An emotionally charged Liza Minnelli delivered a barnstorming a cappella rendition of a song made famous by her mother Judy Garland Thursday night at a Cannes Film Festival-related charity event – and raised $75,000 for AIDS research in the process.
Minnelli performed “(Dear Mr. Gable) You Made Me Love You” after one anonymous party guest made the massive bid at the end of an auction at the Cinema Against Aids gala benefiting amfAR, PEOPLE reports.
With a tear in her eye, Minnelli, 58, said, “I have never done this before. I am so nervous.”
Earlier, she sang her own signature song, “Cabaret,” bringing in another $100,000 toward the nearly $2 million generated by the evening.
The bash, held in Mougins (in the hills above Cannes), is traditionally one of the biggest nights on the Riviera. Tables cost $100,000 each, and this 11th amfAR gala drew the cream of the film festival crop, including Ashley Judd, Kevin Kline, Sheryl Crow, Quentin Tarantino and hot young actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Mia Maestro.
The charity auctioneer, Sharon Stone, wore a figure-hugging red Versace gown and Chopard diamonds on her wrist as she made a heartfelt address about the ongoing need to fight the disease. “Thank you very much,” said Stone, 46. “Now I want your cash.”
Stone, known for her cajoling of the ritzy guests, enjoyed some banter with rocker Rod Stewart. “I thought you were not supposed to wear underwear under your kilt, and immediately, he shows me his underpants,” she told the crowd. “I’ve seen his ass twice, and we haven’t even had an appetizer.”
Joining Stone and Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein on the podium, comedian Chris Tucker did an impromptu stand-up routine to auction off Bulgari jewelry and a private tennis lesson with Monica Seles.
“If you don’t have $1 billion,” quipped Tucker, “you shouldn’t be here. Security, get them out!” Imploring the billionaires among the throng to “stand up,” Tucker, 31, urged them, “Be proud to be rich.”
They did: The lesson netted $25,000, while a set of guitars signed by Sting, Sheryl Crow, Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger fetched $65,000.
Other musical entertainment came from Sheryl Crow, who performed “All I Wanna Do” — with Natalie Cole as backup – as well as “The First Cut Is the Deepest.”
As she left the party, Minnelli told PEOPLE, “Maybe we did some good.”