Space flight with DiCaprio auctioned for $1.5M

A trip on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo with the actor was part of an AIDS fundraiser. The winner is a Russian real estate tycoon.

By Bruce Kennedy May 28, 2013 7:29AM

Leonardo DiCaprio (© Virginia Mayo/AP)"Let me tell you about the very rich,” F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author of "The Great Gatsby," famously wrote in a short story. "They are different from you and me."

Kind of makes you wonder, then, what Fitzgerald might have thought about Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays Jay Gatsby in the latest movie version of the landmark novel. The actor helped raise about $1.5 million at a Cannes film festival fundraiser last week by auctioning off the seat next to his when he heads into space next year.

In the auction's booklet, the prize was described as a "once-in-a-lifetime trip to space with a mystery guest." After the sale, DiCaprio was revealed as the mystery guest to fly with the auction's winner on a Virgin Galactic space flight. Virgin's founder and guru, Sir Richard Branson, says he hopes to launch the trip from New Mexico by year's end.

According to, regular noncelebrity tickets for Branson's SpaceShipTwo sell for $250,000 each -- and about 550 people have reportedly plunked down money for their flights.

The money for the flight with DiCaprio was raised at an annual event organized by amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. Other items auctioned off to the movie industry glitterati included a private concert for 45 people by Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon and John Taylor, which was said to go for $517,000.

Other big-budget items up for grabs included a role as an extra in four Hollywood movies, including one starring DiCaprio.

Oh, and the auction's winner? He's 37-year-old Vasily Klyukin, a Russian living in Monaco who apparently has done very well in real estate. Klyukin also purchased a gold and diamond necklace for $400,000 at the auction.

"I want to be a bit daring," Klyukin told Reuters. "I will have to give up smoking now for sure!"

Somewhere, F. Scott is smirking.

More on moneyNOW

May 28, 2013 8:42AM

"Let me tell you about the very rich,” F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of "The Great Gatsby," famously in a short story. "They are different from you and me."



........Yes, they never have to worry about being able to afford food, shelter and medical care, and yet, they never seem to have enough.  Most of us didn't need Fitzgerald to tell us that.

May 28, 2013 11:05AM
I sort of prefer the wealthy doing this rather than lobbying local governments and congressman to lower their taxes!
May 28, 2013 3:18PM

Apparently most of these people didn't read the article before commenting on it.  From the story above, Mr. Klyukin had no idea that he would be sitting next to DiCaprio on the flight.


Whether you like or dislike DiCaprio, you have to give him credit for doing this.  In one afternoon he raised $1.5 million for an AIDS fundraiser.  How can anyone look at that as a bad thing?

May 28, 2013 5:17PM

Now if I could only hit the lottery. I would take that offer in a heart beat.


May 28, 2013 10:26AM
if I had that kinda money ........ I would buy a keg-a-rater  then blow the rest having Van Halen  play at my birthday party
May 28, 2013 9:59AM
Well now Klyukin can make killing financially but putting his seat up for bid on EBAY since people know it is with Leonardo. Personally, I'd only bid if it was to ride with Cindy Crawford, Nickole Kidman, Gwenith Paltrow, or Megan Hilty.
May 28, 2013 7:25PM
You can keep it, no way on gods good earth would I ever try this, well maybe after they have 20 years of experience, with zero crashes.
May 28, 2013 3:25PM
Hmmm I think they might have raised more if they let it be know Leo was the prize.  There had to be some silly daughter of a  billionaire there who would have gone to at least $2M.
May 28, 2013 10:15AM
What an idiot!!!  If you're a billionaire, and even if you're Russian, there are much easier ways to hang out with someone you're starstruck over than buying a trip for a space flight.  And let's face it, DiCaprio will likely never fly on that space flight anyway because the risk of not coming back would be too great and damaging to his career.  Maybe when he's retired?
May 28, 2013 9:07AM

Oh my, a trip with Leonardo still my heart.  The only way I'd pay to go on a trip with that creepy actor is if it were on the 2001 Space Odyssey ship and I got to shut him out and hear him say "Open the pod bay door, Hal".

HAL 9000 and I would be enjoying every minute of that cruise.  Taking out the trash...bleh to Leonardo.  I'll save my money for someone who actually has something to offer this world.  Ick!

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