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Hollywood sign's makeover to be unveiled today

December 4, 2012 |  9:04 am

PHOTOS: A history of the Hollywood Sign

Cue the face-lift jokes.

Officials are scheduled to unveil a spruced-up Hollywood sign Tuesday, after its nine 45-foot-tall letters were repainted beginning in October.

At the project’s outset, officials expected to use 275 gallons of paint and 110 gallons of primer to gussy up the sign, which was erected in 1923 to tout a high-end real estate development. Its white letters read "Hollywoodland" until 1949, the first year the then-crumbling sign was made over.

PHOTOS: A history of the Hollywood Sign

In the 1970s, the termite-weakened “O” cartwheeled away from the rest of the white letters and an “L” was set ablaze, according to the nonprofit Hollywood Sign Trust. A who’s who of Tinseltown helped raise money to rebuild the sign completely, including Hugh Hefner, Alice Cooper and Gene Autry. The new landmark was unveiled on live television in 1978.

Ever since, the sign has needed periodic touch-ups, which are usually celebrated with some kind of publicity stunt. In 2005, the last time the sign was repainted, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa "rappelled down the hillside and applied the final strokes of coating himself," according to the trust's website.

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-- Ashley Powers

Photo: Painters use specialized material to strip off old layers of paint on the letters "O" and "L" on the Hollywood sign as it undergoes its most extensive refurbishing in nearly 35 years. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

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