Artist/prankster Danny Finegood loses cancer battle

This past June I posted an entry on bLog-oMotives about my friend David Batterson writing a song celebrating art student Danny Finegood's legendary 1976 alteration of the famous Hollywood sign - making it read "Hollyweed." This past week my blog was getting numerous visits through Internet searches for "Danny Finegood" and "Daniel Finegood." Late Thursday night I learned that Finegood passed away on Monday, due to multiple myeloma, at the age of 52. The Los Angeles Times posted an updated tribute on the paper's website earlier today.

This afternoon I had a very nice email from his daughter Natalie, asking if I would post the sad news. She said that her father "was an awesome guy." In responding to her email I wrote: "From everything I've read and heard about (your father), he was a man with an incredible spirit and an individual I would have thoroughly enjoyed knowing personally."

Finegood coordinated the alteration of the Hollywood landmark three other times. Once the sign was changed to read Holywood for Easter. In 1987, during the Iran-Contra hearings, it was altered to read "Ollywood" to protest the hero worship of Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North. Another brief change was made by Finegood in 1990 when the sign read "Oil War" before police removed the plastic draping the structure.

In a 1983 letter to the Los Angeles Times, Finegood and his cohorts wrote: "We broke no laws and did no damage to the sign. An artist's role throughout history has been to create representations of the culture he exists in. By hanging four relatively small pieces of fabric on the landmark, we were able to change people's perception of the Hollywood sign."

For many, that perception will include fond memories of artist and prankster Danny Finegood. Posters of the Hollyweed image may still be ordered at Donations may be made in Finegood's memory to the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research, 9201 W. Sunset Blvd., Suite 300, West Hollywood, CA 90069.

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

1 comment:

larry said...

Thank you for posting the follow up and letter from Nat. Danny was a very special person not only for his artistic vision and deeds. Danny was a "people collector" who was one of those people everyone loved and who attracted and kept around him all sorts of interesting characters. Live was always an interesting puzzle that he seemed to be working on.
Anyway, thanks from someone who will be missing this guy a lot.