Reports say fashion designer and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt has died. The family money dated back to young Gloria's great-great-grandfather, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who was born poor but built a fortune as the magnate of a 19th-century transportation empire. Her life was chronicled in sensational headlines from her childhood through four marriages and three divorces.
In a powerful and moving video piece on Newsroom this morning, Cooper left not a dry eye among viewers as he remembered his mother's legacy and the lasting impression she made upon him, as well as those around her and those that followed her in the public eye. The fashion icon died at her home surrounded by her friends and family. Instead, the 17-year-old Wednesday Hughes' press agent, Pasquale di Cicco, prompting her aunt to cut Gloria out of her will.
The aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 59, who controlled $78 million and founded the Whitney Museum of American Art, won custody of her niece.
Vanderbilt also appeared on Broadway and on television and published multiple novels, including her 2004 book, "It Seemed Important at the Time: A Romance Memoir". "I always felt it was my job to try to protect her", he said about his mother.
Anderson announced the news on the air on Monday (June 17), saying, "Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman who loved life and lived it on her own terms".
Four husbands, four sons and more than 40 years after the court case that made her famous, she courted the spotlight by merchandising her celebrity. She was surrounded by beauty and family and friends.
Born in NY in 1924, Vanderbilt was the daughter of Gloria Morgan and Reginald Vanderbilt, heir to the Vanderbilt railroad fortune. Though Vanderbilt wouldn't remain the only designer of upscale jeans, she continued to be a major player in that market for some time, expanding to include other clothing in her portfolio as well as shoes, linens, and perfumes. She had to sell her five-story townhouse in NY and seven-bedroom home in Southampton on Long Island to pay $2.5 million in back taxes she believed Andrews had handled.
"When the end came she was not alone", Cooper said.
"I never knew we had the exact same giggle", Cooper said during a visit before her death. She divorced him in 1945 and married famed conductor Leopold Stokowski when she was 21 and he was 63. I didn't know what it meant.
Said Cooper: "The last few weeks, every time I'd kiss her good-bye, I'd say 'I love you mom.' She would look at me and say, 'I love you too".
"I have inside me the image of a rock-hard diamond that nothing can get at, and nothing can crack", she said in "Nothing Left Unsaid" to explain how she had weathered the sorrows of her long life.
"What an extraordinary life".
He said that throughout his mother's life, she suffered many "tremendous losses" but always kept on, even up to her death. What an extraordinary mom.