Danny Finegood, a prankster famous for his creative alterations of the Los Angeles's giant Hollywood sign, died January 22 at a Los Angeles hospital. He was 52.
Finegood's large-scale wordplay was sometimes satirical, sometimes political and often both.
In his first prank, performed as a college art project on New Year's Day 1976, he hung curtains to make the sign read "Hollyweed" the day less restrictive California marijuana laws took effect. He used stones and rope and erected the fabric as though he was hoisting sails.
Later that year in honor of Easter he made the sign read "Holywood."
In 1987 to mock the popularity of Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North during the Iran-Contra hearings, he covered the sign's ĎH' to make it read "Ollywood."
And in a bit of creative vandalism that turned out to be his finale, he draped plastic over several letters to make it say "Oil War," a statement against the Gulf War in 1990. Virtually no one saw that project park rangers removed the plastic sheeting before sunrise.
Beefed up security kept Finegood from getting to the sign again, leaving some projects unrealized. He said he wanted to make the sign say "Hollyween" on Halloween, and wanted to cover it completely on April Fool's Day to make it look as though it had disappeared.
Finegood ran a furniture business that he took over from his father. He also sold "Hollyweed" Tshirts and posters through magazine and internet ads.