Gloria Laura Vanderbilt

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Gloria Laura Vanderbilt

Birthplace: New York, NY, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Reginald Vanderbilt and Gloria Vanderbilt (Morgan)
Widow of Wyatt Emory Cooper
Ex-wife of Pasquale "Pat" DiCicco; Leopold Stokowski and Sidney Lumet
Partner of Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks
Mother of <private> Stokowski; <private> Stokowski; Anderson Cooper and Carter Vanderbilt Cooper
Half sister of Cathleen Vanderbilt

Occupation: artist, writer, designer, heiress
Managed by: Darlene Patricia Potts
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Gloria Laura Vanderbilt

Gloria Laura Vanderbilt (born February 20 or February 24, 1924) is a member of the prominent United States Vanderbilt family and an accomplished artist, actress, and socialite most noted as a spokeswoman for designer blue jeans.

The only child of American railroad heir Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt (1880-1925) and his wife, Gloria Laura Mercedes Morgan (1904-1965), a beautiful Swiss-born socialite of American, Chilean, Spanish, and Irish descent, little Gloria became heiress to a four million dollar trust fund on her father's death when she was 2 years old. The rights to control this trust fund while Gloria was a minor belonged to her legal guardian, her mother, and Gloria therefore became the subject of a custody battle in a famous and scandalous trial in 1934, in which testimony was heard depicting her mother as an unfit parent, charges which included Gloria Sr.'s intention to marry a German prince. A maid testified to seeing the glamorous widow Vanderbilt bathing her feet in Champagne and gave evidence of an apparent lesbian relationship with a member of the British royal family, the marchioness of Milford Haven (née Nadjeda, Countess Torby, who married a nephew of Queen Mary); her mother eventually lost custody to Gloria's aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney but litigation continued.

Gloria married, in 1941, Hollywood agent Pasquale DiCicco ("Pat" DiCicco); they divorced in 1945. She married, secondly, as his third wife, on April 21, 1945, conductor Leopold Stokowski; they had two sons, Leopold Stanislaus Stokowski (born 1950) and Christopher Stokowski (born 1955); they divorced in October 1955. She married, thirdly, on August 28, 1956, director Sidney Lumet; they divorced in August 1963. She married, fourthly, in 1964, author Wyatt Emory Cooper; they had two sons, Carter Vanderbilt Cooper (1965-1988), and newsman Anderson Cooper (born 1967).

Gloria studied art at the Art Student's League in New York City, and became known for her artwork, giving one-woman shows of oil paintings, watercolors, and pastels. This artwork was adapted and licensed, starting about 1968, by Hallmark (a manufacturer of paper products) and by Bloomcraft (a textile manufacturer), and Gloria began designing specifically for linens, china, glassware and flatware. During the 1970s, Gloria licensed the use of her name on lines of fashion eyeglasses, perfume and clothing. Initially, her involvement in clothing consisted of putting her name (in place of the previous brandname, "Lucky Pierre", on a line of blouses produced by the Murjani Corporation. In 1979, Murjani proposed launching a line of designer jeans carrying Gloria's brand. They were very successfully marketed as "Gloria Vanderbilt designer jeans". They were more tightly fitted than the other jeans of the time, with her name in script on the back pocket: Gloria appeared in a series of television ads promoting them. The designer label flourished, with the Gloria Vanderbilt logo eventually appeared on dresses and perfumes as well.

She is a great-granddaughter of Union general Hugh Judson Kilpatrick and a niece of Thelma Morgan, Viscountess Furness, the mistress who preceded Wallis Simpson in the affections of Edward VIII of the United Kingdom.

Gloria Laura Vanderbilt

  • County of New York, New York City 20.02.1924


Father: Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt * 1880

Mother: Gloria Laura Mercedes Morgan * 23.08.1904

MarriagesMarriage I: 1941

Pasquale DiCicco

Marriage II: 21.04.1945

Antoni Stanislaw Boleslawowicz * 18.04.1882

Marriage III: 28.08.1956

Sidney Lumet * 25.06.1924

Marriage IV: 1964

Wyatt Emory Cooper * 01.09.1927


Children from Marriage I:

No issue

Children from Marriage II:

Leopold Stanislaus Stokowski * 1950

Christopher Stokowski * 1952

Children from Marriage III:

No issue

Children from Marriage IV:

Carter Vanderbilt Cooper * 1965

Anderson Hayes Cooper * 03.06.1967

Vanderbilt, Gloria (Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt-Cooper)

Fashion designer. She was born 20th of february 1924 in New York City. Gloria achieved later notoriety for her four marriages, but considerable respect for her work as a painter, stage and film actress, author, and, after the late 1960s, designer of housewares and fashion.

Gloria Vanderbilt received her education at the Art Students League in New York City, studying drawing, anatomy and painting. She had her first one-woman exhibition of oil paintings at the Bertha Schaeffer Gallery in Manhattan in 1952. Retrospectives of her paintings, collages and pastels have been exhibited at the Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art, the Reading Museum and Art Gallery and the Tennessee Museum of Fine Arts. In 1969, she received the Neiman Marcus Fashion Award and was elected to the Fashion Hall of Fame. In the 1970s, Hallmark introduced her artwork to the commercial market by producing Gloria Vanderbilt Collections of paper products created from her paintings and collages. Miss Vanderbilt is the recipient of the Gold Medal of Merit from the National Society of Arts and Letters and the Talbot Perkins Children’s Services Mother of the Year Award. In 1979 she was awarded Brandeis University’s National Women’s Committee “Major Book Collection” award. She holds honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees from Moore College of Art in Philadelphia and the International Fine Arts College in Miami. In 1979 she was the recipient of the Silver Spirit of Life Award from the City of Hope in California. She received the Anti-Defamation League’s Woman of Achievement Award in 1981 and the National Arts Club Citation of Merit in 1982. Miss Vanderbilt has been a contributor to many magazines including Cosmopolitan and Woman’s Day. She is many times an author and in 1994 created the anniversary graphic design for the Northwood University 25th annual Distinguished Women’s celebration. This rose motif is featured once again, in this 30th anniversary biographic edition.

Gloria divorced DiCicco in 1945 and one day later married conductor Leopold Stokowski, a 63 year-old maestro who was forty-two years her senior. She also cut off her mother’s money as well but continued her grandmother Morgan’s yearly stipend. Gloria may not have been too well versed at the beginning of her inheritance but she learned fast. Gloria’s financial situation was certainly sounder than her second marriage. Five years with Stokowski and even with two children, things were not going well. In 1955, after ten years of marriage Gloria and Leopold Stokowski divorced in a bitter and acrimonious trial that rivaled the custody ordeal of 1934. In 1956, Gloria married again, this time to film director Sidney Lumet. Still trying to make a name for herself away from the albatross of her past, she acted. Gloria made her television debut in Noel Coward’s “Tonight at 8:30. During the marriages and divorces Gloria and her mother made attempts at a reconciliation of sorts. Senior Gloria and her twin sister lived together in New York, then Los Angeles. Mother and daughter would speak by phone or sometimes have lunch and they attempted a somewhat strained relationship. However, in 1965, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt passed away. Gloria wasn’t there as she was back home in New York, having just given birth to a son, Carter Vanderbilt Cooper. The year before, the Lumets divorced and Gloria, at age 40, married editor-writer Wyatt Emory Cooper. A gentleman from Mississippi, Cooper fully supported his wife’s earnest ambitions. He encouraged his wife to pursue her art. Having studied at the Art Student’s League in New York Gloria had several successful one-woman shows of her oil paintings. Happy in her role as wife, mother and artist, Gloria lived peacefully within the loving home she finally achieved.

In 1969 she was elected to the Fashion Hall of Fame. Her painting and designing also sprung forth a sense of individuality. She entered into commerce, which might have appalled her Vanderbilt ancestors who often considered themselves a rank above the working class. Adopting the swan as her professional symbol, Gloria Vanderbilt’s sense of fantasy could be seen on an entire line of products resulting in $3 million dollars in sales by 1976. From eyeglasses to linens to perfume, her name appeared on a myriad of goods from such companies as Hallmark. She remarked, “Sometimes I wonder, at fifty-two has success come too late? I needed it more in my 20’s and 30’s. Around 1979, the Murjani Corporation, which owned one of her apparel licenses, approached Gloria to design a line of jeans. Carefully overseeing the proper fit and design, Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans exploded onto the designer-jean craze that was going full tilt by the late 1970’s. Ms. Vanderbilt, already rich, earned another fortune from this endeavor. A court petition from that time shows she was paid $225,000 a year for the licensing agreement plus a percentage of net profits. An advertising campaign blitz and personal appearances ensured the gilded name of “Vanderbilt” appeared on the backsides of women across the country. While it may have been a period of excitement for Gloria, 1978 brought more tragedy into her life. Her beloved husband Wyatt Cooper died of a heart attack. Her good works as both a designer and a mother of two sons were recognized when she became the recipient of the Gold Medal of Merit from the National Society of Arts and Letters and the Talbot Perkins Children’s Services Mother of the Year Award.

In 1988 her 23 year-old-son Carter Cooper was visiting Gloria at her home in New York when completely out of the blue, the young man awoke from a fitful nap and ran to her terrace. He held fast to the railing and then, suddenly let go, falling to the ground fourteen stories. She returned to writing to tell her tale in "A Mother’s Story", to critical acclaim. In the midst of personal turmoil she found herself in the courts again, this time as a victim of fraud. Her psychiatrist and her lawyer, both of whom she trusted implicitly had bilked Ms. Vanderbilt out of $1.7 million in various phony tax shelters. She was found to have owed millions of dollars in back taxes and was forced to sell both her Southampton mansion as well as her home on New York’s Upper East Side. Currently, she is living with her son, Anderson Cooper, a network news correspondent, in his New York apartment.

At 78, for Gloria Vanderbilt, triumph ahead means weathering any circumstance, still smiling.

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Gloria Laura Vanderbilt's Timeline

February 20, 1924
New York, NY, USA
January 27, 1965
Age 40
New York, NY, USA