Gloria Vanderbilt

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Synopsis

Gloria Laura Morgan Vanderbilt is an award-winning designer, artist, and best-selling author, and a member of the prominent Vanderbilt family. She was born in New York City as an heiress to an American railroad dynasty. Gloria Vanderbilt was the survivor of the 20th century's most famous child custody case, which was the subject of national attention in the 1930s. She became the heiress to a trust fund after her father's death when she was only 15 months old. As a result of excessive spending, her mother's use of finances was scrutinized by the child Vanderbilt's paternal aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Whitney wanted custody of the young heiress and soon a famous custody trail became the lead story of 1934. The trial was so scandalous, people heard weeping and wailing inside the courtroom. Testimony was heard depicting the mother as an unfit parent; Vanderbilt's mother lost the battle and Gloria became the ward of her Aunt Gertrude. The story of the trial was told in a 1982 NBC miniseries "Little GloriaHappy at Last." Gloria Vanderbilt emerged as "not only a social legend but also a multi-faceted Renaissance woman." During the 1970s, she ventured into the fashion business. Along with her successful designer blue jeans, Vanderbilt also launched a line of blouses, sheets, shoes, leather goods, fragrances, and accessories. Vanderbilt was one of the first designers to make public appearances, which was difficult for her because of her shyness. For more than three decades, she received recognition as a designer and artist, and was elected to the Fashion Hall of Fame. Her lifelong involvement with and dedication to the arts helped make her a leader in establishing a climate for creativity in America. Gloria Vanderbilt married her fourth husband Wyatt Cooper in 1963, and had two sons, Carter Cooper and Anderson Cooper (now a CNN reporter). Carter Cooper committed suicide in 1988, by jumping from the family's 14th floor apartment as his mother tried in vain to stop him. Gloria Vanderbilt addressed the student delegates at the 1986 Achievement Summit in Washington, D.C. and spoke about passion, courage, creativity and motherhood.

Episodes

  • Gloria Vanderbilt

    28/06/1986 Duration: 10min