Gloria Vanderbilt was a socialite turned designer, artist, and author as well as the mother of CNN's Anderson Cooper. They divorced in 1945, when at the age of 21, Vanderbilt married conductor Leopold Stokowski, who was 63. In the almost seven-minute-long video, Cooper spoke about his mother's life in the public eye, personal and professional successes, zest for life and the legacy she leaves behind.
"As a teenager she tried to avoid the spotlight, but reporters and cameramen followed her everywhere", Cooper said. Vanderbilt died Monday morning at the age of 95 with her friends and family by her side. Her first marriage came at 17 years old to Hollywood agent Pasquale diCicco, 32, whom she left after he became physically abusive. In 1988 Vanderbilt joined the designer fragrance market with her signature "Glorious" scent.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper remembered his mother, designer and society grand dame Gloria Vanderbilt, as a woman who endured a string of heartbreaks but still remained deeply in love with love.
"And she was right", her famous son added.
"I embrace it all - the pain and the pleasure, the drama and the disappointments", Vanderbilt wrote in summing up her life in the romantic memoir, "It Seemed Important at the Time". She was surrounded by beauty and by family and by friends.
In 2004 the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph quoted her as saying, "I always spent money I had".
Vanderbilt was born into wealth on February 20, 1924, in New York City and was the great-great-granddaughter of financier Cornelius Vanderbilt, the 19th-century railroad and shipping magnate who amassed one of the greatest fortunes of the time.
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She then applied herself to acting, appearing in television dramas such as "Playhouse 90" and on Broadway in William Saroyan's "The Time of Your Life".
"My mum knew that something awful had come out in the court, but she didn't know what it was and she didn't know what being a lesbian meant at the time". She divorced him in 1955 to marry 12 Angry Men director Sidney Lumet. Despite her struggles, she always welcomed stories about her boy, she told People in a 2016 interview. I did know that.
The last few weeks, every time I kissed her goodbye, I'd say, "I love you, Mom".
In the clip, Cooper praised his mother as "the strongest person I've ever met" and reflected on her living "her entire life in the public eye".
Jones Apparel Group bought Gloria Vanderbilt Apparel Corp.in 2002 for $138 million, and Vanderbilt delved wholesale back into her love for art and writing.
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". What an extraordinary mom. Actresses Alyssa Milano called her "an incredible woman" and Dana Delany said she treasures one of Vanderbilt's paintings, while model Carol Alt hailed her as a "fashion icon and innovator". In a highly public court case in the 1930s both Gloria's mother and paternal aunt sought custody of her and control over her trust fund.