Culture&Arts

Emotional Anderson Cooper airs moving tribute to mom Gloria Vanderbilt

Emotional Anderson Cooper airs moving tribute to mom Gloria Vanderbilt

The "poor little rich girl" at the heart of a famous 1930s custody battle, she lived at the highest levels of fashion, society and wealth, the great-great-granddaughter of the financier Cornelius Vanderbilt and thus heir to one of the greatest family fortunes in U.S. history.

Vanderbilt passed away Monday morning from stomach cancer, according to a report published by The Hollywood Reporter.

Vanderbilt died at home with friends and family by her side.

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper remembered his mother, designer and society grand dame Gloria Vanderbilt, as a woman who endured a string of heartbreaks but still remained deeply in love with love.

'She was 95 years old, but ask anyone close to her, and they'd tell you: She was the youngest person they knew - the coolest and most modern'. When that business flopped, she grabbed onto a hot new trend - designer blue jeans, Vanderbilt wrote in a 2004 memoir, "It Seemed Important at the Time". She was raised in France, until an infamous custody battle between her mother and her aunt ended with her being sent to live with her father's sister, who promptly fired her beloved nanny. Her work also graced a collection of scarves before she started the line of jeans and expanded to perfume, shoes, leather goods and accessories. 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.

Her husbands included Leopold Stokowski, the celebrated conductor, and Sidney Lumet, the award-winning movie and television director. In love with men, or with friends, or books and art, in love with her children, and her grandchildren, and then her great-grandchildren. Vanderbilt partnered with Mohan Murjani, who introduced a $1 million advertising campaign in 1978 that turned the Gloria Vanderbilt brand into a sensation.

In an interview with The New York Times, she said she wasn't embarrassed about the explicitness of her new book, saying: "I don't think age has anything to do with what you write about".

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At 17, and against her aunt's wishes, she got married. Shortly before her death, a joke made both Cooper and his mother laugh. I always felt it was my job to try to protect her.

"She has friends like from all walks of life who are really fascinating people, and you know she's just a really compelling", Cooper told ABC News' Dan Harris in 2017.

"She had as screwed up a childhood as you could have", he added.

She spent a lot of time alone in her head during her life, but when the end came, she was not alone.

Actress Dana Delaney tweeted she lived near Vanderbilt in CT in the 1960s and used to sneak onto her property, which was "beautiful" and had a "fairy tale gazebo".

In the clip, Gloria said he was 63 years old when she first met Stokowski.

"We know she had a fondness for Wheeler". Love is what she believed in more than anything. I didn't know what it meant. "And what an incredible woman", he finished.