Gloria Vanderbilt Dead: Son Anderson Cooper Delivers Tribute

Gloria Vanderbilt

Facebook via Anderson Cooper Gloria Vanderbilt with her son Anderson Cooper.

Gloria Vanderbilt, the mother of CNN’s Anderson Cooper, has died from stomach cancer at the age of 95 on Monday, June 17, 2019.

In 2016, Gloria and Anderson wrote a book together. According to a social media post, the two began a conversation when she turned 91 years old which changed their lives.

Anderson was extremely close to his mother and was able to share her story through an on-air eulogy on CNN.


Cooper Confirmed the News By Narrating an On-Air Eulogy This Morning on CNN

“Gloria Vanderbilt, my mom, lived her entire life in the public eye,” Cooper started. “Born in 1924, her father, Reginald Vanderbilt was heir to the Vanderbilt railroad fortune but gambled away most of his inheritance. He died when my mom was just a baby. Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, her mother, wasn’t ready to be a mom or a widow.”

Cooper’s voice can be heard throughout the seven-minute-long video, detailing his mother’s life from birth to death. The clip is filled with heartwarming videos and photographs of her beautiful life.

“My mom grew up in France not knowing anything about the Vanderbilt family or the money she would inherit when she turned 21. She had no idea the trouble that money would create. When she was 10, her father’s sister, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, sued to have my mom taken away from her own mother. It was a custody battle the likes of which the world had never seen. It was called the trial of the century and it took place during the height of the depression, making headlines every day for months. The court awarded custody of my mom to her aunt Gertrude whom she barely knew. The judge also fired the one person my mom truly loved and needed, her nanny, whom she called Dodo.”

In the clip, Gloria said Dodo was her mother and her father. She was her lifeline” and “all she had.”

“As a teenager, she tried to avoid the spotlight, but reporters and cameramen would follow her everywhere,” Cooper said. “She was determined to make something of her life, determined to make a name for herself and find the love and family that she so desperately craved. At 17, against her aunt’s wishes, she got married. She knew it was a mistake from the get-go.”

The video features a tender interview between Anderson and Gloria, chatting about her first marriage. Apparently, there were rumors that her first husband, Hollywood agent Pat DiCicco, had killed his first wife, Thelma Todd, a well-known Hollywood actress. Anderson giggled as he questioned his mother about her instincts.

“At 21 she married again and had two sons with the legendary conductor, Leopold Stokowski,” Cooper said.

In the clip, Gloria said he was 63 years old when she first met Stokowski. She said the connection was instant, that she knew him for a week and married him three weeks later. Gloria did not care what anyone thought of the age difference.

“The marriage [to Stokowski] lasted more than a decade, then she met and married director Sidney Lumet, and then my father, writer Wyatt Cooper.”

Her son continues on to describe the life she lived, in public and in private. He preferred her private self, as it was immensely more beautiful and interesting.

“Over the course of her life, my mom was photographed by all the great photographers, she worked as a painter, a writer, an actress, and designer. If you were around in the early 1980s it was pretty hard to miss the jeans she helped create. But, that was her public face, the one she learned to hide behind as a child. Her private self, her real self, that was more fascinating and more lovely than anything she showed the public. I always thought of her as a visitor from another world, a traveler stranded here who had come from a distant star that had burned out long ago. I always felt it was my job to try to protect her. She was the strongest person I’ve ever met, but she wasn’t tough. She never developed a thick skin to protect herself from hurt. She wanted to feel it all. She wanted to feel life’s pleasures, its pains as well. She trusted too freely, too completely and suffered tremendous losses, but she always pressed on, always worked hard, always believed the best was yet to come.”

Gloria told her son in an interview that she thinks the next great love is right around the corner. She believed that we should always be in love.

“She was always in love,” Cooper said. “In love with men, with friends, or books and art. In love with her children, grandchildren, and then her great-grandchildren. Love is what she believed in more than anything.”

Cooper describes a day when the two were at the hospital together, where he realized something sweet.

“Earlier this month we had to take her to the hospital, where she learned she had very advanced cancer in her stomach and that it had spread. When the doctor told her she had cancer she was silent for a while, and then she said, ‘well it’s like that old song, show me the way to get out of this world because that’s where everything is.’ Later she made a joke and we started giggling. I never knew we had the exact same giggle. I recorded it and it makes me giggle every time I watch it.”

In the video, Gloria can be seen in a hospital bed, eyes closed with a smile across her face. She is giggling and Anderson can be heard behind the camera giggling so hard he begins to cough.

“Joseph Conrad wrote that we live as we die, alone,” Cooper said. “He was wrong in my mom’s case. Gloria Vanderbilt died as she lived, on her own terms. I know she hoped for a little more time, a few days or weeks at least. There were paintings she wanted to make, more books she wanted to read, more dreams to dream. But she was ready, she was ready to go.”

“She spent a lot of time alone in her head during her life, but when the end came she was not alone. She was surrounded by beauty, and by family, and by friends. The last few weeks, every time I kissed her goodbye I’d say, ‘I love you mom.’ She would look at me and say, ‘I love you too, you know that.’ And she was right, I did know that. I knew it from the moment I was born and I’ll know it for the rest of my life. And in the end, what greater gift can a mother give to her son? Gloria Vanderbilt was 95 years old when she died. What an extraordinary life. What an extraordinary mom. What an incredible woman.”

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