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What to know about pioneering design icon Gloria Vanderbilt — including her famous son

Gloria Vanderbilt, heiress and fashion designer, dies at age 95

Gloria Vanderbilt's life was was chronicled from childhood during a famed custody battle, to adulthood where she worked in the spotlight as a model, fashion designer and briefly as an actress. She passed away in her home on June 17, 2019 at age 95.
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Gloria Vanderbilt's life was was chronicled from childhood during a famed custody battle, to adulthood where she worked in the spotlight as a model, fashion designer and briefly as an actress. She passed away in her home on June 17, 2019 at age 95.

Gloria Vanderbilt, an heiress, socialite, fashion designer, author and mother to CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, has died at age 95, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

She died of stomach cancer Monday at her home, the publication reported.

Born in 1924, Vanderbilt found early fame as an actress and model before moving into fashion design and later writing several books.

What were her accomplishments?

After a brief acting career, Vanderbilt became an accomplished painter, USA Today reported. In the 1970s, she moved into fashion design, starting with scarves but then creating her signature tight-fitting designer jeans.

Boosted by their success, Vanderbilt produced an entire fashion line that included apparel, perfume, linens, shoes, leather goods and liqueurs, according to the publication.

Later in life she penned several memoirs and other books.

How did she first become famous?

Vanderbilt, born in 1924, was the subject of a famed custody battle between her mother and aunt at age 10 after she inherited a $5 million trust fund, which today would be worth about $70 million, Encyclopedia.com reported.

Her great-great-grandfather, Cornelius Vanderbilt was an early railroad and shipping tycoon who left an estate valued at $100 million, but by the time Gloria Vanderbilt was born much of the family’s fortune had been lost, CNBC reported.

The sensational custody battle over Vanderbilt, eventually resolved in her aunt’s favor as a result of her mother’s globe-trotting socialite lifestyle, led to her being dubbed the “poor little rich girl,” according to the network.

Who are her children?

Vanderbilt was married four times, including to conductor Leopold Stokowski and film director Sidney Lumet, and had four sons, the most famous of whom, Anderson Cooper, now serves as a CNN anchor, The Washington Post reported.

“Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived it on her own terms,” Cooper said in a statement after her death, CNN reported. “She was a painter, a writer and designer but also a remarkable mother, wife, and friend.

“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,” Cooper said.

What was her net worth?

Vanderbilt, a pioneer of designer jeans with her own line of clothing, perfume and home goods, had an estimated net worth of $200 million, according to CelebrityNetWorth.com.

Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
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