Since appearing on her son Anderson Cooper's talk show on Monday, Gloria Vanderbilt is perched to be the next American sweetheart -- at age 87.
Viewers of Cooper's emotional and inspiring interview with Vanderbilt -- which aired on Anderson on Monday and made the rounds on the Internet shortly after -- were struck by Cooper's unusual display of emotion, Vanderbilt's eleganace and resilient optimism, and the obvious bond between mother and son.
In the interview, Cooper and Vanderbilt discussed love and loss, and the CNN host revealed things about his past that were largely unknown to his audience. Cooper's father and Vanderbilt's husband Wyatt Emory Cooper, who Vanderbilt still believes is the love of her life, died at a young age and Vanderbilt never married again. Anderson was only ten years old when his father died suddenly of heart failure.
A decade later, an even more horrifying tragedy struck the Vanderbilt-Cooper family: In 1998, Cooper's brother Carter leapt to his death while Vanderbilt was trying to coax him away from a ledge in the family's New York City apartment building. Carter Cooper was only 23 at the time.
I still run through it, Vanderbilt said. 'He was sitting on the wall with one foot on there and one foot hanging over and he kept looking down.
And I kept begging him and then when he went, he went like an athlete, and hung over the wall like this, she gestured.
And I said, Carter, come back, and for a minute I thought that he was going to come back, but he didn't. He let go.
There was a moment when I thought I was going to jump over after him, Vanderbilt told her son. I thought of you and it stopped me.
If that portion of the interview wasn't heart wrenching enough, Judy Collins came on stage and performed Amazing Grace -- a capella -- for Vanderbilt and Cooper, with Cooper at one point grasping his mother's hand during the song.
Cooper praised Vanderbilt for her bravery and unshakeable optimism.
You have survived so many things, Anderson said. This custody battle when you were 10 years old, the loss of your father when you were an infant, the loss of Carter, of my dad, your husband and so many others.
It hasn't made you tough, he continued. It hasn't hardened you. You're still open to experience and open to new loss and open to new heartbreak and to new love.
Vanderbilt enthusiastically agreed when her son commented that she believes her next great love is right around the corner.
For comic relief, Vanderbilt's unlikely friend and Cooper's former guest co-host Kathy Griffin made a surprise appearance, and true to form, insisted on discussing raunchy subjects that mortified Copper. (Vanderbilt was perfectly fine, of course.)
At one point in the interview, Cooper brought up his mother's dating history with Marlon Brando, with both parties conceding the relationship did not span much more than one night.
Cooper's daytime talk show Anderson is just over a week old now, and has so far featured Amy Winehouse's family and Sarah Jessica Parker. His interview with his mother has boosted the show's esteem and popularity, and audiences are looking forward to Gloria Vanderbilt's next appearance.
IBTimes wrote about the interview on Monday, and the article prompted an outpouring of positive comments about Cooper and Vanderbilt.
One person wrote: It is very easy to see why Mr. Anderson Cooper is such a strong, confident man. Everyone could be so fortunate to be raised by a 'mom' such as Miss Gloria Vanderbilt. She is stoic and poised and a beautiful person inside and out. She and Anderson allowed us into very intimate parts of their lives and for that I am honored.... Although I was reaching for the tissues, I appreciate your open conversation with your mother today. I wish you continued success with this venture and all your future projects. I will be watching.
Watch a segment of the interview here...
[Source: Business Insider]