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$40 Million More Reasons to Love Leonardo DiCaprio

$40 Million More Reasons to Love Leonardo DiCaprio

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) raised a staggering $40 million to protect endangered species and help preserve the environment at the actor and environmentalist's second annual fundraising gala in St. Tropez, France on Wednesday.

“Tonight’s event is about supporting LDF'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 told his star-studded guests during his opening speech.

"By focusing on protecting these critically-endangered iconic species is almost like setting up a worldwide network of Noahs 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. I’m incredibly proud to be part of a night that will allow us to do so much to protect the planet," he said.

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Guests included Prince Albert II of Monaco, Kate Hudson, Marion Cotillard, Orlando Bloom, Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum and more. Attendees were also surprised with special performances from Elton John and John Legend.

"Such a honor to share the stage with the incredibly talented John Legend," Elton John wrote in an Instagram post. "And a joy to raise money to help save our planet for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation."

The $40 million haul nearly doubled the $25 million raised at last year's LDF gala. According to a release, the event featured a high-priced live auction that opened with Dicaprio's personal items up for bid: a Rolex Daytona Cosmograph watch and Andy Warhol and Bansky artworks from his personal collection. DiCaprio's donations raised close to $2 million.

Here were some of the other jealousy-inducing items on the auction block:

  • The biggest prize of the night—ownership of an estate home on DiCaprio’s eco-resort in Belize—was snapped up by Colony Capital CEO Tom Barrack for $11 million.
  • Prince Albert II of Monaco donated his company for two exclusive experiences. First, an arctic expedition that sold for more than $1.6 million. Second, a private diving experience at Monaco’s protected Larvotto Marine Reserve, which raised $400,000.
  • A private concert with Elton John sold twice for a total of $3 million.
  • A limited re-edition of Rodin’s “The Thinker,” made in connection with the Rodin Museum using iconic sculpture’s original cast, sold for nearly $2 million.
  • Richard Prince’s “Untitled (Cowboy)” 2012 sold for more than $2 million.
  • Movie producer Harvey Weinstein offered his $1.1 million winning bidder the opportunity to be his personal guest to this year's Academy Awards, the Cannes Film Festival, the Met Gala, the White House Correspondents Dinner, as well as visits to the Weinstein Company movie set.
  • A painting by Rudolf Stingel was sold to Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik for $900,000.

The "Wolf of Wall Street" star is no stranger to environmental causes. His eponymous foundation was founded in 1998 with the goal of protecting the world’s remaining wild places, restoring threatened ecosystems and preserving endangered animals.

Just last week, EcoWatch reported that the LDF donated $15 million in grants to more than 30 environmental organizations. The UN Messenger of Peace has also donated millions to protect our oceans and participated in the People’s Climate March.

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