Gloria Vanderbilt, the great-great-granddaughter of railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt and heiress to the Vanderbilt millions, passed away on Monday, June 17, at the age of 95. She died at her home in Manhattan soon after she was diagnosed with stomach cancer.
She was born Gloria Laura Vanderbilt in February 1924 to Reginald “Reggie” Claypoole Vanderbilt, great-grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, and teenage mother Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt. Her father died 18 months after she was born, leaving her in the care of her 19-year-old mother.
At the age of 10, Gloria’s personal life became the subject of tabloid headlines when her paternal aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney engaged her mother in a court battle for custody of Gloria and control of her trust fund.
Gertrude alleged that Gloria’s mother was an unfit parent who, with her identical twin sister Thelma, was squandering her daughter’s trust fund to support her lavish and partying lifestyle.
Gloria Vanderbilt was survived by three sons and three grandchildren
Gloria had four sons: Leopold Stanislaus Stokowski and Christopher Stokowski with her second husband Leopold Anthony Stokowski, and Carter Vanderbilt Cooper and Anderson Cooper with her fourth husband Wyatt Cooper.
But she was survived by three sons Leopold, Christopher, and Anderson, and three grandchildren. Her three grandchildren are Leopold’s two daughters, Aurora Stokowski (born March 1983), Abra Stokowski (born February 1985), and son, Myles Stokowski (born 1998).
Gloria also had two great-grandchildren by her first granddaughter Aurora Stokowski.
Gloria Vanderbilt was married four times to Pasquale DiCicco, Leopold Stokowski, Sidney Lumet, and Wyatt Cooper.
She dropped out of high school at the age of 17 to marry the talent agent Pasquale DiCicco in 1941. Their marriage lasted only four years. She married the famous conductor Leopold Anthony Stokowski after she divorced DiCicco in 1945.
She divorced Stokowski in 1955 and married the film director Sidney Lumet in 1956
She divorced Lumet in August 1963 and married screenwriter Wyatt Cooper in December 1963. Cooper died during heart surgery in 1978 at the age 50.
Her first son Leopold Stanislaus Stokowski with conductor husband Leopold Anthony Stokowski, was born in 1950. Leopold is a private individual who has mostly stayed out of the limelight.
He is married to Emily Goldstein and they have three daughters.
Christopher Stokowski is Gloria’s second son with husband Leopold Stokowski. Even less is known about Christopher than Leopold. He is believed to have purposefully cut himself off from the Vanderbilt family in 1978.
But after Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper released a documentary about Vanderbilt’s life titled Nothing Left Unsaid (2016), Anderson said he and Christopher were in touch and that Vanderbilt had met with him multiple times after the release of the documentary.
Her son Carter committed suicide
Carter Vanderbilt Cooper is Gloria’s eldest won with her husband Wyatt Emory Cooper. Carter was born in 1965 and graduated from Princeton in 1987. After he graduated from Princeton, he worked as an editor for American Heritage magazine.
On July 22, 1988, Carter, aged 23, committed suicide by jumping from the terrace of their high-rise apartment. Carter committed suicide about 10 years after his father Wyatt died during heart surgery in 1978 at the age of 50.
Vanderbilt would later release a book in 1997 in which she shares details about the circumstances surrounding her son’s suicide She also shared a post on Instagram in 2018 to mark the 30th anniversary of Carter’s death.
Anderson Cooper is Gloria’s youngest child
Anderson Cooper is the youngest and best known of Vanderbilt’s sons. He is also probably the closest to her.
Anderson was born to Gloria Vanderbilt and Wyatt Emory Cooper in 1967. He attended Dalton School in New York City and studied political science at Yale. He worked briefly with the CIA before entering the journalism profession.
He rose quickly to the position chief international correspondent for Channel One News. He joined ABC in 1994 as a reporter and left in 2000. After he joined CNN in 2003, he got his own show, Anderson Cooper 360, and briefly hosted a talk show, Anderson Live.