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17th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Party Celebrating the Academy Awards Raises Nearly $4 Million

Sir Elton John Performed With Special Guest Raphael Saadiq

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Sir Elton John and David Furnish hosted the 17th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) Academy Awards(R) viewing party. The event was held on Sunday, February 22, 2009 at the Pacific Design Center and was co-sponsored by Chopard, Jo and Raffy Manoukian and Vh1. EJAF's party to celebrate the Academy Awards(R) was one of the night's best attended parties and raised nearly $4 million.

The annual gala continues to be the leading fundraising event in Hollywood on Oscar night. This year's gala brought some exciting moments including a live performance by Sir Elton John and special guest Raphael Saadiq, as well as a emotional first-hand account by Kerrel McKay who spoke about her experiences as an HIV/AIDS activist in her home country of Jamaica. McKay also spoke about a public service campaign orchestrated by the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS, supported by the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

This year's guests included the event's esteemed co-chairs Victoria Beckham and John Walters in addition to Hollywood luminaries such as Sir Ben Kingsley, Claire Danes & Hugh Dancy, Gerard Butler, Ben Stiller & Christine Taylor, Quincy Jones, Keifer Sutherland, Whoopi Goldberg, Sharon Stone, Eva Longoria Parker, Kate Beckinsale, Carrie Underwood, Natasha Bedingfield, Chace Crawford, Olivia Wilde, Rosanna Arquette, Josh Groban, Elle Macpherson, Gordon Ramsey, Eric McCormack, Tim Allen, Rashida Jones, Molly Sims, Russell Simmons, Dita Von Teese, Zac Posen, Natasha Henstridge, Terrell Owens, Chris O'Donnell, Paz Vega, Chris Noth, Taye Diggs and Ricki Lake.

Guests arrived for cocktails followed by dinner and viewing of the 81st Annual Academy Awards in the custom-built tent adorned in black and cream hued modern "supper club" decor created exclusively by Antony Todd. The five-course meal, as created by Chef Wayne of Crumble Catering, included carnaroli risotto with dry Marsala wine and crystallized natural flowers, choice of sauteed beef filet or roasted halibut and a dessert puffed chocolate tartlet with raspberry bitter orange sauce, among others.

As is tradition, immediately following dinner, auctioneer Jamie Niven of Sotheby's led the evening's live auction. Items auctioned included the opportunity to dance with Ellen DeGeneras on her Emmy Award winning talk show, which sold for $20,000; two jewel encrusted 10th Anniversary Elton John AIDS Foundation collection watches designed by Chopard went for $250,000 each; a one-hour tennis lesson by tennis champion Andy Roddick sold at auction for $31, 000; taken directly for the Academy Award stage was the "Milk" soap box used by Hugh Jackman in his opening homage to this years' Best Picture nominees; and a three-day, four-night stay at the Normandy, France home of the Forbes family, Chateau de Balleroy, sold for $80,000.

ELTON JOHN AIDS FOUNDATION: The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) was established in the United States in 1992 (EJAF-US) and in the United Kingdom in 1993 (EJAF-UK) by founder and chairman Sir Elton John. Together, both entities have raised over $150 million to support HIV/AIDS prevention and service programs in 55 countries around the globe since inception. Today, EJAF is one of the world's leading nonprofit HIV/AIDS organizations supporting innovative HIV prevention programs, efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, and direct care and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS. EJAF-US's current grant-making priorities target HIV prevention programs in the Southern United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America; HIV prevention and care services for highly marginalized and vulnerable populations; and HIV/AIDS prevention education and the promotion of sexual health for adolescents.

CHOPARD: There are few jewelers in the world whose designs are immediately recognizable. At the forefront of that list is Chopard. For over 140 years, the "World of Chopard" has embraced elegance, originality and individuality. Renowned internationally for its award-winning "Happy Diamonds" creations, the Chopard collection also includes an array of designs that adorn celebrities around the world. Meticulously crafted in Geneva, Switzerland since 1860, Chopard has distinguished itself worldwide for luxurious jewels and impeccably crafted high-precision timepieces that embody imaginative design and sophistication. To mark Chopard's 10 years of support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele has designed a new watch collection in collaboration with Sir Elton John himself. A testament to their friendship, the watch collection reflects the artist's extravagant personality as well as his tremendous generosity. A percentage of sales from these watches benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation. For further information, phone 1.800.CHOPARD or explore Chopard on line at

JO AND RAFFY MANOUKIAN: Jo & Raffy Manoukian are honored to be one of the sponsors of the annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards(R) Viewing Party. They have been personal friends of Sir Elton John since the early 1990s and are actively involved with the Foundation in the capacity of both Trustees and Board Members. The Elton John AIDS Foundation forms only one part of Jo & Raffy's philanthropy. Their charitable efforts span the globe with special emphasis on health, education, sports and media ventures.

Vh1: Vh1 connects viewers to the music, artists and pop culture that matter to them most with TV series, specials, live events, exclusive online content and public affairs initiatives. Vh1 is available in 95 million households in the U.S. Vh1 also has an array of digital channels and services including Vh1Classic, Vh1 Soul, Vh1 Mobile, Vh1Games and extensive broadband video on Connect with Vh1 at

AMERICAN AIRLINES: American Airlines, American Eagle and the AmericanConnection airlines serve 250 cities in over 40 countries with more than 3,400 daily flights. American Airlines is the official airline of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

    Contact:   Christina Lee / Ivy Mollenkamp
               ROGERS & COWAN

SOURCE Elton John AIDS Foundation
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