Gloria Vanderbilt dead at 95; heiress was a fashion mogul, author, mother of Anderson Cooper

June 17, 2019

by Daphne Sorenson

Gloria Vanderbilt, the fashion icon who was also known as the mother of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, died of stomach cancer in her New York home. She was 95.

According to the Associated Press, Cooper issued this statement: “Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived it on her own terms. She was a painter, a writer, and designer but also a remarkable mother, wife, and friend. She was 95 years old, but ask anyone close to her, and they’d tell you, she was the youngest person they knew, the coolest, and most modern.”

Vanderbilt was an heiress whose father, Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt, died when she was a 1-year-old. Her mother (Gloria Morgan) and aunt (Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, sister Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt) were locked in a custody battle over Gloria, with the legal conflict making headlines worldwide. The custody battle, which was eventually won by Whitney, led to Gloria being called a “poor little rich girl” in the media.

Gloria went on to become a successful fashion designer, who was best known for her self-titled brand of designer jeans, as well as her line of fragrances. Gloria Vanderbilt jeans are credited with launching the designer jeans craze in the late 1970s. (She sold her fashion brand in the 1980s.) She was also an actress, artist and author.

Married four times, her first three marriages (to publicist Pasquale di Cicco, orchestra conductor Leopold Stokowski, filmmaker Sidney Lumet) ended in divorce. Her fourth marriage to author Wyatt Cooper ended in 1978 when he died at the age of 50. She had four sons: Stanislaus and Christopher (from her marriage to Stokowski) and Anderson and Carter (from her marriage to Cooper). In 1988, Carter tragically committed suicide in front of her by jumping from a building. He was 23. Gloria and her son Anderson starred in the 2016 HBO documentary “Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper.” The documentary is available on HBO’s on-demand services. HBO will televise the documentary again on June 20, 2019, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Gloria was surrounded by friends and family when she died, according to her son Anderson, who gave an emotional tribute to her on CNN.