January 28, 2007 by

Danny Finegood

1 comment

Categories: Artists

Daniel Ned Finegood liked to play pranks. Big ones.
On New Year’s Day in 1976, Finegood and some friends climbed up Mount Lee in Los Angeles and altered the famous Hollywood sign. Using only rocks, rope and four 12-foot white sheets, they changed the last two Os to make the sign read: “Hollyweed.” Members of the media were notified in advance of the unveiling, and photographs of the stunt later ran in newspapers across the globe.
When asked why he chose that word, Finegood said he was making a statement about the state’s new marijuana law, which changed the charge of possession of marijuana from a felony to a misdemeanor. He was also an art student at Cal State University Northridge at the time, and he used the sign-changing stunt as a project for his environmental sculpture class. The professor gave him an “A.” Finegood later graduated from Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles.
The California native never outgrew his love of the grand practical joke. In 1979, Finegood altered the 507-foot Hollywood sign again, this time to honor the Christian holiday of Easter. During that antic, the sign became “Holywood.” During the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987, he changed the hillside landmark to read “Ollywood,” in honor of Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North. Finegood’s final sign caper occurred in 1990 when he decided to make a very public statement about the first Gulf War. With the help of some plastic sheets, he made the Hollywood sign read: “Oil War.”
Some called Finegood a “makeover artist”; others viewed him as a vandal. Over the years, however, security at the sign increased — a fence and closed circuit surveillance system were installed — and Finegood decided against committing other embellishments. Instead he focused on his family and the direction of local education. He also collected neon signs.
Finegood died on Jan. 22 of multiple myeloma. He was 52.

One Response to Danny Finegood

  1. T. Savoren

    I worked with Danny at Good Companies – I will always rember Danny and his father Dave, Good people…. My love to his family
    Tom Savoren

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