Sad Story behind the Death of Anderson Cooper's Father Wyatt Emory

The CNN anchor’s father passed away when the former was very young, leaving a profound impact in his son’s life. Now a famous broadcaster, he often pays tribute to the late actor and author.

The death of his mother Gloria Vanderbilt on June 17, aged 95, made 52-year-old Anderson Cooper the only surviving member of his immediate family, after losing both his father and brother to early deaths that deeply affected the CNN anchor.

Wyatt E. Cooper, his father, died when Anderson was just 10 during open-heart surgery, at the early age of 50, something that left his son with an irreparable sense of loss that shaped his character.

SHAPED BY LOSS

“Loss changes you. Particularly when you lose a parent at a young age. The world suddenly seems a much different place. More dangerous,” said in a 2016 CNN segment called “The Person Who Changed My Life.”

“The person I was before my father’s death, the person I was meant to be was far more open, more interesting than the person I’ve become,” the “Anderson Cooper 360°” host continued.

“And, I think it’s still hard to believe it’s been so long because I think it’s still so present in our lives, that sense of loss.”

As much as this terrible loss hurt him, Anderson also acknowledges that it ended up giving him the strength to face the world by himself. “I wish it wasn’t so. But the self-reliance I learned has also served me well,” he stated.

Nevertheless, Anderson thanks the years he got to spend with this father, and the love and guidance of his mother until recently, for giving him the foundation to be the man he grew up to be.

“When you grow up secure in the love of a parent, it gives you a foundation that can carry you through all sorts of events in your life. That feeling of security and confidence, I still carry that with me today,” he shared.

WYATT EMORY COOPER

Wyatt was an actor, author and screenwriter who famously co-wrote the 1962 film “The Chapman Report,” starring Jane Fonda. He also collaborated with acclaimed writer Truman Capote in the TV movie script “The Glass House,” aired in 1972.

He was the fourth husband of heiress Vanderbilt, marrying her in 1963. They went on to spend 15 years together, until Wyatt’s passing. She never married again.

ANOTHER DEVASTATING LOSS

Ten years after Wyatt died, tragedy struck the family once again when Anderson’s 23-year-old brother Carter took his own life by jumping from his mother’s 14th-story apartment.

In 2016, Vanderbilt shared that 28 years after the devastating loss of her son she didn’t think that she was  to ever come to a closure regarding Carter’s suicide.

“The most terrible word in the English language, ‘closure,’” Vanderbilt said back then.  “It doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing,” Cooper agreed.

IT BROUGHT ANDERSON AND HIS MOTHER CLOSER

Their two painful losses made the bond between Vanderbilt and Anderson much stronger and the two were never too far from each other until Vanderbilt passed away from stomach cancer.

“I think it obviously brought us together in ways and I think you can’t help but come closer going through something like that, and, you know, it left us with each other,” Anderson went on to say in his 2016 joint interview with Vanderbilt.

“And, I think it’s still hard to believe it’s been so long because I think it’s still so present in our lives, that sense of loss,” he added.

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