Hugh Hefner: Why I Saved The Hollywood Sign

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 11: Hugh Hefner, editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine, and Holly Madison (R), of E!'s "The Girls Next Door," greet fans as they sign copies of the November issue of Playboy at Virgin Megastore Times Square October 11, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images) Worst Supporting Actor

    Hugh Hefner saved the day for one of Hollywood's most iconic images, the famed Hollywood sign, and now he's telling Access why.

    "I knew about the problem, I knew that they were raising money," Hefner told Access Hollywood's Tony Potts at Monday night's "Iron Man 2" premiere. "But it was only just a few days ago that I learned they were running out of time."

    The non-profit land-conservation group raising funds to save the sign was $1 million dollars short of the $12.5 million dollar price tag when the Playboy founder stepped in and donated $900,000 to help preserve the landmark.

    Hef first came to the rescue to help restore the decaying monument in 1978 and he was just as delighted to help yet again this time around.

    "I am happy to have been in a position to have been able to do it," he told Access.

    Though it would not have been removed from Mount Lee, the influential sign was indeed in danger of being surrounded and overshadowed by the development of estate homes on nearby Cahuenga Park.

    The giant white 'Hollywood' emblem overlooking the city has been a globally recognized symbol for the star-studded community and starstruck visitors from around the world since it was erected in 1923 as an advertisement for the Hollywoodland real estate development. The sign originally had the "-land" suffix attached.

    "It is our Eiffel Tower," Hef continued. "It represents, I think more than a city, it represents Hollywood dreams."

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