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Hugh Hefner Saves Iconic 'Hollywood' Sign

High Hefner saves the iconic 'Hollywood" sign from developers. The Playboy mogul donated over $900,000 to preserve the 138 acre hillside on Mount Lee just minutes before developers could purchase the lot. in 1978, Hefner and other patrons, rescued the iconic 45 foot Hollywood sign from neglect by donating funds for restoration. Hefner reported to PEOPLE that "it would have been a real shame after having it resrotred if it wound up sold, It's become something iconic and represents not only the town but represents Hollywood dreams, and I think that's something worth preserving."

The iconic Hollywood sign was built in 1923 as part of a real estate promotion and originally spelled "Hollywoodland." In 1949, the "land" section of the sign was dropped. Howard Hughes once owned the hillside behind the United States' film capital and developers had intentions of knocking down the sign to make room for luxury mansions. A nonprofit land conservation group had until April 30, 2010 to purchase the parcel of land for $12.5 million dollars. The conservation group was more than $1 million dollars short of their mark until Hefner graciously stepped in. Hefner reported "I was aware of the fact that they were raising the money, but i only learned about a week ago that they were running out of time. They only had about a week and a half left to go."

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