Anderson Cooper paid tribute to his late mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, in an emotional video and tearful eulogy calling her “an extraordinary woman who loved life and lived it on her own terms.”
After his mother’s demise, CNN’s Anderson Cooper conveyed an emotional eulogy for Gloria Vanderbilt who died on Monday morning at the age of 95. The tribute showed a compilation of Vanderbilt’s younger years, up until her final days on a hospital bed, laughing.
"Her private self, her real self -- that was more fascinating and more lovely than anything she showed the public,” Cooper said in his eulogy. “I always thought of her as a visitor from another world, a traveler stranded here who’d come from a distant star that’d burned out long ago. I always felt it was my job to protect her.”
Vanderbilt was an heiress to the Vanderbilt family, one of the wealthiest clans in American history. During the Great Depression, her father died causing a dramatic custody battle between her biological mother and her paternal aunt.
She later pursued a career in acting, painting, and modeling, and became a fashion icon. The multi-talented woman also wrote novels and books, including a co-authored one with her son, Cooper, called “The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss.
“She was the strongest person I’ve ever met, but she wasn’t tough. She never developed a thick skin to protect herself from hurt. She wanted to feel it all. She wanted to feel life’s pleasures, its pains as well,” Cooper said.
Vanderbilt married four times, with her last marriage being with the love of her life, Wyatt Cooper. The two remained married until Cooper’s demise from a heart attack at 50 years old.
“We had the family life that I’d always wanted,” Vanderbilt said. ‘He made me understand what it would have been like to have had a father – he was a most amazing father. I’d never experienced anything like it.”
Despite being wealthy, Vanderbilt and Wyatt raised their son to be hardworking and determined. At a young age, they told him that he would not receive any inheritance, which became a driving force for Cooper to make a living for himself.
Many years later, Cooper was able to build his name and have a multi-million dollar paying job. He remains grateful for his parents’ style in raising him, which turned out to be very effective.