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Cannes AIDS benefit raises more than $3 million

Cannes AIDS benefit raises more than $3 million

Penelope Cruz offered the dress off her back to raise $100,000 for AIDS research. Boris Becker and Monica Seles donated a tennis lesson. And Liza Minnelli sold a song. A glitzy benefit dinner Thursday on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival brought in more than $3 million, a record at the annual soiree for the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Host Sharon Stone showed off her talents as a speed-talking auctioneer. When an Alfa GT went on the block, the Basic Instinct actress told one bidder: "You're good-looking, but you'd be better-looking in that car." It went for $90,000. Stone hiked up the price of several items by promising a kiss to the highest bidder or offering to tag along with the buyer of a luxury vacation. The actress recalled watching a video clip of herself at an AIDS benefit years back, when she told the audience: "There are 16 million people with AIDS, and if we don't keep working, this is just going to get completely out of control." On Thursday, she said: "Now, there are 40 million people with AIDS, and it is completely out of control." She asked for a moment of silence to honor AIDS victims before opening the bidding. Actress Milla Jovovich offered up $110,000 for Minnelli to perform "But the World Goes 'Round." Miramax cofounder Bob Weinstein bought the tennis lesson with Becker and Seles for $100,000. Spanish actress Cruz sold her strapless pearl-colored Marchesa gown to restaurateur Giuseppe Cipriani. A lifetime supply of a custom Dior perfume went for $35,000 at the dinner, cosponsored by Warner Home Video and Pirelli, the Italian tire company. Seats cost $2,500 each. Actors who attended included Salma Hayek, Clive Owen, Benicio Del Toro, Brittany Murphy, Jessica Alba, Javier Bardem, Ziyi Zhang, and twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Along with Stone, other chairmen of the event included designer Kenneth Cole, filmmaker Roman Polanski, and Miramax cofounder Harvey Weinstein. (Angela Doland, Associated Press)

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