Gloria Vanderbilt, heiress, fashion designer, dies at 95

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Vanderbilt built a career as an artist, fashion designer, actress and socialite.

Cooper confirmed said Vanderbilt died at home with friends and family at her side.

Gloria's aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, who founded the Whitney Museum of American Art, said Gloria's mother was misusing the trust fund on a free-wheeling lifestyle that included a female lover, and went to court.

"Over the course of her life, my mom was photographed by all the great photographers, she worked as a painter, a writer, an actress, and designer. 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".

Vanderbilt was the only daughter of railroad magnate Reginald Vanderbilt and his second wife. He left around $100 million (all figures US) when he died in 1877 at age 82.

Vanderbilt had been suffering from advanced stomach cancer when she died. At 17, against her aunt's wishes, she got married. Cooper said that was when he realized they had the same giggle.

She then applied herself to acting, appearing in television dramas such as "Playhouse 90" and on Broadway in William Saroyan's "The Time of Your Life".

"The last few weeks, every time I kissed her goodbye, I'd say, 'I love you, Mom.' She would look at me and say, 'I love you, too". She was surrounded by beauty, and by family, and by friends. A series of her paintings was licensed by Hallmark Cards and textile manufacturer Bloomcraft in the 1960s and '70s, and she soon began designing her own commercial products including textiles and dinnerware. She had two sons with Stokowski: Leopold Stokowski was born in 1950, and Christopher Stokowski in 1952.

Later, she made a joke, and we started giggling.

She also continued writing, eventually producing a number of memoirs, novels, and nonfiction books on design. She was ready to go.

The two married in 1956.

Gloria told her son in an interview that she thinks the next great love is right around the corner.

Vanderbilt married her first husband, agent and movie producer Pat DiCicco, in Beverly Hills, Calif., in 1941. Each pair featured Vanderbilt's signature on the back pocket, along with her swan logo.

In her adult life, Vanderbilt launched a series of fashion, perfume and home items in her name.

In 1988, in the greatest tragedy of Vanderbilt's life, Carter, aged 23, killed himself by jumping from the family's 14th-floor apartment in NY, in spite of his mother's attempts to stop him. Carter had suffered with depression.

The Wheeler School in Providence has weighed in on the passing of one its most famous students - Gloria Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt won a $1.5 million judgment in 1993 against her lawyer and psychiatrist, claiming they had stolen from her.

Cooper's voice can be heard throughout the seven-minute-long video, detailing his mother's life from birth to death. Her final and longest-lasting marriage was to author Wyatt Cooper, who preceded her in death in 1978.

Sex, Vanderbilt said, was a subject she found endlessly fascinating.

"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.

"She spent a lot of time alone in her head during her life, but when the end came, she was not alone", he said. She was 85 when the latter made its way to bookstores.

"What an extraordinary life".

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