As one of the descendants of the one time vastly wealthy Vanderbilt family, Gloria Vanderbilt probably left her heirs a decent sum of money.
Gloria Vanderbilt left the majority of her money to her son Anderson Cooper. While it was rumored that her fortune was an estimated $200 million, the real sum was less than $1.5 million. She also left her eldest son, Leopold Stokowski, her Manhattan apartment. Nothing was left to her estranged youngest son, Christopher Stokowski.
Scroll down to read more about Gloria Vanderbilt’s rumored fortune, her four sons, and Anderson Cooper’s take on inheritance.
Gloria Vanderbilt’s Fortune
Many people these days assume that being born into the Vanderbilt family equals having access to a vast fortune. In reality, the Vanderbilt fortune has dwindled away to nothing since the death of Cornelius Vanderbilt.
Gloria Vanderbilt was the youngest of two daughters born to Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt whose great-grandfather was Cornelius. Due to the empire that Cornelius made, his descendants were left a vast fortune and have often been referred to as the original American Royalty.
Of course, if not raised properly, a child born into a large sum of money can have a skewed view of how to manage it. This was the case with the inherited Vanderbilts.
Even the Commodore once said, “Any fool can make a fortune; it takes a man of brains to hold onto it.”
In his book, Fortune’s Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt, Arthur T. Vanderbilt II, speaks of Gloria Vanderbilt’s father stating that he was a gambler and a playboy. He squandered most of his fortune.
However, Gloria was left with a huge trust fund when he passed away in 1925 from cirrhosis of the liver from alcoholism. At only eighteen months old she was an heiress to half of a $5 million dollar trust fund.
That would be equal to an inheritance of $75 million dollars today.
The vast sum of money ended up resulting in a massive custody battle between Gloria’s mother and her paternal aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Whitney said that Gloria’s mother, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, was unfit to take care of her.
In the end, Gertrude won the battle, and Gloria was sent to live with her aunt on Long Island. This was for the best because her mother was squandering spending the inheritance by frequently traveling to Europe.
Gloria was ‘stashed’ by her aunt and pretty much raised by nanny’s her entire childhood. She lacked any emotional connection with a parent so she found a connection through other people.
Gloria Vanderbilt ended up marrying four different men throughout her life and having four sons total. One of those sons is the famous CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.
Her eldest son is Leopold Stanislaus Stokowski followed by Christopher Stokowski. They were from her second marriage to Leopold Stokowski.
Gloria’s third marriage was to Sidney Lumet and produced no children. Then when she married Wyatt Emory Cooper, she gave birth to Carter Vanderbilt Cooper and then Anderson Cooper.
You can watch Anderson Cooper’s tribute to Gloria Vanderbilt in the below video from CNN.
Carter committed suicide in 1988 by jumping from the 14th floor of the family’s apartment. It is thought that the medication he was taking caused a psychotic episode.
Gloria appears to have become estranged from her second eldest son, Christopher, around 1978 due to an incident with Gloria’s therapist. However, there have been reports that the two had met before her death in 2019.
Anderson Cooper’s Take on Inheritance
As mentioned above, most of the Vanderbilt fortune was squandered away by the time Gloria was born. Even with her ventures into art, fashion, and writing, she passed away with not much to bequeath on her sons.
As was reported in this Town & Country article, Anderson Cooper inherited the majority of her estate valued at around $1.5 million. With Leopold getting the Manhattan apartment and Chris being left nothing.
Gloria was closest to Anderson who had a negative stance on inheritance. In a 2014 interview with Howard Stern, he was asked why he shouldn’t inherit money as his mother did.
Cooper responded with this “I think it’s a curse. Who’s inherited a lot of money that has gone on to do things in their own life? From the time I was growing up, if I felt like there was some pot of gold waiting for me, I don’t know that I would have been so motivated.”
Maybe more people should think about inheritance the way Anderson Cooper does.