2:59pm PT by Chris Gardner
Jane Fonda Surprises UCLA Gala Attendees With "Unexpected" Executive Kiss
When Al Gore dubs you MVP of the night, you've done something right.
That honor went to Jane Fonda on Thursday night during UCLA's third annual Institute of the Environment and Sustainability Gala at the home of Tony and Jeanne Pritzker. What did she do to deserve the nod from the onetime vice president of the United States? Fonda straddled an energy executive during the live-auction portion of the evening and kissed him on the mouth.
The gala crowd — including honorees Ted Sarandos of Netflix and billionaires Jeff Skoll and Eric and Wendy Schmidt, along with guests Goldie Hawn, Courteney Cox, Rashida Jones and Norman Lear — went wild when Fonda, 78, came through on a pledge to help bolster bids by sitting on the lap of whoever ponied up the most cash for a popular auction item.
FullCycle Energy Fund founder/general partner Ibrahim AlHusseini topped the bidders with $30,000 for two tickets to the third annual Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Gala, scheduled for July 20 in Saint-Tropez, France. Once the winning bid was set, Fonda joined auctioneer Grant Snyder and headed to AlHusseini's table, where she straddled, kissed and hugged him.
Asked for his reaction to Fonda, AlHusseini, 42, had three words for THR: "Unexpected. Pleasant. Historic."
Accompanied by his girlfriend, the venture capitalist, entrepreneur and philanthropist added that he has known Fonda for approximately five years after being introduced by mutual friends. AlHusseini plunked down the large sum for the tickets because, he said, "I want Leo to know that the work that he's doing is being supported, and there are a lot of people behind him, and this is a gesture of standing with him, and I will tell him in person," he explained.
Gore, fresh from a trip to India, was in attendance to present an award to Skoll, his friend and collaborator on An Inconvenient Truth. And following the display of flashbulbs and laughter surrounding Fonda’s big moment, nobody really could disagree with Gore’s MVP designation for Fonda, even if the environment was the real winner Thursday night.