Dame Elizabeth Taylor raises money for her AIDS foundation with celebrity dinner in Cannes from HELLO! magazine, issue 664, May 29, 2001
Some of the worlds biggest stars came out at the Cannes Film Festival to prove that diamonds are still a girl’s best friends.
Heading the glittering occasion, entitled A Diamonds Is Forever: Cinema Against AIDS and benefitting the American Foundation For AIDS Research (amfAR), was the charity’s Founding National Chairman Dame Elizabeth Taylor. Appropriately attired in a dress encrusted with rhinestones and adorned with diamond jewellery, Dame Elizabeth finished her outfit off with the 33-carat diamond ring which was a present from former husband Richard Burton.
Dame Elizabeth, who is a tireless campaigner for AIDS causes, said that she and Richard had once rented a house near Cannes “and it’s just one of my favourite spots on earth”. The Hollywood legend was returning to the Cannes Film Festival for her ninth year as Event Chairman of the Cinema Against AIDS gala, which this time was held back at its original venue, Roger Vergé’s famed restaurant in the hilltops above Cannes, Le Moulin des Mougins.
“Coming back and raising money for AIDS gives me a great sense of joy,” Dame Elizabeth told the guests, who included supermodel Naomi Campbell, film director Terry Gilliam and the co-chairs of the event, Elizabeth Hurley and Julia Ormond.
Dame Shirley Bassey, meanwhile, performed her famous hit Diamonds Are Forever, about how men leave you while diamonds never do. This was a sentiment echoed by guest Jerry Hall, the ex-wife of Rolling Stone Mick jagger, who said she preferred diamonds to men. Wearing an amazing 151-carat white and yellow gold necklace by chopard, Jerry joked: “Diamonds last longer than rock stars!”
The centrepiece of the Cinema Against AIDS dinner was a glittering display of 12 one-of-a-kind diamond necklaces, valued at $25 million and totalling 2,000 carats. Called the A Diamond Is Forever Collection and described as “the most magnificient collection of diamonds ever assembled”, the necklaces will be auctioned at a later date to benefit amfAR.
Another highlight of the evening was the charity auction. Naomi Campbell helped raise $80,000 by auctioning off two Peter Beard photographs plus five nights at her boyfriend Flavio Briatore’s Kenyan retreat. Paris Hillton modelled a Randolph Duke dress autographed in diamanté by various stars, which fetched $20,000 while Liz Hurley sold a breakfast with herself – with her old friend Matthew Mellon paying around £5,000 for the privilege.
However, the most generous bid of the evening came from Dame Elizabeth Taylor herself. She paid $100,000 to hear fellow Dame, Shirley Bassey, sing Goldfinger.