Gloria Vanderbilt: icon of fashion and artist dies at 95 years

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

"Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived by her own words," Cooper said in a statement. "She was a painter, a writer and a designer, but also an extraordinary mother, wife and friend.

"He was 95 years old, but ask someone close to you, and they will tell you: he was the youngest person they knew – the most beautiful and modern".

Vanderbilt was diagnosed with an advanced form of stomach cancer earlier this month, Cooper said.

In the spotlight from the beginning

Born in New York in 1924, Gloria Laura Morgan Vanderbilt grew up in France. His father, the financier Reginald Vanderbilt, heir to a railway heritage, died when he was a child.

Gloria was the focus of media attention at an early age, nicknamed "the poor rich little girl" in an intense custody battle between her mother and her father's enormously wealthy sister, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Aunt prevailed in court, but young Gloria did not know her aunt well. He considered his nanny, Dodo, his mother figure.

"As a teenager he tried to avoid the spotlight, but journalists and cameramen followed everywhere," said Cooper. "She was determined to do something about her life, determined to make a name for herself and find the love she desperately needed."

Modeling was an early interest, and at 15 she was photographed for Harper's Bazaar, the first of many modeling appearances. He will appear in Vogue magazine and pose for the famous photographer Richard Avedon.

When he was 17, he married the Hollywood agent Pat DiCicco in 1941, against the wishes of Aunt Gertrude. He would later admit that he knew it was a mistake at the time.

At the age of 21, she took control of a $ 4.3 million trust fund that her father had left her. She divorced DiCicco two months later and remarried promptly – this time, with conductor Leopold Stokowski, who was 63 at the time.

"I met for a week and got married three weeks later," he once told Cooper during an interview.

When asked if her friends thought it was strange that she was in love with a man of forty years older than her, she said, "I didn't care."

An artist in the heart

With Stokowski, he began to pursue his passions, beginning with his works of art, which he had exhibited for the first time in 1948. He had two children with Stokowski: Leopold Stokowski was born in 1950 and Christopher Stokowski in 1952.

In 1954, he made his stage debut in a production of the romantic drama, "The Swan", at the Pocono Playhouse in Mountainhome, Pennsylvania. He published a book of poems the following year, the same year he divorced Stokowski.

He again found love in Hollywood with director and producer Sidney Lumet, who would continue to win several Oscar nominations for films such as "12 Angry Men", "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Network".

The two married in 1956. After their divorce in August, Vanderbilt was married for the last time on Christmas Eve that year. With writer Wyatt Cooper, he had two other children: Carter Cooper in 1965 and Anderson Cooper in 1967.

Vanderbilt has found another way to his creativity in the years that followed. Striking his work of art as an inspiring muse, he produced fashion designs and fabrics that earned him the 1969 Neiman Marcus Fashion Award, before opening the door to a line of mid-prêt-à-porter garments of the years 70.

With his GV Ltd. brand, he sold millions of pairs of jeans bearing his swan brand name and trademark – a nod to his first production as an actor.

"If you were in the early years, it was quite difficult to lose the jeans he helped create, but that was his public face – the one he learned to hide as a child," said Anderson Cooper. "His private self, his true self – was more charming and more beautiful than anything he showed to the public.

Lose a child, find comfort in words

The tragedy struck the family in 1988 when Carter Cooper, 23, jumped from the 14th-floor terrace of his parents' penthouse in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan's Upper East Side. Carter had suffered from depression.

The following years were crude for Vanderbilt. In addition to coping with the loss of a child, his lawyer and his psychiatrist reduced it to millions of dollars. He sued them successfully, but he still had to sell his mansion in the Hamptons and a five-story Manhattan penthouse to pay off debts.

In 1995, he moved with Anderson Cooper and began working on a book, "A Mother's Story", published in 1996. The book documented his pain after Carter's death. Despite his struggles, he always welcomed stories about his boyfriend, he told People in a 2016 interview.

People "will start talking about him and then they will say: & # 39; Oh, I'm sorry, and I say & # 39; No, I like talking about him, more, more, more & # 39; – because this brings him alive and brings him closer and means that he has not been forgotten, "Anderson Cooper told him.

In his mother's obituary, Cooper lovingly described his mother as "the strongest person I ever met, but it wasn't hard, he had never developed a thick skin to protect himself from pain." He wanted to try everything. feel the pleasures of life, even its pains.

"He trusted too freely, too completely and suffered enormous losses, but he always insisted, he always worked hard, he always believed that the best was yet to come".

Chronicle of his life

Jones Apparel Group purchased Gloria Vanderbilt Apparel Corp. in 2002 for 138 million dollars, and Vanderbilt deepened its wholesale business in his love of art and writing.

He exhibited 25 oil paintings in Manchester, Vermont, in 2007, and in 2012 he staged "The world of Gloria Vanderbilt: collages, dream boxes and recent paintings" at the New York Design Center.

Author of several books, including one on collage and another on interior design, Vanderbilt also wrote a story about his love life, "It seemed important at the moment: a love novel", in 2004.

If his passion for creative types was not evident in his four marriages, he clarified in his book, sharing stories of his time with singer Frank Sinatra, novelist Roald Dahl, actors Marlon Brando and Errol Flynn and l & # 39; industrialist Howard Hughes.

Continuing the theme of love, he published an erotic novel, "Obsession", in 2009. He was 85 years old when he found his way to bookstores.

Asked late by Anderson Cooper if he still believed his next big love was behind the corner, she replied, "Absolutely."

"Love is what he believed more than anything else," said Cooper.

His relationship with his anonymous CNN son, now world-famous, was recorded in a 2016 HBO documentary, "Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Later that year, the couple published a joint memoir, "The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and a Child for Life, Love and Loss".

Of his mother's extraordinary life, Anderson Cooper said: "I always thought of her as a visitor to another world, a traveler here stuck with a distant star burned a long time ago, I always thought it was my job to try for protect her. "

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