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A Brush With Fame

Hollywood's biggest star gets a makeover

LOS ANGELES—Most soon-to-be nonagenarians would settle for a cozy sweater or a tin of boiled candy for their birthday, but in La-La Land they do things differently. This year the Hollywood sign turns 90, and, in keeping with the spirit of this town, celebrations include a major face-lift.

Originally erected in 1923 as “Hollywoodland,” to promote a housing development of that name, the sign got its first major makeover 26 years later, with the removal of “land.” By 1978, it was in such bad shape that it was in danger of toppling over. So a handful of celebrities—Alice Cooper and Hugh Hefner among them—donated tens of thousands of dollars to rebuild it from scratch.

The sign’s latest overhaul was driven in part by paint giant Sherwin-Williams, whose CEO, Christopher Connor, knows good PR when he sees it. Boasting that the paint used is of only the highest quality, he says, “It will be decades before the Hollywood sign requires this type of refurbishment again.” —LIZZIE CHAN

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