Gloria Vanderbilt Dies At 95

June 17, 2019

Credit: Astrid Stawiarz / Stringer / Getty Images Entertainment

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Fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt passed away Monday morning at the age of 95. The woman whose design made designer jeans chic in the 1980s was surrounded by family and friends. Diagnosed with stomach cancer, she went out as she wanted. In a statement released by her son, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper said, "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."

She was born in New York City in 1924, but grew up in France. Dubbed "the poor little rich girl" after her father died when she was a baby, Gloria was at the center an intense custody battle between her mother and her wealthy aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Her aunt eventually won the right to raise her, and Gloria did her best to avoid the spotlight of the reporters and photographers that constantly folliowed her every move.

Cooper said of his mom, "She was determined to make something of her life, determined to make a name for herself, and find the love she so desperately needed."

When she was just 17, she married Hollywood agent Pat DiCicco in 1941. At 21, she took control of a $4.3 million trust fund her father had left her. She divorced DiCicco two months later and quickly remarried. Conductor Leopold Stokowski, was 63 at the time, and she had known him for less than a month. She married two more times after that.

Eventually, Vanderbilt developed her own creative drive and earned her own income. She once said, "If you have to really work for it, when you do achieve it, even though it really takes longer, it means more."