MANILA, Philippines – American socialite, heiress, artist, and fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt died Monday, June 17, at the age of 95.
Her son, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, confirmed the sad news. He also voiced an on-air obituary for his mother.
“Love is what she believed in more than anything. Gloria Vanderbilt died as she [lived] – on her own terms,” said Cooper in the obiturary for his mother which aired on CNN Newsroom.
His voice cracking slightly, he added: “Gloria Vanderbilt was 95 years old when she died. What an extraordinary life. What an extraordinary mom. What an incredible woman.”
Cooper said his mother was diagnosed with stomach cancer about a month ago.
Vanderbilt, the daughter of railroad heir Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt and Gloria Morgan, lived a storied life. Growing up, Cooper said in the obituary, Vanderbilt was unaware of the fortune she stood to inherit when she turned 21.
She first became a household name when she was 10 years old because of a custody battle between her mother and aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. The custody battle was called the “trail of the century” then. Custody was eventually granted to her aunt.
Vanderbilt first wed at 17. “She knew it was a mistake from the get go,” said Cooper. Vanderbilt, in an old interview, told Cooper that her first husband was rumored to have killed his first wife.
“Sweetheart, I was only 17,” Vanderbilt told a bewildered Cooper.
At 21, she got married a second time, to Leopold Stokowski. He was 63 when they met and later, married. They split and she later married Sidney Lumet.
Cooper is Vanderbilt’s son from her fourth husband, Wyatt Cooper. – Rappler.com