Cannes auction of space trip with DiCaprio raises 1.2 million euros for charity

Thu May 23, 2013 9:25pm EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

CANNES (Reuters) - A trip to space with Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio raised 1.2 million euros ($1.5 million) for charity at a glitzy fundraiser at the Cannes film festival on Thursday.

At the 20th annual event organized by amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, DiCaprio emerged as the mystery guest to accompany the winner on a Virgin Galactic flight into space. DiCaprio stars in the film "The Great Gatsby," which opened the 66th Cannes film festival.

Actress Sharon Stone said the winning bidder would spend three days in training with DiCaprio in New Mexico before blast-off.

"You don't get to go to outer space every day with a handsome movie star," said Stone, dressed in a tight-fitting white dress with a gold snake trim down the back.

The bidding started at 1 million euros ($1.29 million).

The auction brochure for the star-studded gala held at the five-star Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, France, near Cannes, said DiCaprio and the winning bidder would be among the first 1,000 people to leave the planet.

The winner, Vasily Klyukin, 37, a Russian living in Monaco, said he had always wanted to go into space.

"I want to be a bit daring," Klyukin, who works in real estate, told Reuters. "I will have to give up smoking now for sure!"   Continued...

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio attends the 'The Great Gatsby' world premiere at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York May 1, 2013 REUTERS/Andrew Kelly