Refurbished Hollywood Sign landmark unveiled

December 5, 2012 (LOS ANGELES)

"It's our Statue of Liberty; it's our Golden Gate; it's our arch. But it's more than that, it's Hollywood, which is hope," said Los Angeles Councilmember Tom LaBonge. "There is history to this sign."

Even locals looking up into the hillside at the huge tourist attraction will notice the letters looking a lot brighter than they used to.

Built in 1923, the sign got its start selling real estate, but quickly became an icon all over the world. But after nearly nine decades in the spotlight, the landmark was showing its age; the paint was peeling off in chunks and letters were rusting.

"By 2012, it was clear something more than just a facial was needed," said Chris Baumgart, chairman of the Hollywood Sign Trust.

Now at almost 90 years old, Hollywood has never looked this good. Unlike many of the other celebrities in Tinseltown, she didn't have to go under the knife for her facelift; it only took a lot of paint brushes.

On Oct. 2, the work began on the Hollywood sign. Over nine weeks, the 10 existing coats of paint were scraped off each of the 45-foot-tall letters, almost entirely by hand, and power-washed before painters applied over 100 gallons of primer and paint.

The project cost $175,000, with $140,000 covered by Sherwin-Williams, which donated the paint for the landmark.

The sign has been upgraded periodically since the late 1940s, but this makeover was its most extensive refurbishment in nearly 35 years.

City officials applied a final coat of paint to the Hollywood Sign as they formally revealed the refurbished landmark to the public. They are expecting to add another top coat in five to seven years.

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