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Arnold Schwarzenegger Celebrates Preservation of the Hollywood Sign

(Pacific Coast News)

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Monday that the iconic Hollywood sign atop Cahuenga Peak would be kept safe from urban sprawl after $12.5 million was raised to keep the area from being developed. The Austrian actor and bodybuilder made it clear the sign's preservation had become a personal matter for him.

The Hollywood sign was originally built in 1923 to advertise a housing development called Hollywoodland. (Photo Agency)
"Of all the iconic landmarks in the world, the Hollywood Sign is truly one of the most recognizable symbols of the California dream and land of opportunity," Schwarzenegger said Monday. "It called to me when I left Austria and made my way to the U.S., with a few dollars in my pocket and the dream of becoming an actor. I am proud we were able to come together and create a public-private partnership to protect this historic symbol that will continue to welcome dreamers, artists and Austrian bodybuilders for generations to come."

The land behind the sign was facing the development of new apartment complexes over 138 acres. Schwarzenegger, who championed a $3.1 million allocation from the State of California, was one of many celebrities who worked to make sure the area around the sign would remain undeveloped. Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg also made donations while a $900,000 donation from Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner put fundraising efforts over the line.

The Governator couldn't be happier.

"Hollywood has turned me into an action hero," Schwarzenegger said. "So when I heard the land was in danger, I did what the Terminator was supposed to do, which was to jump into action."

In Photos: The Hollywood Sign
Arnold Schwarzenegger on Madison Avenue in Manhattan
View Arnold Schwarzenegger Pictures »
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