Thursday, November 4, 2010

The World of Gloria Vanderbilt

The new biography of Gloria Vanderbilt, “The World of Gloria Vanderbilt,” written by Wendy Goodman is out. What a fascinating woman Ms. Vanderbilt is and an incredible life she has led, both with plenty of good and bad throughout. Now in her mid-80s, Gloria Vanderbilt has left quite a legacy, yet it’s probably her son, Anderson Cooper, who is more well-known these days.

David Patrick Columbia of the New York Social Diary recounted his first meeting with Ms. Vanderbilt almost 20 years ago:

“She’s the only celebrity I’ve ever met – and I’ve met scores, even hundreds – whose charisma remains large and intact at all times. This is not an act of pretense but rather just the magic of the woman’s personality. Furthermore she’s a beauty, and although age has made its transformations as it does with all of us, with Gloria, you get the feeling that (aside from a little help from her professional “advisers”) that age transforms with her. “That subtle charm that makes young farmers desert the farm,” to borrow from another Cole Porter tune, is hers.”

Fifteen-year-old Gloria Vanderbilt is featured in Harper's Bazarre.

This photograph features a baby Gloria with her mother, Gloria Mercedes Morgan Vanderbilt and her father, Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt. Her father was in his early forties when he married the teenage Gloria Mercedes Morgan. Mr. Vanderbilt died the year after baby Gloria was born.

I recall watching a miniseries about the life of Ms. Vanderbilt – the custody battle between her mother and her aunt; growing up as one of the wealthiest children in the world; multiple husbands, her designer-jean empire and the list goes on and on. Like any good soap opera, I was drawn to the screen. Yet, this was a true story.

Gloria with her third husband, director Sidney Lumet, at the Cannes Film Festival in 1962. 

Goodman’s biography has the stamp of approval from Vanderbilt herself, and the forward is written by Cooper:

When you have lost, as a child, a father, a mother; when you are raised with the terrible knowledge that nothing is what it seems, and nothing can protect you, you come to understand that anything is possible, anything can happen. Great pain, great pleasure. There is no safety in guarantees.”

My mother learned that lesson early on ...

Gloria lounging with her fourth husband, Wyatt Cooper, father of sons Anderson and Carter.

The book’s art design is by Chip Kidd, probably best known for his work on “True Prep” with Lisa Birnbach. Having received good reviews in the literary world, I may have to add this biography to my Christmas wish list.
Images from The New York Social Diary and Amazon


Teresa at Splendid Sass said...

I was so touched by the story in Veranda this month. Some lady, I must admit!
Thanks for sharing. I am very interested in her life and work, and I admire her son, Anderson Cooper.
Have a nice day.

Lily Lemontree said...

I have always been intrigued by her story, I must get my hands on this book!

Tiffany from HOLIDAY said...

I used to live right around the corner from her NY apartment. I'd love to read this book as well. Loved the spread in Town & Country.

bevy said...

Whenever I hear her name, I STILL think of that little swan on her jeans!

It does sound like a delicious read!

High Heeled Life said...

She is remarkable... this book sounds like not only a fantastic read , but one that will be inspiring... HHL

Farmchick said...

What an intersting life. I have read some about her life and have always thought her to be so glamorous.

sara said...

Thanks to you, I think I've found my next Kindle download!

EntertainingMom said...

I hadn't realized she was married to Sidney Lumet. The Vanderbilt family is fascinating.

Joni Llanora said...

Thanks for sharing. It is always fascinating to discover more about someone through a book. Will put this down on my reading list.

kayce hughes said...

I am adding it to mine as well!


Hello from Paris, en France,
the first picture ever I saw of Gloria Vanderbilt was on the now famous one by Horst P.Horst, when she was at the pick of her beauty and glamour,she mesmerized me as a teenage boy, no one could say at this time I was to meet her several years later in my twenties as a "fresh" fashion designer who would be presented to her by 7th Ave mogul Mr.Ben Shaw. She looked striking, opened me her door to her apartment at United Nation Plaza herself, was divine, facile and charming...She, as many true beauties, look far better if possible in person than on pictures, the moment we spent was unforgettable for a 20 years old french boy, thanks America for those great amazing character women, Roberto Fabris.