Gloria Vanderbilt, a famous model and socialite who was often a subject of fascination in the worlds of fashion and media, has died at 95, according to a report on CNN, where her son, anchor Anderson Cooper, has worked for several years.
From a young age, Vanderbilt led a tumultuous life, one marked by a heated custody battle over her and her inheritance when she was young, and filled with marriages and business ventures as she grew older. “She lived her entire life in the public eye,” Cooper said in a video obituary that aired on CNN Monday.
Vanderbilt was the only daughter of railroad magnate Reginald Vanderbilt and his second wife. As such, she and a half-sister, Cathleen Vanderbilt, each stood to inherit a share in a trust after the executive died when Gloria was just eighteen months old. Her paternal aunt would eventually win custody over the girl and her share in the trust. The trial around who would take control of young Vanderbilt’s life and finances was a tabloid sensation at the time.
But the woman’s life of adventure had only just begun. She studied acting and art and also became a top international fashion model, having been in the public eye starting at a very young age.
In the 1970s, she was among the first to grab hold of the craze for designer jeans, launching a line with her signature stitched on to one of the back pockets. Vanderbilt would go on to launch lines of dresses, perfumes, dresses, accessories – even liqueurs. She also turned to the literary world, writing novels and memoirs. In 2016, she and Cooper, the son of her fourth husband, published an account of their relationship, “The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss.” A two-hour documentary produced by Liz Garbus, debuted on HBO that same year.