Anderson Cooper Is Heir To The Vanderbilt Family, Anderson Cooper, son of Gloria Laura Vanderbilt , is currently the only known prominent and active descendant of the famous Vanderbilt family, which had its origin with Cornelius Vanderbilt [1794-1877], the shipping and later the railroad tycoon of the nineteenth century. To be exact, Cooper is the great great great grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, also frequently referred to as Commodore Vanderbilt. Cooper’s grandfather was Claypoole Vanderbilt [1880-1925], who in turn was a grandson of William Henry Vanderbilt [1821-1885]. William Henry Vanderbilt greatly expanded the Vanderbilt railroad holdings, and he, even more so than his father, Cornelius, expanded the Vanderbilt family fortune.
Anderson Cooper’s father was Wyatt Emery Cooper, an artist, designer and writer. His father passed away when Anderson was only 11 years old, and this affected him greatly. The other tragedy in Anderson’s life was the suicide of his older brother, Carter Vanderbilt Cooper, in 1988, at the age of 23. Anderson’s mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, later wrote a book, entitled “A Mother’s Story”, about the suicide of her son. The suicide of Anderson’s brother apparently had a large influence on Anderson Cooper’s decision to become a journalist.
Anderson Cooper also has two other half brothers, Leopold Stanislaus Stokowski  and Christopher Stokowski . Both half brothers were from his mother’s earlier marriage to Leopold Stokowski, the famous orchestra conductor.
Anderson Cooper graduated from Yale University in 1989 with a B.A. in Political Science. While at Yale University, he interned with the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA], but following graduation decided against a career in the CIA.
Following graduation from Yale, Cooper attempted to get a job at the ABC Network, but was unsuccessful. He was, however, successful in getting a job at Channel One, a much smaller broadcasting organization. After six months on the job he felt he was not getting anywhere. So he decided to start doing free lance reporting, including using his own camera, from troubled, and in many cases, dangerous regions of the world. He started reporting from Burma [Myanmar] after having himself smuggled into the country. After doing that for a while, he decided to learn about Viet Nam, and spent a year in Hanoi, Viet Nam, studying the language and culture of Viet Nam. Following his Viet Nam stint, he did free lance reporting from such trouble spots as Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda. Apparently, his stories reached the media and were not ignored.
In 1995, after six years of developing his skills as a reporter in the most difficult areas of the world, Cooper was hired by ABC News as a correspondent, and eventually rose to the position of co-anchor of the ABC World News Division. In the year 2000, he was able to switch jobs and became the host of ABC’s reality show, “The Mole”.
In 2001 Cooper left the ABC Network for the CNN Network, largely to be more involved with broadcast news. His first position at CNN was to be the co-anchor with Paula Zahn on American Morning. The following year, in 2002, he became CNN’s weekend prime time anchor. Since that time, he has hosted CNN’s New Year’s Eve Special from Times Square in New York City. In 2003, he was appointed to be the anchor of Anderson Cooper 360, a weekend news program.
Cooper has also been active in many different reporting situations including the Tsunami damage in Sri Lanka, the elections in Baghdad, Pope John Paul’s death in 2005, the Niger famine from Maradi, hurricane Dennis from Pensacola, Florida and hurricane Katrina from New Orleans, all in 2005.
In the fall of 2005, Cooper was increasingly used in a variety of CNN news programs, and he became one of their star reporters and news anchors. One of the CNN officials called Anderson Cooper the anchorperson of the future for CNN. In 2007, Anderson Cooper had become one of CNN’s major news anchors. He signed a new multi-year contract with CNN, doubling his salary to $ 4 million per year.
Anderson Coopers’ book entitled, “Dispatches from the Edge” was released in May 2006, and immediately became a best seller. As a major news personality, Cooper was able to expand his visibility in the realm of the news world. In 2006, he signed a contract with CBS to become a contributor to the CBS Sixty Minute Show, starting with the 2007 season.
Cooper has been recognized in a variety of ways for his contributions. In 2005, he won the National Headliners Award for his tsunami coverage. He received an Emmy Award for his coverage of Princess Diana’s funeral. The Chicago Film Festival awarded him the Silver Plaque for his reporting from Sarajevo, Bosnia during the Bosnian war. He also received the Bronze Telly for his coverage of the famine in Somalia. And more recently, in 2006, he won three Emmy Awards for his coverage of several major stories from around the world.
Many may view Anderson Cooper as only a distant Dutch American, and in many respects he is. However, he is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt, and Gloria has a direct paternal connection with the legendary Cornelius Vanderbilt, who clearly is firmly rooted in the Dutch tradition. Therefore, it was viewed appropriate to include Anderson Cooper in the collection of prominent Dutch Americans.