Happy Birthday John Steinbeck

Today is John Steinbeck’s 113th birthday.  I first read “The Pearl” in high school.  I know I read “Of Mice and Men” and “The Grapes of Wrath” around the same time, but it was “The Pearl” first.  I had never read anything with that narrative before, he compelled me to care about those characters, to think about them when I wasn’t reading the books, and to be excited to read more.  There is no doubt that “The Grapes of Wrath” is one of the best novels ever written.  If you aren’t going to read the book, watch the movie, it will stay with you.  But you should read the book.  The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: John Steinbeck
OCCUPATION: Author
BIRTH DATE: February 27, 1902
DEATH DATE: December 20, 1968
EDUCATION: Stanford University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Salinas, California
PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York

BEST KNOWN FOR: John Steinbeck was a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist whose book “The Grapes of Wrath,” portrayed the plight of migrant workers during the Depression.

Born in Salinas, California (1902). His early books didn’t sell well at all, and he supported himself as a manual laborer. His first success came with the 1935 novel Tortilla Flat, which was the story of King Arthur and the Round Table told through the lives of pleasure-loving Mexican Americans. He was paid several thousand dollars for the movie rights; the film was released in 1942 and starred Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr. Steinbeck’s book Of Mice and Men (1937) was very popular, but it was also considered vulgar and unpatriotic, and Steinbeck was accused of having an “anti-business attitude.”

In the late 1930s, he was sent by a newspaper to report on the situation of migrant farmers, so he got an old bakery truck and drove around California’s Central Valley. He found people starving, thousands of them crowded in miserable shelters, sick with typhus and the flu. He wrote everything down in his journal, and in less than six months, he had a 200,000-word manuscript. The Grapes of Wrath (1939) won the Pulitzer Prize, but the author was roundly condemned in some quarters for his anti-capitalist, pro-New Deal, pro-worker stance.

During World War II, Steinbeck wrote some government propaganda, and although he returned to social commentary in his post-war fiction, his books of the 1950s were more sentimental than his pre-war works. In the 1960s, he served as an advisor to Lyndon Johnson, whose Vietnam policies Steinbeck supported. Many accused him of betraying his leftist roots.

He said: “A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn’t telling or teaching or ordering. Rather he seeks to establish a relationship of meaning, of feeling, of observing. We are lonesome animals. We spend all life trying to be less lonesome.”

The day after Steinbeck’s death in New York City, reviewer Charles Poore wrote in the New York Times: “John Steinbeck’s first great book was his last great book. But Good Lord, what a book that was and is: The Grapes of Wrath.” Poore noted a “preachiness” in Steinbeck’s work, “as if half his literary inheritance came from the best of Mark Twain— and the other half from the worst of Cotton Mather.” But he asserted that “Steinbeck didn’t need the Nobel Prize— the Nobel judges needed him.”

Many of Steinbeck’s works are on required reading lists in American high schools. In the United Kingdom, Of Mice and Men is one of the key texts used by the examining body AQA for its English Literature GCSE. A study by the Center for the Learning and Teaching of Literature in the United States found that Of Mice and Men was one of the ten most frequently read books in public high schools.

At the same time, The Grapes of Wrath has been banned by school boards: in August 1939, Kern County Board of Supervisors banned the book from the county’s publicly funded schools and libraries.[28] It was burned in Salinas on two different occasions. In 2003, a school board in Mississippi banned it on the grounds of profanity. According to the American Library Association Steinbeck was one of the ten most frequently banned authors from 1990 to 2004, with Of Mice and Men ranking sixth out of 100 such books in the United States.

Happy Birthday Tony Randall

Today is the 95th birthday of Tony Randall.  Watching him act is like watching a scientist perform experiments: precise, exact, trained. Watching Tony Randall talk about acting is like sneaking into a Masters Class and learning something you had absolutely no idea even existed. Tony Randall was an actor’s actor, he loved them, he supported them, he was one of them.  The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: Tony Randall
OCCUPATION: Television Actor
BIRTH DATE: February 26, 1920
DEATH DATE: May 17, 2004
EDUCATION: Northwestern University, Columbia University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Tulsa, Oklahoma
PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
ORIGINALLY: Leonard Rosenberg

BEST KNOWN FOR: Tony Randall was an actor who became widely known through his character Felix Unger on TV’s The Odd Couple.

Actor. Born Leonard Rosenberg on February 26, 1920 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After graduating from Northwestern University where he studied drama, Randall moved to New York City to attend Columbia University and train at the Neighborhood Playhouse. He was soon drafted into the Army to serve in the Signal Corps during World War II. When the war was over, Randall resumed his career as a radio actor, most notably in the role of Reggie on the adventure serial I Love a Mystery.

Randall made his name on Broadway in the 1950s, starring in the musical Oh, Captain and Inherit the Wind. He made his film debut in 1957 with Oh, Men, Oh Women, and followed with the comedy Pillow Talk in 1959 and Lover Come Back in 1961. Though he received his share of forgettable starring film roles, including Fluffy in 1964, he received critical acclaim for his work in the film The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao.

Television audiences will likely best remember Randall for his role of buttoned-up Felix Unger in The Odd Couple, which ran from 1969-1974. In addition to appearing on numerous game and panel shows, Randall enjoyed an extensive television career that included Mr. Peepers (1952-1953) and (1969-1974), his own short-lived TV series called The Tony Randall Show (1976) and Love, Sidney (1981-1983).

Active in several liberal and humanitarian causes, Randall has often put his career on the line to let his opinions be known. He delivered an anti-Vietnam speech in the late 1960s and has been known to speak out against the dangers of cigarette smoking. During the summer of 1980, he served as the celebrity host of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra‘s concerts in Central Park, New York City. In 1991, Randall created the National Actors Theater, a New York-based repertory company devoted to American and British classics.

In 1995, after the death of his wife and companion Florence, Randall earned media attention when he married Heather Harlan, a woman 50 years his junior. The couple met while she was an intern at the National Actors Theatre. They have two children.

Randall died in May 2004 in New York. He was 84.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Happy Birthday Zeppo Marx

Today is the 114th birthday of Zeppo Marx.  He was the youngest, most handsome, and most mechanically inclined Marx Brother.  Pay attention to him in the first five movies next time you watch them (you do watch them, don’t you?) and appreciate his quite-often under-appreciated talent. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: Zeppo Marx
OCCUPATION: Actor, Comedian, Engineer, Inventor
BIRTH DATE: February 25, 1901
DEATH DATE: November 30, 1979
PLACE OF BIRTH: New York, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Rancho Mirage, California
FULL NAME: Herbert Manfred Marx
NICKNAME: Herbie
AKA: Zeppo Marx
NICKNAME: Zep
AKA: Herbert Marx

BEST KNOWN FOR: The youngest of the Marx Brothers, Zeppo Marx was the handsomest sibling, but often under-appreciated as the straight man and young romantic lead. He left the famous comedic team to become a millionaire inventor.

The youngest of the Marx Brothers, Zeppo Marx was born Herbert Manfred Marx on February 25, 1901, in New York City. Like his brothers, he was a first-generation American, born to Sam “Frenchie” and Minnie (Schoenberg) Marx, of French and German Jewish extraction, who both came from Europe but met in New York. The first of their six sons, Manfred, died in infancy; Zeppo’s middle name honored him.

The origin of his nickname varies depending on the source: Both Groucho and Zeppo’s second ex-wife said it was derived from the zeppelins of the time. One story is simply that their father called him “Zep” when he came home one day, and the moniker stuck. Another is that the name was adapted from Mr. Zippo, a trained chimpanzee, according to brother Harpo’s autobiography. According to the book, Herbie’s athletic prowess and acrobatics echoed the chimp’s act, but his objection morphed the nickname into Zeppo.

Minnie Marx, a former dance teacher, was a fervent stage mother, getting the boys on the vaudeville circuit to make money. She added Herbie, who had a tendency toward pugilism, to the brother act in an effort to keep him from fighting. The Marx patriarch “was a very bad tailor,” according to Zeppo, “but he found some people who were so stupid that they would buy his clothes, and so he’d make a few dollars that way for food.”

Being the youngest, and by all account the most handsome, Zeppo was always cast in the role of straight man and romantic lead. He was reportedly frustrated that he couldn’t be funny, even though comedy rarely works without a good foil. The brothers apparently agreed that he was the funniest, but Groucho has been noted for both saying that the team was funnier without him, and that he felt threatened by Zeppo when he understudied him in the play Animal Crackers. Groucho was unable to perform in the production because he was having surgery to remove his appendix at the time, and some said that Zeppo was better than Groucho.

Though Zeppo only had a few moments to shine, including the dictation-taking scene in Animal Crackers, he left the brother act after just five films, which also included Duck Soup and Monkey Business, to join Gummo, the other non-performing Marx brother, in running a talent agency.

Zeppo’s other talents included an extraordinary grasp of mechanics and engineering, and he has been credited with keeping the family car running when they were touring in the early days. He also held various jobs, including as a commercial fisherman and citrus farmer. Zeppo founded Marman Products in 1941, which made clamping devices that were used in WWII to secure the atomic bombs transported on the Enola Gay. He also held three patents, two of which pertained to his invention of a watch that monitored the pulse of heart patients. It was this business that helped make Zeppo a multimillionaire.

Zeppo married twice, first to Marion Benda, with whom he had two adopted sons, Timothy and Thomas. Five years after their divorce in 1954, Zeppo marred Barbara Blakeley, whose son Bobby took his surname, though he was never officially adopted. Barbara married Frank Sinatra after the couple divorced in 1973.

The last of the Marx Brothers to pass away, Zeppo Marx died of lung cancer on November 30, 1979, in Rancho Mirage, California. His ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

Critics still argue about whether Zeppo Marx was instinctively funny.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Rear View Mirror – My Week In Review

Snip20150223_2

“Stay weird, stay different, and then when it’s your turn to be on this stage…please pass this message along.” – Graham Moore Academy Awards acceptance speech for Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Imitation Game”.

There is nothing more that could possibly be added.  Expand the concept, understanding, and definition of “stage” and make it apply to you and your life.  Stay original and unique and know that you will find yourself surrounded by other weird and different people, your tribe, and together, you will change, influence, color, and inspire the world.  Stay weird.  It is what makes you special and what will make successful.  Your differences provide a unique perspective, keep it close, protect it, value it.

This week on Waldina, I celebrated the birthdays of Hubert de Givenchy, Kurt Cobain, Patty Hearst, Gloria Vanderbilt, Beth Ditto, Karen Silkwood, Yoko Ono, and remembered the death of Andy Warhol.

The Stats:

Visits This Week: 2,019
Total Visits: 166,072
Total Subscribers: 382
Total Posts: 1,467

This week on Wasp & Pear over on Tumblr, I posted photographs of beautiful house interiors, the art of Donald Baechler, Tom Wasselmann, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein, KAWS, and the official video of Sleater-Kinney’s song “A New Wave”.

The Stats:

Posts This Week: 64
Total Posts: 4,067
Total Subscribers: 291

Over on @TheRealSPA part of Twitter, tweeted the feeds of my Tumblr and Instagram accounts and tweeted this original tweet: Common! Common! Legend! Legend!

The Stats:

Total Tweets: 410 (tweets over 31 days old are automatically deleted to preserve freshness)
Total Followers: 478
Total Following: 550

This week on @TheRealSPA Instagram, I posted a photo of a very very full wine glass that was given to Rick at a Mexican restaurant.

The Stats:

Total Posts: 366
Total Followers: 171
Total Following: 201

come find me, i’m @

I chronicle what inspires me at Waldina.com
I faceplace at facebook.com/parkeranderson
I store my selfies at instagram.com/therealspa#
I tumblr at waspandpear.tumblr.com/
I tweet at twitter.com/TheRealSPA

 

 

Andy Warhol, Pop Artist, Dies

On this day in 1987, Andy Warhol died.  I normally only celebrate birthdays, but since I actually remember this day, I will include it.  I remember the mounds and mounds of things they found in his house.  It was kind of before hoarding really got highlighted, he was more of an extreme collector of vintage cookie jars, Russel Wright pottery, watches, Navajo blankets and rugs, early American furniture and over 75 pieces by Man Ray, Duchamp and Rauschenberg, you may as well throw in a Lichtenstein, a Jasper Johns, a Hockney, a Dali, a Haring and a Basquiat (or six).

His collecting lead me to purchase several vintage cookie jars and give them as gifts.  I still have one that is a hand-painted elf head.  The pointy ears are chipped and the when the artist painted it, they went pretty heavy on the eye liner.  Dogs are not particular fans of it.


warhol dies

ANDY WARHOL, POP ARTIST, DIES
By DOUGLAS C. McGILL
New York Times Published: February 23, 1987

Andy Warhol, a founder of Pop Art whose paintings and prints of Presidents, movie stars, soup cans and other icons of America made him one of the most famous artists in the world, died yesterday. He was believed to be 58 years old.

The artist died at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan, where he underwent gall bladder surgery Saturday. His condition was stable after the operation, according to a hospital spokeswoman, Ricki Glantz, but he had a heart attack in his sleep around 5:30 A.M.

Though best known for his earliest works – including his silk-screen image of a Campbell’s soup can and a wood sculpture painted like a box of Brillo pads – Mr. Warhol’s career included successful forays into photography, movie making, writing and magazine publishing.

He founded Interview magazine in 1969, and in recent years both he and his work were increasingly in the public eye – on national magazine covers, in society columns and in television advertisements for computers, cars, cameras and liquors.

In all these endeavors, Mr. Warhol’s keenest talents were for attracting publicity, for uttering the unforgettable quote and for finding the single visual image that would most shock and endure. That his art could attract and maintain the public interest made him among the most influential and widely emulated artists of his time.

Although himself shy and quiet, Mr. Warhol attracted dozens of followers who were anything but quiet, and the combination of his genius and their energy produced dozens of notorious events throughout his career. In the mid-1960’s, he sometimes sent a Warhol look alike to speak for him at lecture engagements, and his Manhattan studio, ”the Factory,” was a legendary hangout for other artists and hangers-on.

In 1968, however, a would-be follower shot and critically wounded Mr. Warhol at the Factory. After more than a year of recuperation, Mr. Warhol returned to his career, which he increasingly devoted to documenting, with Polaroid pictures and large silk-screen prints, political and entertainment figures. He started his magazine, and soon became a fixture on the fashion and jet-set social scene.

In the 1980’s, after a relatively quiet period in his career, Mr. Warhol burst back onto the contemporary art scene as a mentor and friend to young artists, including Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat. With Mr. Basquiat, Mr. Warhol collaborated on a series of paintings in which he shunned mechanical reproduction techniques and painted individual canvases for the first time since the early 1960’s.

He never denied his obsession with art as a business and with getting publicity; instead, he proclaimed them as philosophical tenets.

”Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art,” he said on one occasion. On another, he said: ”Art? That’s a man’s name.” As widely known as his art and his own image were, however, Mr. Warhol himself was something of a cipher. He was uneasy while speaking about himself. ”The interviewer should just tell me the words he wants me to say and I’ll repeat them after him,” he once said. Date of Birth Uncertain

The earliest facts of his life remain unclear. He was born somewhere in Pennsylvania in either 1928, 1929 or 1930, according to three known versions of his life. (The most commonly accepted date is Aug. 6, 1928.) The son of immigrant parents from Czechoslovakia, his father a coal miner – the family’s name was Warhola -he attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University), from which he graduated with a degree in pictorial design in 1949.

He immediately set out for New York, where he changed his name to Warhol and began a career as an illustrator and a commerical artist, working for Tiffany’s, Bonwit Teller’s, Vogue, Glamour, The New York Times and other magazines and department stores.

By the late 1950’s, he was highly successful, having earned enough money to move to a town house in Midtown, and having received numerous professional prizes and awards. Despite his success, however, he increasingly considered trying his hand at making paintings, and in 1960 he did so with a series of pictures based on comic strips, including Superman and Dick Tracy, and on Coca-Cola bottles.

Success, however, was not immediate. Leo Castelli, the art dealer best known for discovering the artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, saw Mr. Warhol’s paintings but declined to show his work, since Roy Lichtenstein, who also painted pictures taken from comic strips, was already represented by the gallery. Ivan Karp, a talent scout for Castelli who discovered Mr. Warhol, tried to help him find a New York gallery that would show his work, with no success. The Birth of a Movement

In 1962, the dam broke, with Mr. Warhol’s first exhibition of the Campbell’s soup cans at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, and his show of other works at the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York. Other Pop artists, including Mr. Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist and Tom Wesselman also began to achieve prominence around the country at the time, and the movement was born.

Though some of Mr. Warhol’s first Pop Art paintings had drips on them – evidence that the painter’s hand had left its mark on the work – by 1963 Mr. Warhol had dispensed with the brush altogether. Instead, he turned to exclusively hard-edged images made in the medium of silk-screen print, which made a depersonalized image that became Mr. Warhol’s trademark.

”Painting a soup can is not in itself a radical act,” the critic Robert Hughes wrote in 1971. ”But what was radical in Warhol was that he adapted the means of production of soup cans to the way he produced paintings, turning them out en masse – consumer art mimicking the the process as well as the look of consumer culture.”

In 1964 Mr. Warhol was taken on by the Castelli Gallery, which remained his art dealer until his death. His experimentation with underground films began around that time – an interest that culminated in widespread notoriety if not overwhelming box office acclaim.

”Eat,” a 45-minute film, showed the artist Robert Indiana eating a mushroom. ”Haircut” showed a Warhol groupie having his hair cut over a span of 33 minutes, and another, ”Poor Little Rich Girl,” was filmed out of focus and showed Edie Sedgwick, a Warhol follower who became a celebrity on the New York social circuit, talking about herself.

In the 1970’s, recuperated from his near fatal gunshot wound, Mr. Warhol settled down to a sustained creative period in which his fame as a society figure leveled off, but his output, if anything, increased. Working most often in silk-screen prints, he made series of pictures of political and Hollywood celebrities, including Mao, Liza Minelli, Jimmy Carter and Russell Banks.

In 1975, he published ”The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again),” a collection of statements and epigrams that elucidated his contrary views on art.

In his glancing and elliptical style, Mr. Warhol wrote about subjects ranging from art to money and sex. ”Checks aren’t money,” he wrote in one section of the book. In another, he said: ”Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.”

In the 1980’s, Mr. Warhol became more active in commissioned art projects and a variety of other commercial activties. In 1983, he made a series of prints – based on animals of endangered species – that was first shown at the American Museum of Natural History. A Near Exception

Although some of his later art projects seemed to diverge from his calculating approach and to be motivated in part by social concern, Mr. Warhol generally avoided any such suggestion. He came closest to making an exception in 1985, when he exhibited a group of prints of clowns, robots, monkeys and other images he made for children at the Newport (R.I.) Art Museum in 1985.

”It’s just that the show’s for children,” he told a reporter at the time. ”I wanted it arranged for them. The Newport Museum agreed to hang all of my children’s pictures at levels where only kids could really see them.”

After the news of his death was publicized yesterday, artists, celebrities and politicians who knew Mr. Warhol spoke of his influence on culture, and on their lives.

”He had this wry, sardonic knack for dismissing history and putting his finger on public taste, which to me was evidence of living in the present,” said the sculptor George Segal. ”Every generation of artists has the huge problem of finding their own language and talking about their own experience. He was out front with several others of his generation in pinning down how it was to live in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.”

Leo Castelli, Mr. Warhol’s dealer of 23 years, said Mr. Warhol, more than practically any artist of the last two decades, seemed to have a continuing and strong influence on today’s emerging artists. ”Of all the painters of his generation he’s still the one most influential on the younger artists – a real guru,” Mr. Castelli said.

Martha Graham, the dancer and choreographer, recalled her first meeting with Warhol. ”When I first met Andy, he confided to me that he was born in Pittsburgh as I was, and that when he first saw me dance ‘Appalachian Spring’ it touched him deeply. He touched me deeply as well. He was a gifted, strange maverick who crossed my life with great generosity. His last act was the gift of three portraits [ of Miss Graham ] he donated to my company to help my company meet its financial needs.”

In his book, ”The Philosophy of Andy Warhol,” the artist wrote a short chapter entitled ”Death” that consisted almost entirely of these words: ”I’m so sorry to hear about it. I just thought that things were magic and that it would never happen.”

Dr. Elliot M. Gross, the Chief Medical Examiner for New York City, said an autopsy on Mr. Warhol would be conducted today. Dr. Gross explained that deaths occurring during surgery or shortly afterward are considered deaths of an ”unusual manner.”

”It was an unexplained death of a relatively young person in apparently good health,” he said.

Mr. Warhol is survived by two brothers, John Warhola and Paul Warhola, both of Pittsburgh.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Happy Birthday Patty Hearst

Today is the 61st birthday of Patricia Hearst.  I adore this photo, it has done time as both computer and phone wallpapers and I think I have even thrown it in a few calendars I have made.  They just do not do heiress mug shots like this anymore, and that truly saddens me.

NAME: Patty Hearst
BIRTH DATE: February 20, 1954
EDUCATION: Menlo College, University of California at Berkeley
PLACE OF BIRTH: Los Angeles, California
FULL NAME: Patricia Campbell Hearst Shaw
ORIGINALLY: Patricia Campbell Hearst

BEST KNOWN FOR: The granddaughter of 19th century media mogul William Randolph Hearst, Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974. She spent 19 months with her captors—joining them in criminal acts soon after her kidnapping—before she was captured by the FBI.

Patty Hearst was born Patricia Campbell Hearst on February 20, 1954, in Los Angeles, California. She is the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, the famous 19th century newspaper mogul and founder of the Hearst media empire, and the third of five daughters born to Randolph A. Hearst, William Hearst’s fourth and youngest son. Following her high school graduation, Hearst attended Menlo College and the University of California at Berkeley.

On February 4, 1974, at the age of 19, Patty Hearst was taken hostage by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, who aimed to garner a hefty ransom from her wealthy father. In a strange turn of events, two months after she was taken captive, Hearst recorded an audiotape that would soon be heard around the world, announcing that she had become part of the SLA. In the months that followed, more tapes with Hearst speaking were released by the group, and the young woman had begun actively participating in SLA-led criminal activity in California, including robbery and extortion—including an estimated $2 million from Hearst’s father during her months in captivity.

On September 18, 1975, after more than 19 months with the SLA, Hearst was captured by the FBI. In the spring of 1976, she was convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to 35 years in prison. Hearst would serve less than two years, however; she was released in 1979, after President Jimmy Carter commuted her prison term.

Hearst’s experience with the SLA, particularly the details of her transition from victim to supporter, has sparked interest for the past several years, including countless psychological studies both inspired and bolstered by her story. The shift in Hearst’s behavior with the SLA has been widely attributed to a psychological phenomenon called Stockholm syndrome, in which hostages begin to develop positive feelings toward their captors, an effect thought to occur when victims’ initially frightening experiences with their kidnappers are later countered with acts of compassion or comradery by those same individuals.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Happy Birthday Gloria Vanderbilt

Today is the 91st birthday of Gloria Vanderbilt.  Heiress, fashion designer, artist, jet setter, and Anderson Cooper’s mother.  Her life is huge, we can all take a couple notes from her.  The world is very lucky to still have her in it.

 

NAME: Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt-Cooper
OCCUPATION: Artist, Fashion Designer, Writer
BIRTH DATE: February 20, 1924
PLACE OF BIRTH: NY, New York

BEST KNOWN FOR: Known for her fashion design and tumultuous personal life, actress, writer and artist Gloria Vanderbilt became an iconic figure in American popular culture during the 20th century.

Gloria Laura Vanderbilt (born February 20, 1924) is an American artist, author, actress, heiress, and socialite most noted as an early developer of designer blue jeans. She is a member of the prominent Vanderbilt family of New York and mother of CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

At 17 years old, Vanderbilt went to Hollywood where she married agent Pasquale (“Pat”) DiCicco in 1941; they divorced in 1945.

Her second marriage, to conductor Leopold Stokowski in April 1945, produced two sons, Leopold Stanislaus “Stan” Stokowski, born August 22, 1950 and Christopher Stokowski, born January 31, 1952; they divorced in October 1955.

On August 28, 1956, she married director Sidney Lumet; they divorced in August 1963.
She married her fourth husband, author Wyatt Emory Cooper on December 24, 1963. They had two sons: Carter Vanderbilt Cooper (born January 27, 1965 – July 22, 1988) and CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper (born June 3, 1967). Wyatt Cooper died in 1978 during open heart surgery in New York City. Carter Cooper committed suicide at the age of 23 by jumping from the family’s 14th floor apartment as his mother tried in vain to stop him. Vanderbilt believed that it was caused by a psychotic episode induced by an allergy to the anti-asthma medical prescription drug Proventil.

She has three grandchildren by her eldest son, Stan: Aurora, born in March 1983 and Abra, born in February 1985, both to author Ivy Strick, and Myles, born in 1998 to artist Emily Goldstein.

Gloria is very close friends with comedienne Kathy Griffin, and while appearing as a guest on her son Anderson Cooper’s talk show, Anderson on September 19, 2011, referred to Kathy as her “fantasy daughter.” Kathy refers to Gloria as “Glo”, as did her third husband, Lumet.

During the 1970s, she ventured into the fashion business, first with Glentex, licensing her name for a line of scarves. In 1976, Indian designer Mohan Murjani’s Murjani Corporation, proposed launching a line of designer jeans carrying Vanderbilt’s name embossed in script on the back pocket, as well as her swan logo. Her jeans were more tightly fitted than the other jeans of that time. The logo eventually appeared on dresses and perfumes as well. Along with her jeans, Vanderbilt also launched a line of blouses, sheets, shoes, leather goods, liqueurs, and accessories.

Vanderbilt is the author of four memoirs and three novels, and is a regular contributor to The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Elle.

Enhanced by Zemanta