Gloria Vanderbilt, who died Monday at 95, was born to the 1 percent of the 1 percent — then dealt a bitter childhood, over which she triumphed like the best of New York City.
She kept her class to the end: “When the doctor told her she had [very advanced stomach] cancer, she was silent for a while. And then said, ‘Well, it’s like that old song, “Show Me the Way to Get Out of This World.” Because that’s where everything is,’ ” her son Anderson Cooper recalled in his CNN tribute. “She was ready to go.”
Heir to a vast fortune, she became the prize in a long and bitter court battle at age 10, as her paternal aunt eventually won custody from her mother — then fired the nanny who was the only adult the little girl had ever really bonded with.
She’d go on to four marriages, the first at 17, and a host of Hollywood dalliances, dating the likes of Errol Flynn, Marlon Brando, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.
Yet Vanderbilt also found her own business success, building a $100 million fashion empire, starting with her designer jeans and iconic swan logo.
Indeed, she was for decades an icon in her own right: strong yet graceful; tycoon and queen of society — in all, a classic New Yorker.
May she rest in peace.
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