12:40am PT by Chris Gardner
Madonna Makes Surprise Appearance at Leonardo DiCaprio's St. Tropez Fundraiser
Leonardo DiCaprio can still draw a crowd while hauling in some major cash.
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation played host at the 4th annual fundraising auction gala on Wednesday in St. Tropez where the Oscar-winning actor welcomed friends and allies who share LDF's mission of "protecting the earth and all of its inhabitants through projects that build climate resiliency, protect vulnerable wildlife from extinction and restore balance to threatened ecosystems and communities."
The event brought in a whopping $30 million thanks to table sales and the exclusive auction, which is always heavy on art. Though there is a ways to go to reach last year's tally of $45 million, Wednesday's auction, conducted by Simon de Pury, featured works by Paul McCarthy, Damien Hirst, Jonas Wood, Cecily Brown, Richard Prince and a special commission by Lawrence Weiner.
The experiences section has also snagged a fair share of headlines in the hours after the event thanks to the promise of a Titanic reunion over dinner. DiCaprio and Winslet will pair up for a dinner date with a winning bidder in New York this fall. Other auction items are now available online. Art featured in the auction was curated by Lisa Schiff of SFA Advisory with Andy Boose and AAB Productions handling event production duties.
Winslet was in attendance along with another Titanic star, Billy Zane (who documented the trio's Titanic reunion on his Instagram account, below). Joining them were Adrien Brody, Tobey Maguire, Anne Hidalgo, Doutzen Kroes, Taylor Hill, Imaan Hammam and Gerard Butler. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was honored with the foundation’s “New World Leadership Award” for her commitment to bringing about sustainable policies and innovative climate resiliency programs in Paris.
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There was another reunion worth noting. Sean Penn was there too, and he watched ex Madonna hit the stage to perform songs including "4 Minutes," "Ray of Light," "Ghosttown," "Open Your Heart" and "La Isla Bonita." Lenny Kravitz also rocked out for the jet set crowd.
DiCaprio, the LDF founder and chairman, presided over the festivities with foundation CEO Terry Tamminen and the global fundraising chairman Milutin Gatsby, who spearheaded the launch of the gala. “The health of our planet is grave — this crisis is real," DiCaprio said in his remarks. "What we seem to lose sight of is that we are part of nature, in fact we depend on nature for our very survival. Our natural systems sustain us with all that is necessary for life — such as ample food, clean air and drinkable water.”
He also explained the impact his foundation has had with its environmental efforts. "We helped protect more than 1.6 million square kilometers of ocean — an area more than twice the size of Texas — including in the Ross Sea. Our work is helping save endangered species such as the wild jaguar and the Gray Wolf, which has made a comeback after being on the brink of extinction," he noted. "We are active in Tanzania, restoring the wildlife of Mkomazi national park, and in the grasslands of Kenya, where we are helping jump start an important carbon sequestration project. These are just a few of the stories about the impact the generosity of our donors has helped make possible.”