Actress, artist, author, designer, and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt has died aged 95.
The philanthropist who, for many Americans, may be best remembered for her slim blue jeans and household good lines, reportedly died of cancer.
Her son, Anderson Cooper, announced this morning (17 June) her death in a moving tribute.
What did he say?
Airing an obituary on American news network CNN, Cooper revealed his mother had cancer.
‘Earlier this month, we had to take her to the hospital. That’s where she learned she had very advanced cancer in her stomach, and that it had spread,’ Cooper said.
‘She was a painter, a writer and designer but also a remarkable mother, wife, and friend.
‘She was 95 years old, but ask anyone close to her, and they’d tell you: She was the youngest person they knew – the coolest and most modern.’
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.’
According to Cooper, she died at home with her friends and family at her side.
Who was Glorida Vanderbilt?
Vanderbilt was born in New York City in 1924 to Reginald Vanderbilt and his second wife, Gloria Morgan.
Growing up in France, her father died when she was a baby, leaving her as the sole heir to a railroad fortune of $5 million.
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.
While her early years were of custody court battles, her later years were filled with marriages and business ventures. She studied acting and art, before thrusting into the tabloids as a fashion model.
By the 80s, she was a household name. Shelves of perfume and household goods baring her name, while her blue jeans bolstered her into the fashion history books, as one of the first designers to push the garment.
Vanderbilt had a big fan in the form of Paul McCartney, who wrote a song loosely inspired by her; Mrs. Vanderbilt.