his death.


Before entering into the brothel business, Hof owned gas stations, first in Arizona and later in Nevada.[2]

The Moonlite Bunny Ranch[edit]

Hof purchased and remodeled The Moonlite BunnyRanch in 1992, a brothel that had been founded in 1955; he then purchased a second brothel, Kitty's, and renamed it The Love Ranch North. Hof later purchased two additional brothels from longtime Nye County brothel proprietor Joe Richards: the Cherry Patch in Crystal, Nevada, renamed the Love Ranch Vegas, and the Cherry Patch II in Amargosa Valley, Nevada, renamed the Alien Cathouse. On September 8, 2018, it was announced that the Alien Cathouse had been sold to business owner Raman Sharma.[3]

Despite Nevada laws banning brothel advertising,[4] Hof maintained a high profile to create publicity for his brothels.[5] He was the president of the Nevada Brothel Owners' Association and its lobbyist; the Bunny Ranch is the closest brothel to the state capital, Carson City.

Hof operated a website;[6] the "working girls" are encouraged to cultivate online relationships with both potential and past clients. He often appeared on talk shows, including Oprah Winfrey, The Today Show, The View, Fox News, Howard Stern, Lex and Terry, and many others. Hof employed adult film stars, including Sunset Thomas with whom he also had a romantic relationship.[7] He also gave free offers to soldiers returning from duty.[8]

In early 2009, due to the recession, State Senator Bob Coffin (D) proposed legalizing prostitution statewide for tax purposes. Hof was prominently featured in a number of media reports saying he would expand into Las Vegas given the opportunity, and was looking at some closed casinos as property.[citation needed] However, the Nevada lawmakers chose not to consider the proposal of statewide legal prostitution during that legislative session.[9]


Hof and the Moonlite Bunny Ranch brothel were featured in the HBO series Cathouse, which ran from 2002 to 2014.[10] Two documentary series followed: Cathouse: The Series[11] premiered in 2005, and Cathouse 2: Back in the Saddle[12] appeared in 2007.

Both featured a look at the inner workings of a legal house of prostitution as well as the life of a number of the working girls, borrowing some techniques from reality television, such as camera-only interviews and staged spontaneity.


Hof appears as himself in an "underground" mall shop called "Pro-Life Sex" in the 2014 indie film Alongside Night.[13] In 1998, Hof was in the Hughes Brothers documentary American Pimp, where notably he was the only white man the brothers interviewed. At one point in the documentary, he very nearly accurately predicted his own death, going out getting the best piece of pussy.[14]

Public speaking and television appearances[edit]

Hof had speaking engagements at Oxford University[15] and Trinity College, Dublin.[16][17] The New Yorker ran an 11-page article by Rebecca Mead about him, entitled "American Pimp", in 2001.[18]

Hof appeared on Walton and Johnson, Brand X with Russell Brand, Rover's Morning Glory, The Johnny Dare Morning Show, Todd and Tyler, American Pimp, The Tyra Banks Show, Lex and Terry, the Opie and Anthony Show, The Adam Carolla Show,[19] The Howard Stern Show, The Mike Calta Show, Loveline with Stryker and Dr. Drew, Derek and Romaine, and on Dr. Phil, as well as giving a tour and interview to conservative pundit Sean Hannity on Hannity and Colmes.


Hof released a book, The Art of the Pimp, in March 2015. The memoir includes personal accounts from women who worked for him, in which they detail sexual abuse at his hands. It also includes a psychological profile of Hof from psychotherapist Sheenah Hankin. Hankin found him to be a narcissist with no empathy, and states of his relationships with his employees, "Like any pimp, he exploits them. This is sadistic behavior, and it is both unrecognized and denied."[20]

Legal problems[edit]

In 1999, Lyon County sheriff's deputy Brian Putzer filed a police report accusing Hof of death threats.[21] According to Deputy Putzer, the threats were spurred when Putzer did a routine walk-through check of one of Hof's brothels and discovered documents showing that Hof was setting up sexual encounters in counties where prostitution is illegal. Putzer states that his superiors "didn't want to challenge Hof" as the county is poorly funded and Hof's brothels were a major contributor to the local economy.

In 2016, a woman who had formerly worked for Hof, Jennifer O'Kane, publicly accused Hof of nonconsensual sexual contact, rape, sexual harassment, and having sex with his workers without a condom.[21] O'Kane stated that Hof regularly gets away with the sexual abuse of his employees due to their status as sex workers, and that she had reported the rape to the D.A.'s office in 2011, but nothing had been pursued. The accusations were similar to statements made in Hof's own memoir by former Hof employees Krissy Summers and Cami Parker, who noted abusive behavior and coerced sexual encounters in the brothel.[20] A detective interviewed O'Kane regarding the accusations but charges were not pursued as there were no other direct witnesses and Hof was running for political office at the time. Deputy District Attorney Katrina Samuels again declined to prosecute the case in 2018, stating that the statute of limitations had passed.

In December 2017, another former employee, Diana Grandmaison, reported a non-consensual sexual encounter with Hof to the same detective who had investigated the O'Kane case.[21] Grandmaison stated that Hof regularly initiated such encounters with the young girls who worked for him and detailed other forms of work abuse. No further action was taken.


Hof endorsed Ron Paul in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.[22][23] He joined the Libertarian Party in 2015.[24][25] In December 2016, he became a "Trump Republican".[26]

In 2016 and 2018, Hof ran for the 36th District seat in the Nevada Assembly, the lower house of the state legislature – the first time as a Libertarian and the second time as a Republican; he lost the first race to James Oscarson, but defeated him in the GOP primary in 2018.[27] Hof prevailed in the primary after Nye County officials attempted to remove his campaign signs. However, in an emergency motion before the Federal District of Nevada, Hof prevailed in a First Amendment claim against the county.[28] He was represented in that matter by First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza.[29][30] After winning the primary Hof styled himself as the "Trump from Pahrump."[31]

Hof died October 16, 2018, just two days after his 72nd birthday and less than a month before the 2018 general election.[2] His name remained on the ballot (with polling places posting public signage stating that Hof was deceased), and he posthumously won election to the seat over his Democratic opponent, Lesia Romanov, by a 68.3% to 31.7% margin; under Nevada state law, the seat was declared vacant.[32] County commissioners from Lincoln, Nye and Clark counties conducted a weighted vote to determine Hof's replacement.[33] The seat was given to Gregory Hafen II, general manager of a local utility company founded by his grandfather.[34]

Electoral history[edit]


2016 Nevada's 36th State Assembly general election results by county
Map legend
  •   Oscarson—80–90%
  •   Oscarson—60–70%
  •   Oscarson—50–60%
2016 Nevada's 36th State Assembly district election[35]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican James Oscarson (incumbent) 16,531 60.8
Libertarian Dennis Hof 10,675 39.2
Total votes 27,206 100


Republican primary
2018 Nevada's 36th State Assembly district Republican primary results by county
Map legend
  •   Hof—40–50%
  •   Oscarson—50–60%
general election
2018 Nevada's 36th State Assembly district general election results by county
Map legend
  •   Hof (deceased)—70–80%
  •   Hof (deceased)—60–70%
  •   Hof (deceased)—50–60%
2018 Nevada's 36th State Assembly district Republican primary election[36]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dennis Hof 2,921 42.8
Republican James Oscarson (incumbent) 2,489 36.5
Republican Joseph J. Bradley 1,411 20.7
Total votes 6,821 100
2018 Nevada's 36th State Assembly district election[37]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Dennis Hof (deceased) 17,179 63.1
Democratic Lesia Romanov 10,058 36.9
Total votes 27,237 100

Personal life[edit]

In Cathouse: The Musical, Hof revealed that he only dated prostitutes. "I don't date civilians [non-working girls]." The documentary series showed several of his relationships with employees, such as adult film star Sunset Thomas[38] and Heidi Fleiss.[39] In his memoir, Hof disclosed a lack of interest in monogamy and detailed how every one of his relationships ended due to his own infidelity.[20] Hof was a close friend of Fox News personality Tucker Carlson. He once stated that he communicated with Carlson daily to give him ideas for his show.[40]


Hof died in his sleep at his Love Ranch South in Crystal, Nevada, on October 16, 2018, following a party for his 72nd birthday that had been attended by Joe Arpaio, Heidi Fleiss,[41] Grover Norquist, and Ron Jeremy, the last of whom found Hof unresponsive.[42] Police did not suspect foul play at the time of his death, and no one who was with him the night before noticed any signs of ill-health.[42] Hof's legislature campaign manager Chuck Muth said that Hof was "having the time of his life" that night.[43] The death was later reported to have been caused by a heart attack due to "atherosclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease."[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In episode 3 of season 2 of "Cathouse", Hof mentions that he was born and raised in Phoenix.
  2. ^ a b Fortin, Jacey (October 16, 2018). "Dennis Hof, the Pimp Who Won a Nevada State Primary, Dies at 72". The New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  3. ^ "Alien Cathouse Has A New Owner | Nevada Brothels". Nevada Brothels. September 9, 2018. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  4. ^ "Unlawful advertising of prostitution", NRS 201.430 and 201.440
  5. ^ ABC News (February 9, 2009). "Rough Recession Tests Brothel Boundaries". ABC News. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  6. ^ "Official Bunny Ranch Homepage – Bunny Ranch Girls Pics and Videos – BunnyRanch in Las Vegas". Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  7. ^ John Katsilometes (June 17, 2013). "Suit against Sunset Thomas offers new wrinkle in the oldest profession". Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  8. ^ "Nevada brothel offers free sex to returning troops". CNN. Reuters. June 3, 2003. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  9. ^ "MSN | Outlook, Office, Skype, Bing, Breaking News, and Latest Videos". MSN. Archived from the original on February 15, 2009.
  10. ^ Cathouse (2002) at IMDb
  11. ^ Cathouse: The Series at IMDb
  12. ^ Cathouse: Back in the Saddle at IMDb
  13. ^ Alongside Night at IMDb
  14. ^ American Pimp
  15. ^ Jennifer M. Wood. "Inside Dennis Hof's Moonlite Bunny Ranch, the World's Most Famous Brothel". Details. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  16. ^ Skorupa, Susan (June 19, 2015). "'The Art of the Pimp': Dennis Hof tells all". Reno Gazette-Journal. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  17. ^ "Bunny Ranch Pimp Dennis Hof Wants to Run for Senate to End Sex Trafficking". VICE. July 20, 2015. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  18. ^ Rebecca Mead (April 23, 2001). "American Pimp". The New Yorker. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  19. ^ Laxamana, Chris (May 18, 2015). "Dennis Hof and Jo Koy". The Adam Carolla Show. Archived from the original on May 2, 2017. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  20. ^ a b c "The bizarre memoir of America's most famous pimp". The New York Post. March 8, 2015. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  21. ^ a b c "Former prostitutes allege unwelcome sexual contact from brothel owner Dennis Hof". The Nevada Independent. May 27, 2018. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  22. ^ "Ron Paul endorsed by Nevada brothel owner". November 26, 2007. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  23. ^ "The Moonlite BunnyRanch Endorses Ron Paul For President". The Huffington Post. January 3, 2012. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  24. ^ Ben Botkin. "Nevada brothel owner says he might run for U.S. Senate". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  25. ^ Amber Phillips (July 9, 2015). "The Libertarian Party is backing a brothel owner. And yes, it supports legal prostitution". Washington Post. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  26. ^ Richard Hunter (December 7, 2016). "Hof Bolts Libertarians, Joins Trump's Republicans". Press Release. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  27. ^ "Nevada pimp wins GOP primary, rejoices with Hollywood madam". Archived from the original on November 25, 2018. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  28. ^ "Federal judge orders Nye County to return Hof's political sign". June 12, 2018.
  29. ^ Randazza, Marc (September 18, 2018). "Marc Randazza Represents Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof in a First Amendment Case". Medium. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  30. ^ marcrisman (January 21, 2019). "Famed Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof found dead at 'Love Ranch'". Marc Risman. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  31. ^ "CNN: 'I'm riding the Trump wave. He's Christopher Columbus,' says Nevada pimp running for office". CNN. June 24, 2018. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  32. ^ Tacopino, Joe (November 7, 2018). "Voters choose dead pimp over Democratic opponent". The New York Post. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  33. ^ "Dennis Hof, deceased brothel owner, wins Nevada Assembly race". November 7, 2018.
  34. ^ Johnson, Shea. "Hafen appointed to replace Hof in Nevada Assembly District 36" Las Vegas Review-Journal December 7, 2018
  35. ^[bare URL]
  36. ^ "Nevada Primary Election 2018 - State Assembly".
  37. ^ "Nevada Primary Election 2014 - State Assembly". Archived from the original on June 26, 2014. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  38. ^ Cathouse: The Musical
  39. ^ Kenny Herzog (March 26, 2015). "Dennis Hof Interview – Dennis Hof on 'The Art of the Pimp'". Esquire. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  40. ^ "A Wild Conversation with the 'Pimp' Who Won a Nevada Primary". Rolling Stone. June 13, 2018. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  41. ^ "Dennis Hof dies at 72: He spent his final hours with Ron Jeremy, Heidi Fleiss, and other recognizable names".
  42. ^ a b Duggan, Brian; Damon, Anjeanette; Spillman, Benjamin; DeHaven, James (October 16, 2018). "Dennis Hof, Nevada's bombastic legal pimp and Assembly candidate, has died". Reno Gazette Journal. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  43. ^ "Brothel owner-turned-politician Dennis Hof found dead at Love Ranch". October 16, 2018.
  44. ^ "Dennis Hof's cause of death revealed". Fox News. Fox News. March 28, 2019.

External links[edit]