Hollywood To Help Preserve Land Around Hollywood Sign

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today that donations totaling $3.1 million on behalf of major studios and a number of other Hollywood leaders have been made to help buy the land at Cahuenga Peak and preserve the view of the famous Hollywood Sign.

The contributions bring to $9.45 million the total amount raised, said TPL President Will Rogers. TPL needs to raise a total of $12.5 million by the April 14 deadline in order to protect the land from potential development.

These contributions include major donations from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, CBS Corporation, The Entertainment Industry Foundation, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, the Lucasfilm Foundation, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Steven Spielberg, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Time Warner Inc., and The Walt Disney Company Foundation. Other Hollywood leaders to contribute include Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, and Norman Lear.

“The Hollywood Sign is the world-wide symbol of the American entertainment industry and we are grateful that the Hollywood community has stepped up to help us protect this land,” said Rogers. “With this generous support from the leaders of Hollywood we are one step closer to preserving this valuable resource.”

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “We need to protect this land and this view of the Hollywood Sign. The sign is a vital link to generations of Hollywood story-tellers. As governor, I have made land conservation a priority and we need to add this land behind the Hollywood Sign to the list of special places we have protected in California.”

TPL holds an option to buy the 138 acres behind, and to the left, of the “H” in the sign, stretching west to Cahuenga Peak. The option expires April 14.

The land was originally purchased by industrialist Howard Hughes in 1940, to build a home for actress Ginger Rogers. But the relationship between the two fell apart and after Hughes died, his estate sold the property in 2002 to a group of Chicago investors. They put the property on the market two years ago for $22 million. It is zoned to build four luxury homes.

In addition to support from the Hollywood community, Aileen Getty has donated $1 million, and The Tiffany & Co. Foundation has been a major supporter with a $1 million donation.

“The Hollywood Sign is an American icon that holds a unique place in the nation’s collective imagination and the cultural history of Los Angeles,” said Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and CEO of Tiffany & Co. “As an American institution, Tiffany has enjoyed its share of memorable movie moments and through our foundation, is committed to protecting our natural resources and pleased to assist The Trust for Public Land in protecting this historically significant site.”

Besides TPL, Tiffany and Ms. Getty, other collaborators in the campaign include the Hollywood Sign Trust, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge, the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, the Los Angeles Parks Foundation, and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

There has also been strong local grassroots support from people who live in the Los Angeles area. Hundreds of local residents have given money and are hosting fund-raisers.

TPL is a national, nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has worked with willing landowners to complete for than 4,500 projects in 47 states, protected 2.8 million acres.