Bassey's 'Diamonds,' Taylor begs for more

CANNES — Rain threatened the annual Cinema Against AIDS benefit May 17, but as guests sauntered down the red carpet and into Moulin de Mougins, the sun broke through, playing off the jewels adorning partygoers at the “Diamonds Are Forever”-themed event.

The pre-auction cocktail party and silent auction provided the likes of Jerry Hall, Julia Ormond, Tim Robbins and Sela Ward the opportunity to bid on such items as an African safari trip (minimum bid: $30,000) and primo seats to the soldout Monaco Grand Prix (a mere $10,000 was the starting bid).

After sipping champagne, guests made their way into an enormous tent where Miramax co-chair Harvey Weinstein warmed up the crowd prior to introducing Elizabeth Taylor, who elicited a standing ovation. She spoke movingly of the destruction AIDS has wrought across the globe, ending with a sincere “We need you … and your cash.”

Keeping with the theme, Shirley Bassey sang “Diamonds Are Forever,” with Taylor donating $100,000 to have the songstress sing “Goldfinger” as an encore. Other notable items on the block were an autographed guitar from Mick Jagger, auctioned by Hall. It fetched $52,000.

Keeping the champagne flowing were Patricia and Rosanna Arquette, Rhys Ifans, Goran Visnjic; Naomi Campbell, Alan Cumming, Linda Evans, Cannes jury president Liv Ullmann; and Miramax’s Rick Sands, Cedric Jeanson and Mark Gill.

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