Hugh Hefner Saved the Hollywood Sign

Hugh Hefner died Sept. 27, 2017 at the age of 91

In 2011, Hugh Hefner saved the iconic 'HOLLYWOOD' sign by donating the final $900,000
Hugh Hefner saved the iconic ‘HOLLYWOOD’ sign

The Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has donated the final $900,000 needed to preserve 138 acres behind the film capital’s most famous visual symbol on Mount Lee – Hollywood Sign, just as time was running out.

Developers have been eyeing the hillside, once owned by Howard Hughes, for luxury mansions, but a nonprofit land-conservation group was given the chance to buy the land for $12.5 million. As an April 30 deadline neared, the group was nearly $1 million short.

“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,” said Hefner. “They only had about a week and a half left to go.”

The sign was built in 1923 as part of a real-estate promotion, originally spelling out “Hollywoodland” (the “land” was removed in 1949). In 1978, after years of neglect, Hugh Hefner was one of a number of patrons who donated funds to restore it.