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Slideshow: 90 years of the Hollywood sign in rare pictures, with a timeline

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It’s important for the Hollywood sign to live up to its namesake and keep up its appearance, so it's undergoing a show business staple — the facelift.

Beginning Tuesday, the landmark's letters will be stripped down to sheet metal, primed and given a new coat of white paint.

The project is scheduled to last 10 weeks and should have the famed sign glowing for its 90th anniversary celebration next year.

Which gives us the opportunity to look back at the storied sign's 90-year history and take a look at some rare photos, above.

RELATED: Photos: Close-up views of the Hollywood Sign's new paint job and facelift

Below are more historic dates in the landmark’s history:

1923: The sign is built as a huge advertisement for the Hollywoodland real estate development. It costs $21,000 and includes 13 50-foot high letters covered by 4,000 light bulbs.

1923-1931: The sign becomes a tourist attraction and a glamorous symbol for Hollywood.

1932: A struggling 24-year-old actress, Peg Entwistle, climbs to the top of the letter H and jumps to her death.

Mid-1940s: The sign begins to deteriorate, and the neighborhood wants to get rid of it. The developers decide to unload their last 450 acres, which include the sign, and turn it over to the City of Los Angeles.

1949: The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce enters into a contract with the city's parks department to repair and rebuild the sign and remove the "land" so that it would spell "Hollywood."

1973: Actress Gloria Swanson sponsors a complete makeover of the sign. The 50-year-old sign is declared a historical landmark by the city's Cultural Heritage Board.

1978: Termites have infested the wood, and an "O" has tumbled down the hill. Arsonists set fire to the bottom of an "L." The city decides the sign must be completely rebuilt at a cost of $250,000. Hugh Hefner throws a Playboy Mansion bash to raise funds for the project. In addition, celebrities and community leaders sponsor individual letters at $27,500 apiece. The old sign is demolished, leaving the Hollywood Hills letter-free for three months. In November 1978, the new sign is unveiled.

1999: The sign is lit up in an extravagant millennium countdown on New Year's Eve.

2000: A state-of-the-art security system is installed, which is upgraded with new technology in 2005.

2005: The Hollywood sign "goes into makeup" and returns with a new paint job.

2010: A donation from Hefner — aka "The Sign's No. 1 Fan" — caps a fundraising drive to protect the 138 acres behind the sign and to preserve the view for future generations.

Sources: NPR & thehollywoodsign.org

Do you know of other memorable dates in the Hollywood Sign's history? Please share with us in the comments. Also, if you know of other awesome historic images, please post a link below.

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