Baltimore Sun

Leonardo DiCaprio and celebrity friends raise $40 million for his foundation

Leonardo DiCaprio speaks onstage during the second Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation gala in Saint Tropez, France, on Wednesday.

Leonardo DiCaprio's penchant for philanthropy and smokin' hot females collided during the actor's second annual charity gala in Saint Tropez, France.

The "Wolf of Wall Street" star, and his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, hosted the glitzy shindig off the French Riviera on Wednesday, which drew several comely faces and raised more than $40 million to protect the Earth's wild places and to implement solutions to save the environment.


To compare, last year's gala reportedly raised $25 million.

"Tonight's event is about supporting [the foundation's] efforts to protect key species like the tiger, rhino, shark and mountain gorilla by working with governments to conserve the jungles, coral reefs and forests they call home," DiCaprio said in his opening remarks. "By focusing on protecting these critically-endangered iconic species is almost like setting up a worldwide network of Noah's arks."


"We've decimated our forests, wildlands, polluted and over-fished our rivers and oceans; all the key ecosystems that not only serve as a home to our planet's biodiversity, but also make life here for us possible."

The actor, 40, tapped into his own vault for the live auction, offering up his Rolex Daytona Cosmograph watch and personal Andy Warhol and Banksy artworks to bidders. His items alone raised nearly $2 million, the foundation said.

Musicians Elton John also gave an impromptu performance at the Chopard and Armani-sponsored fete. A private concert with him sold twice at auction for a total of $3 million. Grammy and Academy Award winner John Legend was also in attendance with wife Chrissy Teigen and sang at the gala.

Among the fine art, luxury items and experiences up for auction were ownership of an estate home on DiCaprio's private island in Belize, which went to Tom Barrack for $11 million; Prince Albert II of Monaco donated several experiences, including an arctic expedition; and a limited re-edition of Rodin's iconic sculpture "The Thinker" made from the original mold sold for nearly $2 million.

Film producer Harvey Weinstein donated $1.1 million worth of events -- among them were access to the Oscars, screenings, the Cannes Film Festival, the Met Gala and the White House Correspondents Dinner.

Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, actress Kate Hudson and mom Goldie Hawn, actresses Michelle Rodriguez and Nina Dobrev, actors Orlando Bloom, Adrien Brody, Sylvester Stallone and Chris Tucker, and models Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum, Irina Shayk and Petra Nemcova were among the attendees.

Earlier this month, the Oscar-nominated DiCaprio donated $15 million in grants through his foundation, which was started in 1998, to more than 30 organizations that are, in his words, "implementing innovative and impactful environmental projects" worldwide.

Twitter: @NardineSaad