CNN's Anderson Cooper remembers mom Gloria Vanderbilt as visitor from 'distant star'

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He said he still giggles every time he watches that video.

"Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived it on her own terms".

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper has announced the death of his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, paying an emotional on-air tribute to her.

"We know she had a fondness for Wheeler. There were paintings she wanted to make, more books she wanted to read, more dreams to dream", said Cooper. Instead of a nunnery, she went on to a life that could have provided storylines for dozens of soap operas, romance novels, Broadway musicals and tear-jerker movies.

Portions also were taken from an HBO documentary "Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper". Married four times - with director Sidney Lumet being her third husband - Vanderbilt had sons Stan and Christoper Stokowski from her marriage to second husband Leopold Stokowski as well as Carter and Anderson Cooper from her fourth marriage to actor Wyatt Emory Cooper.

The custody battle featured high-society character witnesses for both sides and testimony so sensitive that courtroom spectators were barred at times.

"Cynthia, her name was, and she came once to visit my aunt in NY on holiday".

His mother "trusted too freely, too completely" but always pressed on, Cooper said, and always believed that the next true love was just around the corner. "I always felt it was my job to protect her". She wanted to live with Whitney, and that was how the case was decided. "The Real" co-host recalled how she had worked to save up money to buy a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans. She had to sell her five-story townhouse in NY and seven-bedroom home in Southampton on Long Island to pay $2.5 million in back taxes she believed Andrews had handled.

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Under her aunt's guidance, Gloria attended elite academies, including Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut, as well as the Art Students League in New York City.

Vanderbilt is the great-great-granddaughter of the 19th century railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. Her social companions included designers Bill Blass and Diane von Fürstenberg and the writer Truman Capote.

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

In an interview with The New York Times, she said she wasn't embarrassed about the explicitness of her new book, saying: "I don't think age has anything to do with what you write about".

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

"There was a moment when I thought I was going to jump after him but then I thought of you ... and it stopped me from doing that", she told Anderson. "And, in the end, what greater gift can a mother give to her son?"

When Cooper questioned why she first married a 32-year-old Hollywood figure, Vanderbilt told him, "Sweetheart, I was only 17". "What an extraordinary life, what an extraordinary mum, and what an incredible woman".

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