Playboy donation saves H`wood sign

Los Angeles: A $900,000 donation from flamboyant Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has saved the world-famous Hollywood sign from being bulldozed to make way for a building development, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Monday.

The donation by Hefner allowed the Trust for Public Land to raise the $12.5 million it needed to buy the famous vista, called Cahuenga Peak, from Chicago investors who planned to use the land for luxury estates on the dramatic peak.

"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. "The Hollywood sign is Hollywood`s Eiffel Tower and I`m pleased to help preserve such an important cultural landmark."

Schwarzenegger said the outcome was "the Hollywood ending we hoped for".

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

Schwarzenegger, a native of Austria who started his Hollywood film career as a bodybuilder, said the state offered $3.1 million toward the fundraising effort. The trust raised a further $6.9 million with donations coming from all 50 US states and 10 other countries.

Other famous donors included director Steven Spielberg and actor Tom Hanks.



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