Photo via Associated Press

By Bethany Colson, Managing Editor of

After months of rally efforts, raising donations and even conducting neighborhood bake sales, the Hollywood sign has finally been saved from certain doom by real estate developers and urban sprawl.  The sign will now and forever sit on top of the Hollywood hillside, with an unobstructed view, to welcome those with visions of creativity, art, entertainment and opportunity.

Today marks the historic day when the necessary $12.5m was finally earned from a fundraising drive that would purchase the Hollywood hills land and protect the iconic sign.  With its 360º panorama of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley and solid place in Golden Age of Hollywood history (the property was originally purchased in 1940 by Howard Hughes, who wanted to build a home for his then-girlfriend Ginger Rogers) the Cahuenga Peak will remain the Entertainment Mount Olympus.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called the momentous accomplishment that saved a piece of our history and our symbol of opportunity and imagination for people around the world as “the Hollywood ending we hoped for.”

“It’s a symbol of dreams and opportunity,” he said. “The Hollywood sign will welcome dreamers, artists and Austrian bodybuilders for generations to come.”

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner helped save the sign with his $900 000 donation after public and private donors, including J Paul Getty heir Aileen Getty, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, donated the rest to buy the 56 hectares that would otherwise be the future home for luxury residences.

The Trust for Public Land conservation group spearheaded the Save the Sign campaign.  They raised $6.7m in private funds, the state offered $3.1m, and local funds totalled $2.7m.  However, it was Hefner, who calls the sign “Hollywood’s Eiffel Tower” that completed the goal of $12.5m.

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

Schwarzenegger said private donations came from all 50 states, 10 foreign countries and a number of individuals.

Read more at USA Today


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