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Group Raises $12.5M Goal for Hollywood Sign Land
The Hollywood sign near the top of Beachwood Canyon adjacent to Griffith Park in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. AP Photo/Reed Saxon.

By: Jeff Wilson, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES, CA (AP).- Developers won't be building anything behind the landmark Hollywood sign.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Monday a final $900,000 donation by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner completed the $12.5 million fundraising drive to protect the 138 acres behind the famous sign.

The governor praised the public and private partnership in raising the money to keep the property out of hands of developers. The Trust for Public Land conservation group raised $6.7 million in private funds, the state raised $3.1 million and local funds provided $2.7 million.

Hefner, who calls the sign "Hollywood's Eiffel Tower," put the effort over the top.

Schwarzenegger called it "the Hollywood ending we hoped for."

"It's a symbol of dreams and opportunity," Schwarzenegger said of the sign. "The Hollywood sign will welcome dreamers, artists and Austrian bodybuilders for generations to come."

The governor praised the conservation effort and public/private partnership, borrowing from his Hollywood days: "I did what the 'Terminator' was supposed to do, and that was to jump into action."

Schwarzenegger noted private donations were given by all 50 states, 10 foreign countries and individuals, including J. Paul Getty heir Aileen Getty, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Hefner.

Aileen Getty and The Tiffany and Co. Foundation contributed $1 million.

"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.

Wildlife Conservation Board executive director John Donnelly says the permanent protection of Cahuenga Peak is a significant addition to Griffith Park and that it will "enhance wildlife corridors throughout the region."

The land was originally purchased in 1940 by industrialist Howard Hughes, who wanted to build a home for then-girlfriend Ginger Rogers. But the relationship ended and the Hughes estate later sold the property in 2002 to a group of Chicago investors.

The property, zoned for four luxury homes, was put on the market two years ago for $22 million.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Los Angeles | Hollywood Sign | Hugh Hefner | Aileen Getty | Steven Spielberg | Arnold Schwarzenegger |

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