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10

Hugh Hefner saves iconic Hollywood sign

NEWS
Hugh Hefner saves iconic Hollywood sign

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Entertainment

Developers won’t be building anything behind the landmark Hollywood sign.

The Trust for Public Land says Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s $900,000 donation completes the conservation group’s $12.5 million fundraising drive to protect the 56ha behind the Hollywood sign.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said Monday that Hefner was the final donor, calling it ‘the Hollywood ending we hoped for’.

Hefner’s gift caps a yearlong effort by conservationists to keep developers out of the area behind the sign. Aileen Getty, a billionaire daughter of oil baron J. Paul Getty, and The Tiffany and Co Foundation earlier contributed $1 million.

In a statement, Hefner says the sign is ‘Hollywood’s Eiffel Tower’.

It means 56ha around the hillside sign will be protected from developers, who wanted to turn the land into high-price housing estates.

“It’s a symbol of dreams and opportunity,” Gov Schwarzenegger said.

The investors had planned to sell the land to developers, but agreed to sell to the trust for $12.5 million if the money could be raised.

Hefner said: “My childhood dreams and fantasies came from the movies, and the images created in Hollywood had a major influence on my life and Playboy.”

Donations came from all 50 states, 10 countries and celebrities, including actor Tom Hanks and director Steven Spielberg.

In February, the sign was draped with a banner which read “Save the Peak”, to raise awareness of the campaign.

The Hollywood sign itself, which is set high up in the hills, was initially created in 1923 as an advert for a real estate development called Hollywoodland.

It never faced demolition, but campaigners were worried the famous vista would be ruined by the sight of properties towering over the four-storey high letters.

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