Heiress, Designer Gloria Vanderbilt Dead at 95

Vanderbilt and her family only learned she had stomach cancer earlier this month

Gloria Vanderbilt
Gloria Vanderbilt died on Monday at 95-years-old. (Roy Rochlin/ FilmMagic)
By Ariel Scotti / June 17, 2019 11:02 am

Actress, designer, heiress and mother to Anderson Cooper, Gloria Vanderbilt, died Monday morning of stomach cancer. She was 95.

“Gloria Vanderbilt What an extraordinary mom. What an incredible woman was an extraordinary woman who loved life and lived it on her own terms,” Cooper said in a live, on-air eulogy on CNN. The journalist said his mother and their family learned of her advanced cancer just this month, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“What an extraordinary life,” Cooper continued. “What an extraordinary mom. What an incredible woman.”

Born in New York City on Feb. 20, 1924, to railroad heir Reginald Vanderbilt and Gloria Morgan, his second wife, Vanderbilt would become the center of their bitter custody battle at age 10. She would eventually go on to marry four times and suffered the loss of one of her children to suicide but, as THR wrote, she “never let her travails define her.”

She would create a life for herself, instead, through artistic endeavors like an acting stint in the 1950s and as a designer in the 1970s, pioneering high-end jeans, and starting a home design company that would earn Vanderbilt her own identity and place in the American hierarchy.

Vanderbilt experienced yet another life more recently as a frequent guest of her son’s CNN program Anderson Live. The pair was also the focus of a 2016 HBO documentary that featured a number of their candid chats, Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper.

“My mom has lived many different lives and has inhabited many different skins,” Cooper says in the film. “She has this public face, but the reality of her life is so different than what the public face is.”

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