Gloria Vanderbilt

Infobox Person
name = Gloria Laura Madeleine Sophie Vanderbilt

caption = Gloria Vanderbilt in 1958. Photo by Carl Van Vechten
birth_date = birth date and age|1924|02|20
birth_place = New York City, New York
death_date =
death_place =
other_names = Gloria Vanderbilt
known_for = part of the Vanderbilt dynasty, sensational custody battle, fashion design, and mother of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper
occupation = American artist, actress, fashion designer, socialite

Gloria Laura Madeleine Sophie Vanderbilt (born February 20, 1924 in New York City, New York) is an American artist, actress, and socialite most noted as an early developer of designer blue jeans. She is a member of the prominent Vanderbilt Family of New York.

Early life and heiress status

Vanderbilt was the illegitimate child of railroad heir Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt (1880-1925) and his second wife, Gloria Laura Mercedes Morgan (1904-1965).

She became heiress to a four million dollar trust fund upon her father's death from bootleg alcohol poisoning when she was just 15 months old. The rights to control this trust fund while Vanderbilt was a minor belonged to her mother, also named Gloria. Herself a child bride, the elder Gloria was completely unprepared for the adult responsibilities as a widow of means. She traveled to and from Paris for years, dragging young Gloria with her. They were accompanied by a nanny named Dodo who would play a tumultuous part in young Gloria's life, and her mother's twin sister Thelma, who was the mistress of The Prince of Wales during this time. As a result of the frequent spending, her finances were scrutinized by young Gloria's paternal aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Mrs. Whitney, a sculptor and philanthropist, wanted custody of the young heiress and soon a famous and scandalous trial became the lead story in 1934. The trial was so scandalous that at times, the judge would make everyone leave the room to listen to what little Gloria had to say with nobody signaling her. Some people heard weeping and wailing inside the court room. Testimony was heard depicting the mother as an unfit parent, much of which was conjecture and hearsay, but the widow Vanderbilt lost the battle and the younger Gloria became the ward of her Aunt Gertrude.

Litigation continued, however. Gloria's mother was forced to live on a drastically reduced portion of her daughter's trust. Visitation was also closely watched to ensure that the elder Gloria did not exert any undue influence upon her daughter with her supposedly "raucous" lifestyle. Gloria was raised amidst luxury at her aunt Gertrude's mansions, in Hyde Park, New York, and Newport, Rhode Island, surrounded by cousins her age who lived in houses circling the vast estates.

Gloria attended Convent of the Sacred Heart in Manhattan, Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut, and the Art Students League in New York City, developing the artistic talent for which she would become increasingly known in her career. When Gloria came of age and took control of her trust fund, she cut her mother off entirely, though in later years she supported her mother sporadically. Her mother died in obscurity in 1965.

Marriages, relationships and children

Without a single day of preparation for her inheritance Gloria decided to prove her independence by buying a mink coat and running off to Hollywood where she married agent Pasquale DiCicco ("Pat" DiCicco) in 1941; they divorced in 1945. Her second marriage, to conductor Leopold Stokowski on April 21, 1945, produced two sons, Leopold Stanislaus Stokowski, born in 1950, and Christopher Stokowski, born in 1952; they divorced in October, 1955.

On August 28, 1956, she married director Sidney Lumet; they divorced in August, 1963.

She married her fourth husband, author Wyatt Emory Cooper on December 24, 1963. They had two sons, Carter Vanderbilt Cooper, in 1965, and future CNN reporter Anderson Hays Cooper, born in 1967. Wyatt Cooper died in 1978 during open heart surgery in New York City. Carter Cooper committed suicide on July 22, 1988 by jumping from the family's 14th floor apartment as his horrified mother watched. Mrs. Cooper believed that it was caused by a psychotic episode induced by an allergy to the anti-asthma medical prescription drug Proventil. In an interview on "Larry King Live", his brother Anderson told of Carter's depression, a recently failed relationship, and fear of the future, suggesting that his brother had not dealt well with the stress, but repeated their mother's story that Carter awoke in a confused stupor before jumping to his death.

Professional career and later life

Vanderbilt studied art at the Art Students League of New York. She became known for her artwork, giving one-woman shows of oil paintings, watercolors, and pastels. This artwork was adapted and licensed, starting about 1968, by Hallmark (a manufacturer of paper products) and by Bloomcraft (a textile manufacturer), and Vanderbilt began designing specifically for linens, china, glassware and flatware.

During the 1970s, she licensed the use of her name on a line of fashion eyeglasses, perfume and clothing. (Initially, her involvement in clothing consisted of putting her name (in place of the previous brand name, "Lucky Pierre") on a line of blouses produced by the Murjani Corporation). In 1979, Murjani proposed launching a line of designer jeans carrying Vanderbilt's brand name; they were more tight fitting than other jeans of the day, with the heiress's name embossed in script on the back pocket.

Vanderbilt also appeared in a series of television ads promoting her products. Her designer label has flourished, with the Gloria Vanderbilt "swan" logo eventually appearing on dresses and perfume as well.

She lived in Greenwich, Conn.

Author of:
*"Once upon a Time: A True Story"
* "Black Night, White Night"*"A Mother's Story", which recounts the story of her son Carter's death
*"It Seemed Important at the Time: A Romance Memoir"


"The Memory Book of Starr Faithfull"

Subject of:
*"Trio: Oona Chaplin, Carol Matthau, Gloria Vanderbilt: Portrait of an Intimate Friendship" by Aram Saroyan
*"Little Gloria... Happy at Last" by Barbara Goldsmith
*"That Vanderbilt Woman" by Philip Van Rensselaer

External links

*imdb name|0888742
* [ Gloria Vanderbilt's Many Loves] CBS News July 31, 2005.
* [ Gloria Vanderbilt official website]
* [http://www.Mainbocher.Org/ House of Mainbocher]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Gloria Laura Vanderbilt — Gloria Vanderbilt im Jahr 1958. Foto von Carl Van Vechten Gloria Laura Vanderbilt (* 20. Februar 1924 in New York City, New York) ist eine US amerikanische Schauspielerin, Malerin, Designerin und Autorin …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gloria Laura Mercedes Morgan-Vanderbilt — (August 23, 1904 ndash;February 13, 1965) was a socialite best known as the mother of fashion designer and artist Gloria Vanderbilt. She is also the maternal grandmother of American television journalist Anderson Cooper. Early life Born in… …   Wikipedia

  • Gloria Morgan-Vanderbilt — Gloria Laura Mercedes Morgan Vanderbilt (geboren als Gloria Laura Mercedes Morgan, * 23. August 1904 in Luzern, Schweiz; † 13. Februar 1965 in Hollywood, Kalifornien) war eine US amerikanische High Society Lady. Leben Gloria war die Tochter von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Vanderbilt, Gloria — (1924 )    Vanderbilt was born in New York and was the daughter of the American railroad heir, Reginald Clay poole Cooper. She became heiress to a $4 million trust fund upon her father s death in 1925. A custody battle ensued and the name Gloria… …   Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry

  • Vanderbilt — Die Vanderbilt Familie wurde von dem US amerikanischen Unternehmer Cornelius Vanderbilt begründet und umfasst: Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794–1877), US amerikanischer Eisenbahnmogul und Begründer des Clans   ∞ 1813 Cousine (1. Grades) Sophia… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney — dans le magazine Vogue, 15 janvier 1917 …   Wikipédia en Français

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