Gloria Laura Vanderbilt is a famous American artist, fashion model turned designer, actress, socialite and author. She is a famous heiress belonging to the Vanderbilt family of New York. Vanderbilt came into the limelight in the 1930’s when she became the subject of the high-profile trial of her custody as a child, between her mother Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt and her father’s sister Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, both of whom sought the custody of a young Vanderbilt along with control of her trust fund of $5 Million. Owing to the family’s wealth and notoriety, this “trial of the century” saw her aunt accuse her mother of being an unfit parent.
As an adult, Vanderbilt gained famed for her career as a fashion designer, creating several apparel lines and launching household goods and perfumes bearing her name. She became famous for being one of the earliest designers of the blue jeans. Vanderbilt acted in a few films and television shows and acted in a few theatricals. As an author, she has penned 4 volumes of her memoirs and has written three novels, while also contributing articles to Vanity Fair, The New York Times and Elle.
Early Life and Education
Vanderbilt was born in Manhattan, New York City, on 20 February 1924 as the only child of Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt, a railroad heir and Gloria Morgan, his second wife. When she was just a year and a half old, Vanderbilt lost her father to cirrhosis. She had a half-sister named Cathleen Vanderbilt from her father’s marriage to Cathleen Neilson. Vanderbilt was raised as a Catholic. Her paternal aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney filed a lawsuit against her mother for overspending the young girl’s fortune. Her aunt won her custody and her mother was only allowed closely monitored visitation.
Vanderbilt studied at different schools including Greenvale School, Long Island, Miss Porter’s School, Farmington, Connecticut and Wheeler School, Providence, Rhode Island. She attended New York City’s Art Students League which shaped her adult career. As an adult, Vanderbilt became the sole controller of her trust fund, cutting off her mother entirely, but severed ties with her, even lending support to her in her later years.
Gloria Vanderbilt – Young Pictures
Vanderbilt gained recognition as an artist and held exhibitions of her shows featuring pastels, water-colours and oil paintings. Hallmark Cards, and Bloomcraft textiles licensed and adapted her art work in 1986. She also designed linens, glassware and pottery for the later. Vanderbilt had a decade long career as an actor, making her stage debut with ‘The Swan’. She made appearances on a few TV films and TV shows including ‘Studio One in Hollywood’, ‘Playhouse 90’, ‘The Dick Powell Show’, and even appeared as a guest on shows like ‘he Oprah Winfrey Show’, ‘Person to Person with Edward R. Murrow’, ‘Live! with Kelly and Michael’ etc.
Vanderbilt ventured into fashion modelling at a young age and appeared in Harper’s Bazaar Magazine at age 17 as the face of her won fragrances and clothing line and most notably inspired photographer Richard Avedon, among others. She started her career in the business of fashion in the 1970’s by collaborating with Gelntex to license her named or their scarves lines. She launched her designer jeans in association with Indian designer Mohan Murjani in 1976, which first bore her swan logo on the back pockets. The Logo became her trademark for all produced she launched in future including dress, perfumes, accessories, shoes, sheets etc. After selling the rights name in 1978 to Murjani Group, Vanderbilt launched “GV Ltd” and between 1982 to 2002, 8 perfumes were launched by L’Oreal under ‘Gloria Vanderbilt’, her brand name.
Gloria Vanderbilt – Husband and Children
Vanderbilt has been married four times.. At age 17, Vanderbilt married alleged mobster and acting agent Pat DiCicco in 1941 and divorced him in 1945 alleging domestic abuse. The couple did not have any children together. Vanderbilt’s second marriage was to conductor Leopold Stokowski in April 1945 and lasted until October 1955.
The marriage produced two sons; Leopold Stanislaus Stokowski and Christopher Stokowski. Vanderbilt married director Sidney Lumet in August 1956. The union did not bear any children and the couple divorced in mid-1963.
Her final marriage was with author Wyatt Emory Cooper in December 1963. The couple became parents to sons Carter Vanderbilt Cooper and CNN anchor Anderson Hays Cooper. While her husband died in 1978, her elder son, Carter committed suicide at age 23.
Vanderbilt has also been linked to Gordon Parks, Frank Sinatra, Roald Dahl, Marlon Brando and Howard Hughes.
Gloria Vanderbilt – Net Worth
Vanderbilt has an estimated net worth of approximately $200 Million.