Madonna Lends Hand at Benefit

As a hot attraction at a benefit, Madonna has no peer, and on Tuesday night she graced the Beverly Hills premiere of "It Had To Be You," starring the husband-and-wife team of Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna.

The evening was a $50-a-person benefit for Hollywood Helps, a year-old consortium of unions and guilds united to raise money for AIDS patients within the entertainment industry.

Madonna was not only a starry guest, but the chair of the event. But would she show up? After all, she chaired a Hollywood Helps benefit at the club Heartbreak earlier this summer, and then never made an appearance.

While they waited, photographers obligingly snapped shots of the film's stars and guests like Erik Estrada and Jacqueline Stallone before the picture started, but when Madonna arrived at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with her constant companion Sandra Bernhard, she was strobed by a thousand points of light before going upstairs to the theater. Downstairs, caterers set up a dozen huge wedding cakes (inspired by the theme of the film), and prepared for the onslaught of hungry moviegoers--as well as the dozen or so security guards and paparazzi who snacked while they waited for the guests to come down.

Weary, perhaps, from an all-day recording session, Madonna split after the film. About 1,200 stayed for the party. Celebs on hand included Milton Berle, Diane Ladd, Margaux Hemingway, Ben Vereen and Lynn Redgrave.

The net for the charity was $50,000 as the event was completely underwritten.

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