The going rate to dine with Anderson Cooper? $70,000. The silver-haired TV journalist hosted the Elton John AIDS Foundation annual benefit for the fourth consecutive year last night, and during the live-auction portion of the event, he offered himself up as a lunch date. "I'll pay for lunch—that's appetizer, main, and dessert, the whole bit. Now I don't do a lot on a first date," he teased, "but on a second, who knows?"
Luckily for losing bidders, the pricey anchor wasn't the gala's only attraction. There was further eye candy in the form of benefit committee member Hugh Jackman, and on the piano: the Rocket Man himself, accompanied by special guest Leon Russell. (John and Russell have just released a joint album, The Union.) Among those humming along in the audience: Petra Nemcova, who said she's seen Elton perform in London, L.A., Toronto, and now New York.
Performances aside, the positive tenor of the night was capped by special honors for Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, Victor and Elena Pinchuk, and Jimmy Choo's Tamara Mellon for their breadth of good deeds. (Mellon has raised $3.5 million to support the foundation's work in South Africa.) "I suspect there are many pairs of Jimmy Choos on our gorgeous guests tonight," Sir Elton said to a crowd that included Ivanka Trump and Christina Ricci. "Unfortunately, Tamara doesn't make men's shoes."