Fashion icon and artist Gloria Vanderbilt dies at 95

Fashion icon and artist Gloria Vanderbilt dies at 95

The focus of media attention at a young age and the subject of an intense and vicious custody battle between her mother and her father's wealthy sister, Vanderbilt ended up in the arms of her aunt Gertrude.

Vanderbilt passed away Monday morning from stomach cancer, according to a report published by The Hollywood Reporter. She was also a writer and visual artist, and a headline-maker nearly from her birth.

Vanderbilt went on to became an actress, painter, model and acclaimed fashion designer of hip-hugging jeans in the 1970s.

As the beneficiary of a multimillion-dollar trust fund, Vanderbilt became widely known as the "poor little rich girl" in 1934 because of a high-profile custody fight between her mother and her aunt in NY.

Although her life was played out on a public stage from the outset, her fame spiked in the late 1970s when she teamed with apparel-maker and entrepreneur Mohan Murjani to pioneer designer jeans for women that carried her signature on the rear pockets. You might recall her famous trademark on those Vanderbilt jeans you wore was a swan.


In 1976, Vanderbilt began the venture that would make her a household name for a new generation.

Her husbands included Leopold Stokowski, the celebrated conductor, and Sidney Lumet, the award-winning movie and television director.

The HBO documentary "Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper" detailed Vanderbilt's colorful life, delving into her personal relationships as well as her public persona. Vanderbilt partnered with Mohan Murjani, who introduced a $1 million advertising campaign in 1978 that turned the Gloria Vanderbilt brand into a sensation.

"Love is really what it's all about, and it's all that we really have in the world and what's important", she said.

The CNN anchor added that, when he found out his mother was ill, she told him: 'It's like that old song: Show me the way to get out of this world, because that's where everything is'. I always felt it was my job to try to protect her.


"She was always in love - in love with men or with friends or books and art, in love with her children and her grandchildren and then her great-grandchildren", Cooper said. "Even at 92 she believes the next great love is right around the corner, the next great adventure". Her father, financier Reginald Vanderbilt, the heir to a railroad fortune, died when she was a baby.

"When the end came she was not alone", Cooper said.

"We know she had a fondness for Wheeler". She died at home with friends and family by her side.

"I've had many, many loves", Vanderbilt told The Associated Press in a 2004 interview. I didn't know what it meant.

In the clip, Gloria said he was 63 years old when she first met Stokowski. "But she was ready - she was ready to go". She said the connection was instant, that she knew him for a week and married him three weeks later. "What an incredible woman", Cooper said.


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