Hugh Hefner And Others Donate Money to Save Hollywood Sign

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner donated $900,000 to save the iconic Hollywood sign today, joining Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other California notables who’ve stepped up to save the sign from real estate developers.

City Councilman Tom LaBonge, at lectern, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, second from left, along with Will Rogers, president and CEO of the Trust for Public Land, left, and Chris Baumgart, chairman of the Hollywood Sign Trust, announced that a $900,000 donation from Hugh Hefner of Playboy Enterprises closed the gap on their Save the Peak campaign to buy 138 acres of hillside near the famed Hollywood sign from developers at a news conference. Photo: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner donated $900,000 to save the iconic Hollywood sign today, joining Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other California notables who’ve stepped up to save the sign from real estate developers, the LA Times reports.

“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 in a statement. “As I’ve said before, the Hollywood sign is Hollywood’s Eiffel Tower and I’m pleased to help preserve such an important cultural landmark,” according to Reuters.

Another $500,000 matching grant came from the Tiffany Foundation and Aileen Getty, it was announced Monday by the Trust for Public Land, which spearheaded the rally to save the sign in the Hollywood Hills.

Other private donors to the Hollywood sign preservation effort included actor Tom Hanks and director Steven Spielberg, the land trust said.

But more is still needed. The land trust needed to collect a total of $12.5 million by this Friday under a deal with a group of Chicago investors who bought the 1,820-foot (555-meter) ridge, called Cahuenga Peak, from the estate of billionaire Howard Hughes in 2002.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had been an early supporter of the effort to save the 138-acre property, attended a news conference to announce that the money had been raised. He said the Hollywood sign is a “symbol of dreams and a symbol of opportunity and hope.”

When Schwarzenegger heard that developers might sell the land to build luxury homes, he said: “What a Terminator is supposed to do, which is to jump into action.”

The Trust for Public Land’s leaders say Fox River Financial Resources Inc. executives had sought $40 million for the acreage, which features a spectacular 360-degree panorama of the Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley. The trust negotiated the lesser amount. The company paid nearly $1.7 million for the peak eight years ago. [via LA Times and Reuters]

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