Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Gloria Vanderbilt (1924-2019)


TopBilled
 Share

Recommended Posts

I just read that Gloria Vanderbilt died today at her home in Manhattan. She had been diagnosed with cancer earlier this month.

She was 95. She is survived by her sons Leopold (Stan), Christopher and Anderson. Another son, Carter, predeceased her in 1988.

Anderson Cooper helped cohost the Journalism in the Movies series on TCM not long ago.

Here's the obituary that appeared in the New York Times today:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/17/style/gloria-vanderbilt-death-dead.html

  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't know a ton about her, but doing some reading tonight, I see she led a really interesting life. Her zillionaire father died when she was only a year old, and by the time she was five, her mother and her father's sister were in a custody battle over guardianship rights to both her and her massive trust fund he'd set up for her. This incident was depicted in the 1982 TV mini-series Little Gloria ... Happy at Last.

She did a bit of TV acting in the '50s, which was probably still recorded in her NYC home at the time. I don't see that she was ever in any theatrical films, which probably would have required relocating to California. Her various boyfriends included Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Roald Dahl and Howard Hughes. And her four husbands included Sidney Lumet and Leopold Stowkowski. While she never remarried after the death of Anderson Cooper's father Wyatt, she was in a relationship for about a quarter of a century with African-American filmmaker/photographer/writer Gordon Parks, who  died in 2006. 

Cooper's older brother Carter jumped out of the family apartment on the 14th floor in 1988. Gloria witnessed the event firsthand, but was unable to stop him. Gloria and Anderson co-wrote a book on coping with suicide within a family just three years ago.

 

  • Thanks 2
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

I didn't know a ton about her, but doing some reading tonight, I see she led a really interesting life. Her zillionaire father died when she was only a year old, and by the time she was five, her mother and her father's sister were in a custody battle over guardianship rights to both her and her massive trust fund he'd set up for her. This incident was depicted in the 1982 TV mini-series Little Gloria ... Happy at Last.

She did a bit of TV acting in the '50s, which was probably still recorded in her NYC home at the time. I don't see that she was ever in any theatrical films, which probably would have required relocating to California. Her various boyfriends included Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Roald Dahl and Howard Hughes. And her four husbands included Sidney Lumet and Leopold Stowkowski. While she never remarried after the death of Anderson Cooper's father Wyatt, she was in a relationship for about a quarter of a century with African-American filmmaker/photographer/writer Gordon Parks, who  died in 2006. 

Cooper's older brother Carter jumped out of the family apartment on the 14th floor in 1988. Gloria witnessed the event firsthand, but was unable to stop him. Gloria and Anderson co-wrote a book on coping with suicide within a family just three years ago.

Thanks for posting this. I checked and both parts of the 1982 miniseries are on YouTube. It's a total of three hours, one of those big scale TV productions that were popular at the time. Angela Lansbury plays the aunt in the custody battle, and Bette Davis plays Angela's mother! So that casting in itself makes the film worth watching.

Anderson also wrote about Carter's death in his book Dispatches from the Edge (2006). He goes over life changing experiences he had, many of them related to his career, but there's a chapter devoted to Carter. I highly recommend it, since it was rather insightful.

I think Gloria did live in California in the early 1940s, during her first marriage. But mostly, she spent her life in America on the east coast.

  • Thanks 1
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, NipkowDisc said:

anderson cooper will insist that cnn shower as much attention on her as anthony bourdain.

:lol:

 

Anderson doesn't have to insist. His mother was one of the most celebrated and talked about human beings of the 20th century. My mother used to give me Gloria Vanderbilt perfume for Christmas.

Gloria was born a celebrity but she became a famous business woman--successful and popular in her own right.

One of her husbands was the famous director Sidney Lumet. After he and Gloria divorced, he married Lena Horne's daughter.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Top Billed's link says Gloria was the inspiration for Truman Capote's, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" but I had always heard that was Carol Grace, Walter Matthau's wife, whose life fits Holly's more closely.  Interestingly, this link about Carol says, she, Gloria Vanderbilt and Oona Chapman were all three best friends who partied together constantly when they were all young.  I wish someone would make a movie about the three of them together during their wild years of dating movie stars and living those champagne lifestyles.  

https://people.com/archive/carol-matthau-vol-38-no-7/

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember seeing "Little Gloria....Happy at Last" when it was first broadcast.

If you can view it, I highly recommend it...what a cast and great acting all around: Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury, Christopher Plummer, Glynis Johns, Maureen Stapleton and especially Lucy Gutteridge as Gloria's mother.  She got great reviews for this role, but did very little after.

By the way, almost every news cast I heard last night and this morning referenced Gloria as "Poor Little Rich Girl", but I associate that appellation more with Barbara Hutton; there was a biography with that title.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 minutes ago, AndreaDoria said:

Top Billed's link says Gloria was the inspiration for Truman Capote's, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" but I had always heard that was Carol Grace, Walter Matthau's wife, whose life fits Holly's more closely.  Interestingly, this link about Carol says, she, Gloria Vanderbilt and Oona Chapman were all three best friends who partied together constantly when they were all young.  I wish someone would make a movie about the three of them together during their wild years of dating movie stars and living those champagne lifestyles.  

https://people.com/archive/carol-matthau-vol-38-no-7/

Yes, I also had heard Carol Saroyan/Matthau was the inspiration along with another woman (who I've forgotten now).

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, RoyCronin said:

I remember seeing "Little Gloria....Happy at Last" when it was first broadcast.

If you can view it, I highly recommend it...what a cast and great acting all around: Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury, Christopher Plummer, Glynis Johns, Maureen Stapleton and especially Lucy Gutteridge as Gloria's mother.  She got great reviews for this role, but did very little after.

By the way, almost every news cast I heard last night and this morning referenced Gloria as "Poor Little Rich Girl", but I associate that appellation more with Barbara Hutton; there was a biography with that title.

I think the term was first applied to Gloria by newspaper columnists covering her custody trial in 1934. 

But Barbara Hutton wasn't the only other person this label was applied to, as we can see by the following poster:

screen-shot-2019-06-18-at-11.39.01-am.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, RoyCronin said:

I remember seeing "Little Gloria....Happy at Last" when it was first broadcast.

If you can view it, I highly recommend it...what a cast and great acting all around: Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury, Christopher Plummer, Glynis Johns, Maureen Stapleton and especially Lucy Gutteridge as Gloria's mother.  She got great reviews for this role, but did very little after.

By the way, almost every news cast I heard last night and this morning referenced Gloria as "Poor Little Rich Girl", but I associate that appellation more with Barbara Hutton; there was a biography with that title.

Yes, as much as I love Angela Lansbury, she didn't deserve an Emmy nomination for the film, Lucy did. The book is much better as it goes into a lot more detail about the case. Just a sad story from every angle. Money wins out.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, AndreaDoria said:

Top Billed's link says Gloria was the inspiration for Truman Capote's, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" but I had always heard that was Carol Grace, Walter Matthau's wife, whose life fits Holly's more closely.  Interestingly, this link about Carol says, she, Gloria Vanderbilt and Oona Chapman were all three best friends who partied together constantly when they were all young.  I wish someone would make a movie about the three of them together during their wild years of dating movie stars and living those champagne lifestyles.  

https://people.com/archive/carol-matthau-vol-38-no-7/

I'd always heard it was a combination of a number of women. One of those women was Truman Capote's mother.

Another one that can be documented is Joan McCracken. Joan was a famous American dancer who was the lead dancer in the original production of "Oklahoma!" on Broadway.

Her first husband was Jack Dunphy. After their divorce, Jack became a longtime partner of Truman Capote's. The scene where Holly Golightly gets the news about her brother's death and she goes Haywire was copied directly from the life of Joan McCracken.

Joan was a one in a million dancer and you can actually see her in a  MGM movie starring June Allyson and Peter Lawford called "Good News". 

Joan's next husband was Bob Fosse and she was responsible for him becoming a choreographer.

 Her biography was written by Lisa Jo Sagolla and it's called "The Girl Who Fell Down" after her performance in "Oklahoma!" It's an academic footnoted biography with references.

 One primary reference that I remember she cited was an interview with Ray Walston before he died.

I didn't see the "Fosse/Verdon" show, but more than likely Joan was mentioned in that one too.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gloria and Carol Matthau also appear in a chapter of Truman Capote's Answered Prayers where they are dining at an expensive French restaurant in New York. They are all presented under their real names, non-fiction novel style. Capote's society friends were very offended by this.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

50 minutes ago, kingrat said:

Gloria and Carol Matthau also appear in a chapter of Truman Capote's Answered Prayers where they are dining at an expensive French restaurant in New York. They are all presented under their real names, non-fiction novel style. Capote's society friends were very offended by this.

Interesting. Why were they so offended?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, kingrat said:

Gloria and Carol Matthau also appear in a chapter of Truman Capote's Answered Prayers where they are dining at an expensive French restaurant in New York. They are all presented under their real names, non-fiction novel style. Capote's society friends were very offended by this.

 

Truman Capote lectured at my University when I was in graduate school. It was just after this book had come out. He was probably ostracized by High Society for the rest of his life after this.

He was exceedingly strained, depressed and emotionally raw during the lecture.

But he gave some Salient and viable advice on how to write about personal emotional experiences.

Philip Seymour Hoffman really deserved that Oscar.....

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I watched the 1982 miniseries last night. Some thoughts about it:

I felt Angela Lansbury was quite good as the aunt suing for custody. Bette Davis had what is basically an extended cameo, so she's really not in it very much and her character disappears at the half-way point. But it is fun to see Lansbury and Davis act together.

The girl who played Little Gloria seemed to only know how to play two emotions, sweet and angry. She had a lot of screaming scenes when felt she was being harmed and didn't want to go live with her mother. I would imagine she was cast because she looked so much like the real Gloria at that age, but they probably could have done better with a child that had a greater acting range.

There were supporting characters played by John Hillerman and Michael Gross, and I thought they were fine if not totally engaging. Hillerman was clearly trying to differentiate himself from the British-sounding character he was playing on Magnum P.I. at the time and was using a decidedly American accent but it felt a little forced and I think he was dealing too much with how he wanted the character to sound, instead of actually providing a multi-layered character.

Lucy Gutteridge, playing little Gloria's mother, was quite good. And in fact her accent was very convincing, which is worth noting because she's a British born actress.

I had the impression a lot of things were left out of the book. The first part, which reaches the 90-minute mark, ends with the fact the women will be heading into court. So the trial stuff does not really get underway until the second part. Thus, I felt the first part was a little bit padded, stretched out, and that if they had gotten to the trial sooner, the second part might have gone more in-depth and covered more things that had originally been in the book about the fall-out of the trial and how it was really affecting them all.

One of the problems I had with the whole thing is that it was very pro-mother, done in support of biological children being united with their biological mothers. As a result, the Aunt Gertude character becomes increasingly cartoonish, where we are supposed to see her as the ogre and sympathize with the mother. So it didn't feel as balanced or as unbiased as it might have been. Also, a lot of the courtroom dialogue focused on the sexual activities of the characters, as if this would be more titillating for viewers.

What I really did like about it is that we saw glimpses of women with their own particular agendas, not just the mother and the aunt, but even supporting characters like the strange maid (played by Maureen Stapleton), and the maternal grandmother (played by Glynis Johns). Plus we also saw the mother's twin sister, and she had her own issues with the other women. So there really was a lot of drama going on. In some ways the women were all similar to one another in terms of how they lived their lives and spent money, but then they differed on little Gloria's best interests. Therefore, the child became a pawn in an ongoing family war. I have a feeling the book goes more into detail about that.

screen.jpg

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, kingrat said:

Gloria and Carol Matthau also appear in a chapter of Truman Capote's Answered Prayers where they are dining at an expensive French restaurant in New York. They are all presented under their real names, non-fiction novel style. Capote's society friends were very offended by this.

 

LOL.  Yes, I remember reading those chapters. Think there were 3 in all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, kingrat said:

The portrayals in Answered Prayers were not flattering. Gloria doesn't recognize one of her ex-husbands, for instance.

LMREO! I'd forgotten about that. Think the whole chapter was just about them gossiping in some fancy NY restaurant. Unsure if it was that chapter or another that caused one woman to commit suicide. (The Long Island Murderess?) Forget her name. Dominick Dunne wrote a book about the case. Killed her husband, but got off in the trial.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're thinking of the Woodward murder.  Ann and William Woodward.  She shot him (accidentally) in 1955 and a Grand Jury failed to indict.

The case was the basis for "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles"  by Dunne which became a TV movie with Ann Margret and Claudette Colbert.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...