Published: Tue, June 18, 2019
Entertaiment | By Simon Arnold

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

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

Heiress and fashion icon Gloria Vanderbilt has died at age 95.

Cooper said: "Gloria Vanderbilt died as she lived, on her own terms... she was ready to go".

USA artist and fashion icon Gloria Vanderbilt has died aged 95.

He also spoke about his bond with his fashion designer mother, describing her as the "strongest person" he's ever met.

Vanderbilt, a fashion designer and socialite, was 95 at the time of her death, which came after a cancer diagnosis earlier this month.

Whitney eventually won custody of Gloria with one judge reproaching the girl's mother for living a lifestyle that was "calculated to destroy her health and neglectful of her moral, spiritual and mental education".

Although her life was played out on a public stage from the outset, her fame spiked in the late 1970s when she teamed with apparel-maker and entrepreneur Mohan Murjani to pioneer designer jeans for women that carried her signature on the rear pockets.

After her success in designer jeans, Vanderbilt branched out into other areas, including shoes, scarves, table and bed linens, and china, through her company, Gloria Concepts. She was determined to make something of her life, determined to make a name for herself and find the love and family that she so desperately craved.

She claimed her only happy marriage was to author Wyatt Cooper, which ended with his death in 1978 at age 50. She believed that we should always be in love. She married for the first time at 17, causing her aunt to disinherit her.

"She was always in love", Cooper said. She successfully sued them, but still had to sell her mansion in the Hamptons and a five-story Manhattan penthouse to pay debts. "I always felt it my job to protect her".

"At 21 she married again and had two sons with the legendary conductor, Leopold Stokowski", Cooper said.

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 would have graduated with the class of '42 - but she left at 17 to get married", said Laurie Flynn, Director of Strategic Communication at Wheeler, in a phone interview with on Monday.

"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 said the connection was instant, that she knew him for a week and married him three weeks later.

Actress Dana Delaney tweeted she lived near Vanderbilt in CT in the 1960s and used to sneak onto her property, which was "beautiful" and had a "fairy tale gazebo". "I never knew we had the exact same giggle", he said. I did know that.

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".

After spending the next seven years on her aunt's Long Island estate, Vanderbilt went to Hollywood. What an extraordinary mom. "What an incredible woman".

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