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L.A.’s legendary Fire and Ice Ball may have been reinvented as the Louis Vuitton United Cancer Front Gala, but perhaps the old moniker was more appropriate. As diamond-clad guests filed into Gary Cooper’s former home in Holmby Hills, bits of ash from the local wildfires floated through the air.

But the flames didn’t stop the glitterati from turning out to support the event’s founder, Lilly Tartikoff. Co-hosts Jennifer Connelly and Salma Hayek did their parts, designing charms for the charity. “I used the salamander because it’s the only animal that can regenerate its limbs,” said Hayek.

This story first appeared in the October 30, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Connelly, however, was feeling far from superhuman. “I’ve been having a lot of Calgon moments trying to balance motherhood, marriage and work,” she said.

Tartikoff found herself in the same boat. “I only gave myself two hours to shop for my dress, because I had people like Russell Crowe calling me, asking for parking passes,” she said.

Meanwhile across town, Keanu Reeves was the first star on the red carpet at the Disney Concert Hall premiere of “Matrix Revolutions.” According to co-star Jada Pinkett Smith, his early arrival was true to form.

“His energy is what motivates the rest of us,” she said. “It’s like, if the star is the first one to come and the last one to leave, then we really got to get it together up in here.”

But Reeves, who admitted that he’ll miss Neo’s futuristic garb, was quick to explain that the era of Matrix mania has hardly ended. “The movie’s just opening!” he said.

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