Media Money with Julia Boorstin

A Hollywood Ending for the Hollywood Sign

Hollywood sign
Mark Ralston | AFP | Getty Images

Hugh Hefner is the White Knight who stepped in to save the land around the iconic Hollywood Sign.

The Playboy magazine mogul is donating $900,000, which triggers a matching grant from The Tiffany Foundation and Aileen Getty. A total of $12.5 million raised allows the Trust for Public land to buy the 138 acres around the Hollywood sign and add it to Griffith Park.

It's fitting that a town and industry obsessed with image rallied around the symbol of aspirations of fame. The land around the sign was at risk of being bulldozed and developed into a bunch of McMansions. But saving the image is great for Hollywood — the sign can continue to serve as a key reference point in TV shows and movies from "Beverly Hills 90210," to "Day of the Locust" to "Pretty Woman." Now the sign can shine like a beacon atop the brush-covered hill, and aspiring actors can hike the trails up to the sign for their workout.

The Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger himself weighed in on the importance saving of that powerful image. He said in a statement: "It called to me when I left Austria and made my way to the US, with a few dollars in my pocket and the dream of becoming an actor. I am proud we were able to come together and create a public-private partnership to protect this historic symbol that will continue to welcome dreamers, artists, and Austrian bodybuilders for generations to come." Ah, the America Dream.

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