Anderson Cooper mourns mother Gloria Vanderbilt in emotional on-air tribute

Oscar Cross
June 18, 2019

From a young age, Vanderbilt led a tumultuous life, one marked by a heated custody battle over her and her inheritance when she was young, and filled with marriages and business ventures as she grew older.

Added Cooper: "Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman who loved life and lived it on her own terms".

Gloria Vanderbilt, the intrepid heiress, artist and romantic who began her extraordinary life as the "poor little rich girl" of the Great Depression and survived family tragedy and multiple marriages to reign in the 1970s and 80s as a designer jeans pioneer, has died at the age of 95.

He also spoke about his bond with his fashion designer mother, describing her as the "strongest person" he's ever met. In the late 1970's, her Gloria Vanderbilt line of skin-tight designer jeans were all the rage.

As the beneficiary of a multimillion-dollar trust fund, Vanderbilt became widely known as the "poor little rich girl" in 1934 because of a high-profile custody fight between her mother and her aunt in NY.

"Her private self, her real self - that was more fascinating and more lovely than anything she showed the public", Cooper said during his CNN tribute. When that marriage ended, she Wednesday author Wyatt Cooper, who she was with until his death during open heart surgery in 1978.

Gloria, the mother of Anderson Cooper, was a woman of many trades, including model, fashion designer and actress. When she was 10, her father's sister, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, sued to have my mom taken away from her own mother.


Gloria Vanderbilt lived her entire life in the public eye.

In 1941, infatuated with movies, she married Hollywood agent and producer Pasquale "Pat" DiCicco.

He included video of her in her hospital bed with tubes in her nose giggling while telling a joke - and said he only realized then that they shared the same laugh. I always felt it was my job to try to protect her. "I don't think age has anything to do with what you write about", she told The New York Times. In 1988, she witnessed the suicide of one of her four sons.

Growing up in France, her father died when she was a baby, leaving her as the sole heir to a railroad fortune of $5 million. She accused him of tyrannizing his sons and said he really was 85, and not 72 as he claimed. "She trusted too freely, too completely, and suffered tremendous losses but she always pressed on, always worked hard, always believed the best was yet to come".

Vanderbilt wrote several books, including the 2004 chronicle of her love life: It Seemed Important at the Time: A Romance Memoir, which drops such names as Errol Flynn, whom she dated as a teenager; Frank Sinatra, for whom she left Stokowski; Marlon Brando and Howard Hughes. She spent her final days surrounded by those she loved, who loved her, including her son and fan Anderson Cooper.

"I know she hoped for a little more time, a few days or weeks at least". She was ready to go.

Of his mother's extraordinary life, Anderson Cooper said, "I always thought of her as a visitor from another world, a traveler stranded here who'd come from a distant star that burned out long ago. And what an incredible woman", he finished.

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