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tv   Nothing Left Unsaid Gloria Vanderbilt Anderson Cooper  CNN  April 29, 2016 6:00pm-8:12pm PDT

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costume every day. it is strange. >> anderson cooper, thanks to talking to me on your show. >> thanks. that does it for us. thanks for watching. "nothing left unsaid" starts now. ♪
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♪ >> your hand like that, put it on your shoulder, look through that. can you see that? >> yeah. >> it is already going. >> thought i lost you. >> can you see? >> now you're very close.
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>> i always thought of my mom coming from a time and place that doesn't exist any more, like a vanished world. like an emissary from a distant star that burned out long ago. and that she is sort of stranded here and has had to figure out how to forge a life. >> hey, mom. hey mom.
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>> hi, sweetheart. >> how are you? >> i'm exhausted. >> little tired. >> why did you agree to do this? >> because i'm a ham. >> i saw you have some notes or something. what are those? >> see if you can guess. tpio -- what does it mean? >> i didn't want to misquote falkner. so the past isn't over, it's not even past. and i absolutely think it's true. >> you feel the past is very much alive in your present now.
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>> absolutely. i think it is in all of us whether we know it or not. i replay scenes. >> scenes of your life. >> yes, as if it is happening. visually i picture it. it also influences my painting a great deal. and i reorganized it so to speak. >> i think one of the amazing things about her, she has been in the public eye at this point longer than pretty much anyone else i can think of. >> here is the first movie of little gloria herself, frightened by the crowd, she flees to the car. money isn't everything. >> the public perception, to the extent people have a perception of her is very limited. >> whatever else she may have
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done in life, gloria vanderbilt is known as the poor little rich girl. >> welcome. >> one of the most successful women in america. >> model, actress, now fabric designer. >> i am gloria vanderbilt, introducing my collection of status jeans. >> i think my mom is a lot more interesting than the person people think she's. you know, she has this public face, but the reality of her life is so different than what the public face is. at 91, she's still working, still painting every day. i think her artwork is much more who my mom really is. she's really only interested in creating stuff, working on stuff, even if nobody sees it, i don't think it matters to her that much. she's just interested in getting
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it out. her entire life she's been painting. you know, i can look at a painting of hers and know it is from the 1950s or from the 1960s. i can tell what sort of period it is. >> joyce carol named my dream boxes, great at coming up names. suggested we call this tales we
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tell ourselves. but i mean, in a sense these are fantasy paintings, i mean, they're imaginary situations that not necessarily ever happened or existed, you know, except in my imagination. and hopes and dreams, you know. it's as if he's on a street walking and he suddenly sees a window. he turns and looks at it. the mother is standing behind the flowers, you can hardly see her, you're just aware of her.
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this is the father here, white cut out. it is all very beautiful and serene, and that's what he sees or thinks he sees, imagine he sees. but i mean, he's going to turn away immediately, you know. can you see that? i mean, he is looking in the window but he is going to walk away. you know? it is pronounced hiraeth.
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i have written what it means, a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home that maybe never was. the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past. longing for something that never was. so it's not your past if it never was. it's longing for something that you never had, you know. and it is really kind of the essence of the paintings in a sense. i mean, everything i do, all my
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paintings, everything is auto biographical in all of us, i believe. what about you? >> do i think all work is autobiographical? >> is it for you? >> my work is auto biographical, has a lot to do with loss and pain and, you know, telling people stories. i think all stuff that's important in our house growing up. ♪ >> in regular life people don't talk about death, they don't talk about loss, they don't talk about grief. it makes people uncomfortable. that was a language that had been spoken in my house always. i could always tell as a kid there was a sadness to her, this loss that has permeated her
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life. as a young kid, i didn't really know the origins of that loss. she never talked about it. but she's the most sort of optimistic, youthful person i know. so the whole idea of survival became really interesting to me, why some people survive and others don't, how people survive, and kind of learning how to survive. i started going to war zones when i was 22, 23, and it sounds ridiculous to say, but it didn't seem all that out of the ordinary to me, not to in any way say that, you know, the background i had, i have this privileged background and everything, it wasn't that i felt comfortable in the situation. >> blanketing this area with sniper fire. >> miserable, scared, i am a complete wimp, but i understand
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loss. it is not like i am stopping it, can do anything about it. there's something about bearing witness to it, and at least asking other people to bear witness to it as well. i feel like i spent the last 20 years really focused on work and telling other people's stories. hey, how are you? okay. my mom has age never had reality to me, never had much reality to her. she's the last person in my family alive really, the last person that knew me as a child, so i don't want there to be anything left unsaid between us. >> a lot of stuff. >> a lot of stuff. >> who is going to do this.
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i whittled it down, i have been going through it for couple years and i whittled it down to this room and the basement in connecticut. >> right. >> i have been worrying about stuff my mom has in storage, i am 48, for at least, i don't know, 38 years. you open one box, it is a chandelier, very nice. open another box, corn flakes from 1953 that were packed away and ended up being stored. >> this must have been -- you don't have a place for these? what's this? >> that's something i found. >> yes, i am going to frame this. >> finding a lot of old letters.
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>> oh. >> these will be fascinating to read. all our secrets. >> here. here's your dad and mom. >> yes, with my mother. wow. isn't that dress wonderful she has on. >> that's from 1923. that's from before you were born. >> year before i was born. >> she must have been pregnant with you here. >> yes. >> growing up it didn't really have any reality for me, that vanderbilt side of the family. i was more interested in the cooper side of the family that seemed more real as opposed to this vanderbilt life. >> the vanderbilts came to america in the 1600s, for several generations were unremarkable. and then along came a young man named cornelius. he was full of energy and
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vitality. he started with one ship and by the time he was finished with shipping, he had more ships than the u.s. navy and more money than the u.s. treasury. he was clearly by then a transportation genius, began to connect independent rail lines into the new york central system and build his second transportation empire. before 1913, there were no taxes. so enormous fortunes like these were set up to perpetuate, and people that inherited them thought they would go on forever. well, that's my grandfather, alfred gwynn vanderbilt iii, next to him was reginald. he was the youngest, baby of the family. reggie was a great deal of fun. he lost legendary amounts of
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money at canfield's casino in newport. >> and he married my grandmother, gloria morgan. she was this great beauty, probably 17 or 18 when they got married. they didn't have much of a life together frankly. i mean, they met, they got married, and after my mom was born amazingly they went off on an extended trip for i think like six months and left my newborn mom with some nurse. >> if you think of it in this time frame as it was as far as history goes, people that had families in a certain economic group, they did not see much of their children. they had nurses and nannies and so forth. my mother was 18 when i was
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born. when you're a child, if you grow up in a jungle, you think the whole world is like that. so for a long time, i mean, it wasn't real to me that there was a mother and a father. i mean, i didn't know what that idea was, so to speak. that was taken the day my father died. i was taken to not be in the house when all of the funeral things were going on. i was 15 months old. i don't remember him at all. >> you have a fantasy your father had written you a letter. >> well, it is still floating around somewhere. it's going to arrive someday. >> what was the idea? >> well, the idea would be that
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a letter would come from him and he would say, you know, how much he loved me and how beautiful i was and that i was going to grow up to be the most extraordinary person, and that even though he wasn't there, he wanted me to know that he loved me a lot. >> was there ever a letter? >> well, a letter did arrive. sweetheart, i'm kidding. >> there's a saying from eric gordon that you quote a lot. >> yeah. a fatherless girl thinks all things possible and nothing safe. that's absolutely true. dad, you can just drop me off right here.
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oh no, i'll take you up to the front of the school. that's where your friends are. seriously, it's, it's really fine. you don't want to be seen with your dad? no, it's..no.. this about a boy? dad! stop, please. oh, there's tracy. what! [ horn honking ] [ forward collision warning ] [ car braking ] bye dad! it brakes when you don't. forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking. available on the newly redesigned passat. from volkswagen. but pantene is making my hair hairpractically unbreakable.ff. the new pro-v formula makes every inch stronger. so i can love my hair longer. strong is beautiful. pantene.
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one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. okay?
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there once was a child living every day, expecting tomorrow to be different from today. >> anything else? >> more. a long time ago. now because i've lived so long, because i see it almost as, you know, a fairy tale or mythical thing that happened to somebody. >> in 1934, this ten-year-old girl was the center of a bitter public battle in the courts. the trial for the custody of little gloria vanderbilt was front page news. >> i didn't really know anything about the court case until i was 12 or so. really until my mom wrote her book. >> once upon a time, a true
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story by gloria vanderbilt. the doll house. it is fun to make drawings of everybody with my crayons, soon i started cutting out drawings like paper dolls. two of them named gloria, that's my name, too. it all gets very complicated. you have to sort it out. the best part about all of this is that it is me who moves everybody around putting them where i want them to be. this is me with dodo. >> i don't think i have seen that photo of dodo before. >> i have it in a tiny frame. she came to me when i was three weeks old. her name was emma keishis.
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she was 100% irish. >> she was really your mother? >> absolutely. absolutely. >> that's sad. >> well, i didn't think so. i mean, i was really happy. when my father died, my mother went to europe where she lived most of her childhood. we arrived in paris, it was when fitzgerald was there, hemingway, the most glamorous time to be in paris. she was so beautiful and i actually sort of worshipped her beauty. i wanted to be close to her, to
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belong to her. she had a twin sister, my aunt, thelma. they were so identical, i could not tell the difference when i walked into a room. i remember her going out in the evening beautifully dressed and seeing her go down a hallway kind of thing. >> the dazzling pageant of color with celebrities. mrs. vanderbilt arrives as the sun goddess and they dance until dawn. >> she wanted to have a good time. she was just a baby, you know. you know, she said to me once when i was older, she said you know when you were a baby, you were so little, i couldn't bear to pick you up, i thought i might hurt you. you know, we just never got together so to speak. for example, she rented a house in cannes, and then rented another house where i stayed with dodo. >> my mom's life really revolved
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around my mom's nurse who she called dodo and her grandmother, grandmother morgan. >> my surrogate father was my grandmother morgan who had moved in with us. she kind of took over and she was so crazy. she was really crazy. >> really? you actually think she was crazy? >> i really do think she was crazy. but i loved her so much. >> she was from chile. >> from chile, yes. >> what did she look like? >> she was very short, she talked constantly. she was obsessed and napoleon and based her personality on napoleon. >> that's interesting. >> she was extraordinary. she was like a force. if she decided she wanted she was plotting all the time, she liked to stir up things, you
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know. then my mother fell in love with prince hemingway. the prince was fine, but he was german. she was hysterical about germans. >> the idea her daughter was going to marry this german, take my mother off to live in bavaria made her app a clek particular. my grandmother began to plot a way to stop it from happening. she is a vanderbilt, should be in the united states, that's her birthright. >> i used to as a child lie in the house in paris in the dark, i was afraid to go to sleep without a light in the bathroom without my nurse there. so she would stay in the bathroom every night until i
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went to sleep. then my grandmother would come in, that's when i was hear them whispering, you know. it was like something was being plotted and planned. >> my mom's grandmother, grandmother morgan hatched a plan with my mom's nanny. why do you think dodo went along with the plan? >> because she totally agreed with it. she always thought i should be brought up in america because way an american girl. >> it is crazy to me that's how it began, that's how the seed was planted, it grew into this thing which completely changed the course of my mom's life forever. >> i mean, i would have been happy to stay in paris with dodo. that would have been the right thing for me. i mean, i was happy. >> but my mom was brought to the united states by her nurse and grandmother to her aunt's house.
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>> we were on the way, all three of us on an ocean liner called the majestic. i had a new rabbit fur coat and nanny gave me an american flag. soon i would meet my aunt gertrude. she was the sister of my father, the one i made the paper doll of. she lived in new york city in a castle. i kept going over things i wanted to ask her about. what was my father like, things like that. i was living at aunt gertrude's, my mother was still in europe, she came back because she was living off my inheritance, so to speak. my father hadn't left her any money because he knew she would be taken care of because of me. so my mother was forced to rent a house on 72nd street. i was in there for a weekend and i heard her talking to her older
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sister and saying well, the first thing we have to do is get rid of the nurse. and i overheard her saying that, and i got absolutely hysterical. i mean, she was my mother, my father, she was everything. she was my lifeline. she was all i had. when i went up to dodo screaming, crying and told her what i had overheard, she said just be calm, be quiet. we're going to go as if we're going out to the park, and we'll get in the car and we're going to go down to aunt gertrude's. and the minute i got in the car, i just absolutely collapsed. >> and my mom was taken by her nurse to her aunt's studio.
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>> the last time i was here, i was nine. there are rooms that wait for us. and someday we may be in that room and something may happen to us that may change our life forever. when dodo took me down here, aunt gertrude was in this room and there was a sofa there, and another sofa here. i was really just hysterical, so they got doctors to come, they tried to calm me and i never went back. >> when they questioned whether
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she could care for her properly, gertrude decided to go for custody. although gertrude, i think her intentions were the best they could be, i'm not sure that warmth was her main personal trait. >> do you think she loved you? >> i think she did, i do. i think she couldn't break out of herself. she'd come up at night, i would be in bed already, she would sit in my bed to stay good night. once she said i love you so much. and i was so embarrassed because she had always been so remote and kind of cold, and it was so kind of unexpected, you know. >> did you tell her that you loved her? >> yes. i think she did because she really truly thought it was the
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best thing for her niece, me, and she had been very close to my father apparently, but we never spoke of it. >> so you had both gertrude and the grandmother trying to separate gloria from her mother. imagine being a child and having that happen. >> i was terrified of my mother because i thought she was going to take dodo away. >> it was tremendous press bonanza, tremendous amount of media in new york, and it was the case of the poor little rich girl. now, this was still at a time where a million dollars was beyond the imagining of most people. most families in the country were trying to get by on $10 a month. >> it was the height of the depression. that's why i think people were so fascinated with it. you know, saw this family that
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apparently had everything, and, you know, i knew that something terrible was going to come about because they closed any audience being there. my mother's maid had testified and said that my mother was a lesbian and that she had seen her making love with lady milford haven who she was visiting. in those days, of course, that was considered strange, you know. >> to have a child sort of on the loose with someone who is
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not very responsible, it's not unreasonable to have wanted to help. >> i think that's enough for today. >> the horrible irony is one of the first things the judge did after taking her from my mother, getting rid of the nurse as well. >> my mother's lawyer said that she was influencing me against my mother and that's why they took her away. so all my hopes were, you know, were all for naught, really.
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i have inside of me an image of a shining rock hard diamond that no matter what happens to me, nothing can, can get at or cr k crack. and i've always known that about myself.
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gloria vanderbilt, once the center of a sensational court battle is going on 13 now. >> i never felt that i belonged. you know, i felt i was an imposter and kind of a changeling. >> gloria was that outsider person, she was not quite a whitney and she was not quite a vanderbilt. she really seems to have raised herself, but gloria did grow up in gertrude's household. gertrude was an artist, she was a serious artist, sculptress and got some of that.
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>> these are paintings of mine, long time ago, way, way back. i was love to have these in a studio. that's amazing. >> you want me to take all these? >> yes. >> there's piles of them. >> well, i'd like them all, yes. i think we're going to need a truck to take them all. i mean, these are like when i was in my teens. >> really? >> yeah. >> what was it like at wheeler? >> oh, i really loved it. really was wonderful art department that they let me work off and i had a wonderful art teacher. i was just very, very happy there, and this is when i first started really, you know, having more sense of myself. >> these are letters from aunt
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gertrude? >> yes. the interesting ones are the ones interesting to me when i was in california. i had gone to stay with mother for two weeks with a chaperone. >> my friend and i finished, we are concluding our first bow in hollywood. i would thank everybody for being so nice. ♪ ♪ >> i was so movie struck growing
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up from the time i was nine and suddenly errol flynn was dating me. >> really? >> and ray maland who was married. >> you were dating errol flynn? >> yes. >> and how old were you? >> 17 and i was goggle eyed because i thought wow. >> you're still in high school. >> i had another year at wheeler, i hadn't finished high school. >> your mom was fine with it? >> she let me literally do anything, it was like living in a hotel. i could do anything i wanted to do. and i mean looking back at it now, it was very terrible, you know. i mean, i would not want my daughter to behave the way i did, you know. but there was kind of nobody around to counsel me. >> so aunt gertrude -- >> anyway, i wrote to aunt
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gertrude to ask to say that i was going to stay on. i'm trying to find the letter where she says about -- oh, this one she says you're being talked about. yes. >> your letter from santa barbara came a few days ago. >> says you know, darling, i have only your welfare and happiness at heart, when you are ready to talk over your problems with me, i am too happy to help in any way i possibly can. >> she had never been that way before, so it was kind of too late, you know. >> she never said this kind of stuff to you? >> no, no. this was the first time.
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i mean -- my plan was to finish at wheeler and instead of going to college to go to the art students league in new york. that's what i wanted to do and live with aunt gertrude and that's what i expected to do when i went out to california, you know. but of course it didn't turn out that way. >> wedding bells at santa barbara's ancient spanish mission. five bridesmaids precede gloria vanderbilt. >> do you remember your wedding day? >> oh, please. >> what? >> best forgotten, but i remember everything about it. as i was standing there, you know that movie mike nichols made. >> the graduate? >> yes. that's when i was up there, what
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am i doing here, what am i thinking of. and i wanted to run but, you know, where was i going to run to, back to aunt gertrude and the chaperone, you know. i just wanted to get out. now i can laugh at it, you know. it's like something that happened to somebody else because i was a different person then. >> he is a hollywood actor's agent and 32. the young bride will live in hollywood hills. >> he was described as an agent. >> maybe at one point he was. he was married to a well known actress, she died under mysterious circumstances. sort of rumors around that maybe he killed her, you know. >> you got married to a guy, there were rumors he killed his former wife? >> yes. >> did that not seem to give you --
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>> i thought all he needs is me. sweetheart, i was only 17. >> i know. >> united states of america was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the empire of japan. the fact -- >> we were married december 28th. it had just happened. >> you lived on an army base for two years? >> yes. finally just as he was going to be shipped off, he got septicemia, so he never went. i went to a lot of movies. >> as a kid, you loved to go to the movies? >> oh, obsessed with it. i thought that's the way it is going to be when i grow up.
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♪ some day he'll come along, the man i love ♪ ♪ and he'll be big and strong, the man i love ♪ ♪ and when he comes my way, i'll do my best to make him stay ♪ >> when did you realize it wasn't going to work with pat? >> well, pretty early on. >> it took you a while -- >> i mean, he gave me a black eye when i was in kansas, and i went to the doctor. and i was so ashamed and embarrassed, you know. and the doctor said, "how did this happen?" and i said, "well, you know, i just fell on something." i was too ashamed to, you know. but then i really got scared of him. i really did.
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and, of course, my aunt was very upset, which she certainly should have been. i mean, anybody that really loved me would have been upset. >> she said, "i think you're extremely inconsiderate to me and i'm terribly hurt. you've come to new york. i have no idea why. you don't even call me." >> i was very confused about everything, and she died soon after. ♪ >> and i went down there to see her. of course, all her children were there and relatives were there. and they were very cold to me,
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with good reason. ♪ >> i mean, there's so many of those lost opportunities. i mean, you know, she was raised by her aunt gertrude, who created the whitney museum, who was an artist herself, who would have had so much in common with my mom. had they connected, it would have been an extraordinary relationship. but i don't think they ever had a real conversation. moderate to severe plaque psoriasis isn't it time to let the real you shine through? introducing otezla, apremilast. otezla is not an injection, or a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently. some people who took otezla saw 75% clearer skin after 4 months.
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♪ that face, that face, that beautiful face!
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well, that will protect her a little bit for now. >> should i put this back on? >> yeah. most of the things in the dream boxes i found in flea markets. i did a dream box which i have in the fireplace room. i found in the flea market this extraordinary -- they were written in 1934. they're all from the same person, and they're crunched together and they're tied very tightly with cord. i'm fascinated by these letters, because part of me really wants to read them, and then another part -- i mean, i'm not going to. but there's a whole story in those letters.
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and it's so interesting that it's just exactly the same date as the custody theme. i mean, i made them into a dream box. i didn't have to do anything except get the plexiglass to put over it. maybe they're not love letters at all, but i somehow think they are. >> do you still think that the next great love -- >> of course it's going to happen. >> you think the next great love is right around the corner? >> absolutely. absolutely. >> is there anyone i should know about right now? >> no. [ laughter ] >> i think brantley said he's never met somebody over the age of 16 who loves being in love as much as you. >> that's true. i think we should always be in love. >> you had to go to reno to get a divorce. >> yes. i left him, you know, finally.
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and then we met at a party. he obviously was sort of smitten with me. and i couldn't believe it. i mean, i was so flattered. >> and this is what he looked like when you fit met him? >> well, it's a terrible photograph of him, but he was 63 when i first met him and married him. >> and was it somebody like as soon as you saw him, you thought -- >> instant. >> really? >> knew him for a week and then like three weeks later -- >> really? >> yeah. >> i didn't know that. >> yeah. >> how old were you? >> 20. >> you were 20? >> yeah. >> and he was 63? >> yeah. >> wow. did any of your friends think it was weird? >> i don't know. i mean -- >> they didn't say anything to you? >> didn't matter to me. >> i remember growing up, i knew you had been married to him, but
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i only knew him as the guy who shook mickey mouse's hand. >> yeah. >> because i think a lot of people can't understand how -- >> i know they can't, but it's -- >> -- you would have been attracted to him. >> well, having come from someone who used to beat me up and put me down, to have this genius, which he was, think i was extraordinary and wonderful, it just gave me a big lift, you know? >> together. quiet, please. quiet. >> i think my mother admired his art tremendously, you know. and i was born when he was 68. and he lived until 95. and he was conducting and recording until he died. >> i wanted a father, so i married stokowski.
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and got a father in a way, you know. >> wait for the fortisimo. >> and i think my father could see that she had incredible insights into the world of just the possibilities, the fun of it, you know? my mom told me a story about them traveling across the country driving with a trailer in the back. it doesn't sound like anything they would do. >> and we were together for 11 or 12 years. and like this. we saw very few people, you know. i just was at every concert
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backstage, helping him get dressed and all that. >> you would travel with him. >> oh, yeah. yeah. ♪ >> it sounds like they had a good life together while they were together. >> but when the children came and he toured, i didn't go with him. i stayed, you know, at home. but it was a very kind of isolated life, and i was, you know, in my young 20s then, and it was difficult in a certain sense. so i had dodo come live with us there. >> how was that? >> it was heaven. getting your mommy back. >> you met dodo. >> yeah. >> wow. >> she was like the paintings that my mom did of her. she was a big person, you know, big sort of presence, very gentle, very sweet, and very obviously interested in us, in mom. >> i mean, i think stokowski
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loves stan and chris, but he was not meant to be a father. he wasn't the kind of person that you bond with, you know what i mean? >> i think my mom always dreamed of having sort of a little house and a white picked fence, family, and that kind of vision. that's what she wanted her life to be. but in reality, she has this drive and she has this determination to propel herself forward. and that drive makes it impossible to have that white picket fence and to have that family life and to have, you know, a calm existence. >> well, i wanted to make my mark, so to speak. and the most mark one can make is to be an actress, because you get the most exposure. so i think that was a great part of my wanting to act.
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and i also had a very subjective feeling that in each part i would find part of myself, which would make me feel better about myself. >> one of the reasons i think that they perhaps had disagreement was because he was a little bit discouraging of her doing acting. i think perhaps he didn't consider as high an art as she was capable of. >> you know, he wrote me a letter, and he said "don't let vanity fair fool you. your real talent is your painting and you should concentrate on that, and don't think that parties and people you're seeing and social life and all that is important, because it's not." >> a lot of people, though, who had been through what you went
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through early on would not have done something that was in the public eye. they might have retreated from the public eye. >> well, i didn't want to do that, because i have the same name as my mother. i thought if i could make something of my life, it would make her sort of a wonderful mother, you know? i mean, it would reflect well on her. >> why was that important to you? >> she was my mother, you know? >> you said you stopped communicating with her from the time, what, you were 20? to the time you were 38? >> yes. >> why did you stop communicating? >> because of stokowski. because then was the time to start supporting her because i inherited my money when i was 21. because i thought he was god, that's what i did, and i didn't give her any money at all. stokowski kept saying, she never loved you, why should you do it?
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there was a terrible sort of press about it in the papers and all that, that i was cutting my mother off without anything. >> you know, darling, so many of our friends have asked us, why did we ever choose the doll business to go into? but you know, darling, ever since we were little kids, we used to love to play with dolls, make dolls dresses and all sorts of things. and you know, with the income tax the way it is nowadays, well, i think everybody's got to go to work, don't you think? >> oh, how right you are. >> thank you, everybody. good-bye. >> this goes way, way back. this is stan. this is when i was living in greenwich. >> oh. it's 1952? >> yeah. >> it's a great picture. you were 28 here. >> just about to blow the coop. >> what? what do you mean? >> well, i knew that i wasn't
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going to stay married to leopold. >> oh, really? >> that's when i met sinatra, after i had done that play. ♪ two drifters off to see the world ♪ ♪ there's such a lot of world to see ♪ >> because sinatra was in love with me, and i could leave god, so to speak. and i took my kids and i walked out, and i was able to do it. even though i didn't for one minute believe we were going to go swinging down the lane together for the rest of our lives, i used that. ♪ my huckleberry friend, moon river ♪ >> there was a custody trial. >> yes. well, of course, stokowski never
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thought i'd have the guts to fight it, ever. but i've got guts. and i won it. >> it was a bit of a strange, you know, strange atmospheres because two different households, and my mom and dad weren't really getting along very well at that time. >> was the divorce difficult for stan and chris? >> i think it was. and i think it was because i didn't talk to them enough about it. >> sometimes when my mom's described her relationship with her mother, about how she appeared sort of as a beautiful figure sometimes, i remember feeling that with my mom, too, because she was busy doing lots of things and involved in
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theatrical pursuits and painting's always there. i do remember that feeling of her being a little bit more distant than i would have wanted her to be. but i think that's how her mother was to her, and it was a natural thing. >> right. >> and over the years, you know, it's changed a lot, and we're able to talk about all that. my brother's a year and a half younger than me. chris likes his privacy. to a great degree. >> chris has disassociated himself from us all. he never wants to see any of us again. >> when was the last time you heard from him? >> when he was 22. >> how old would he be now? >> he's now in his late 50s.
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and it's, you know, it's been very hard for me to come to this conclusion and point in my life, but i think that is really what he wants. dad, you can just drop me off right here. oh no, i'll take you up to the front of the school. that's where your friends are. seriously, it's, it's really fine. you don't want to be seen with your dad? no, it's..no.. this about a boy? dad! stop, please. oh, there's tracy. what! [ horn honking ] [ forward collision warning ] [ car braking ] bye dad! it brakes when you don't. forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking.
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i like the density of this, do you? >> yeah. that's oil pastel. and the one of jco is chalk. it's different. >> huh. >> do you think i should put a boarder matte? no, you think that would be better thinner, too. >> i do, yeah. i mean, i definitely feel responsible for her. i've felt that way since i was a little kid. i never viewed it as all that parental a relationship, which may sound odd. >> the spelling on the other one is spelled wrong, but i didn't realize it until somebody told me, so i'm going to leave it. spelling's not my -- >> i always was very aware of her concerns and her needs and her strengths and her
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weaknesses. i like this. this is cool. i never really expected anything from her in terms of, i don't know, just, other than, you know, general support and concern, i never really -- i don't know, i always thought it was sort of my responsibility to kind of watch after her. [ doorbell ] >> i was in the back. oh, sweetheart. wow. i don't know if i'm ready for my close-up. [ laughter ] wow. i didn't expect the paparazzi. otherwise, i would have put on my more important outer face. come in, sweetheart. i've made notes of all the
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things i want to talk to you about. you know, when you're made up, you sort of do become someone different. just like clothes you wear, you become somebody different. when myriam is making me up, she really does an incredible job. i mean, you will not recognize me when she makes me up. you will think it is a totally different person. and it is sort of like pleasing her. and then i get all dressed up, and then she looks at it and says, "yes, you look great." and so, it just makes me feel so successful, you know. and having, you know, grown up really with very low self-esteem, it's like i've achieved something, which of
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course, i've achieved nothing at all. so, anyway, you see me totally as my inner person again. oh. more interesting. >> yes. >> don't you think? >> divine. >> yes, divine. >> okay. >> okay, so, those are it. >> so, those are it. >> okay, we'll put these here. >> yes. >> you know, i think my mom has lived many different lives and has sort of inhabited many different skins. and you look at pictures of her through the ages, and she looks like a completely different person. do you remember when you started being photographed? >> i started being photographed for "harpers bazaar" when i was 15, by louise della wolf, and i just loved it, you know. i really did.
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i just felt like a movie star, you know? and i felt girly and beautiful. it was the first time they put makeup on me, too, which of course, i loved. and they put pancake makeup on, lipstick and everything. grown up. ♪ ♪ colors yeverywhere, she combs her hair, she's like a rainbow ♪ ♪ coming colors in the air everywhe everywhere, she comes in colors ♪ ♪ >> you look amazing! sit down. give me a tool again? >> she's curious, i think, to see what her reflection is in a
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camera lens. it's interesting sort of the persona that she adopts for whoever the photographer was, whether it was richard ebanaugh or horst, morath. >> gordon parks. i mean, i really had no sense of my identity. it just took me a long time to get it all together. ♪ have you seen her dressed in blue ♪ ♪ see the sky in front of you ♪ and her face is like a sail, so fair and pale ♪ >> gorgeous. ♪ she combs her hair, she's like a rainbow ♪ >> nice. >> i remember as a kid there being like photo shoots and, you know, dressing up.
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i feel like i lived my entire childhood in costumes, like a sailor suit and a horse riding suit. and that's frankly how i walked through the day, which was very strange looking back on it, but i liked, like military style, so i was always in different war outfits and uniforms. >> then sometimes we would dress up in leopard costumes or something. i remember they said, okay, now you start over there. i just want you to run towards me really fast, you know. that was one of the shoots, where we were running towards him. ♪ >> meeting him changed my life. i met sidney lumet through him. i never thought i'd marry again unless it was somebody that was involved in work that i was doing. so sidney, of course, was perfect for that. >> in madness pray for storms and dreams that storms will
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bring him peace. >> sidney? >> oh, sidney used to draw mouse drawings. i have literally thousands of them. >> "mr. mouse says you'd better love me." >> he would do hundreds of them and always sort of leave them. >> what does that say? >> "i'm so in love with you." >> i've always had a fear of abandonment, but it was really sort of i will abandon you before you abandon me. that has been very much something that's there, you know, which i've had to sort of fight against. we were married for seven years, and i felt very guilty because
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he wanted children, and i kept putting it off because i wanted to act. then he started saying, you don't love me enough, which possibly was true. i started feeling very badly about myself and guilty. and then being angry at him for making me feel that way, things like that, you know. >> what is it? >> i can't stand another minute of this hypocrisy. >> you leave now, we're through. hello, there. >> then we're through. i've had it. >> how are you, my dear? >> i never want to see you again. >> suits me fine. >> how are you? >> hello there. >> is that all you can say after all our years together? >> no, there is one thing i'd like you to know, darling. >> what's that? >> i'm counting on your vote. >> hello there. >> then how'd you meet my father? >> well, sidney and i went for dinner at mcgrath's.
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wyatt cooper was there, and he was an actor. >> hey, mark. >> wyatt! >> good luck tonight. >> he had become a screenwriter when i met him. lewine said afterwards that he was impressed with me. and i was impressed with him, you know. otherwise, you wouldn't be here. >> but you were still married to sidney at the time. >> yes. >> my mom and sidney separated and divorced when i was about 12. that was difficult for me, of course, but on the other hand, i could see how happy my mom was. >> i had an awful lot to work out in my life, and it took me years and years and years to work it out. but when i married wyatt, i knew it was for life.
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>> my dad wanted you to re-establish contact with your mom? >> yes. he was a great help in that. ♪ >> she then had something called hysterical blindness, which you're not blind, but you're psychologically something happens so that you can't see. i felt, why was i afraid of this sad person, you know? who was so gentle. i mean, she was like a butterfly, you know? >> when mom's mother, for the first time i met her when i was 13 or 14, and just, she visited. and i thought to myself, wow, this is my grandmother, and this is the first time i'm meeting
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her. >> so when she reconnected with her mother, that's when you met her mother for the first time. >> yeah. >> do you remember what she was like? >> she was very sort of formally dressed and very prim and slightly reserved. we didn't have much conversation, but i knew that it was an important event. >> we went into my studio, and we really didn't talk about anything except chitchat, you know, which of course, i regret now. she died the day after carter was born. and the last time i spoke to her on the phone was just a few hours after he was born. and of course, i wanted a girl, and i was going to tell her i was going to call her gloria. i almost was going to lie to her
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and tell her it was a girl, because i knew that she was so ill, but i didn't. and when i told her, she said, oh, gloria, you're going to start a baseball team. those were her last words to me. ♪ >> one night before i was going to sleep, i thought, i'm going to count all of the terrible regrets of my life, you know, because now i'm able to face
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them. so i started to count my regrets, you know. it was not easy. >> you don't want to go into them? >> well, my greatest regret, i said i wasn't with her when she died. when i left stokowski, there were things that were happening so fast, you know? and i kind of lost, lost her again, but she never stopped writing. and then the last letter i got, which was typewritten, was to say that she had died, you know. >> where did she die? or do you know when or -- >> with catholic charities.
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nothing is the way we think it's going to be. it really isn't ever. >> one thing she said to me is that she's never had a plan for her life, which i just find amazing. >> it's kind of like working a tight rope all the time. and then you have to stay on the tight rope so you don't fall off, you know? >> and so, my dad brought something to the table that she hadn't experienced before. i mean, he had a plan for what a family life was going to be like and what they were going to be like as parents. i think that was a big part of the appeal for my mom.
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it's interesting, because i mean, they could not have been from more different worlds, you know? my dad came from this relatively poor family in mississippi, had two parents for most of his childhood and brothers and sisters and had family reunions and relatives who were all around. >> you're listening to wyatt cooper reminiscing with life within a large rural southern family. >> these were joyous occasions for me to see all those colorful people of such variety gathered in holiday mood with their jokes and their laughter and their familiarity with each other, was as exciting a thing as i knew. they belonged to me and we had claims on one another. >> sort of scary in a way, because i'm kind of a loner, but i've had to learn to belong to a family. >> wyatt brought that kind of gentle feeling of family, and they were having their kids. so, i did feel a little bit like it was a new generation, which
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it was. you know, i was 16 when anderson was born. there wasn't enough time, really, for us to all be together. so it felt like two different families in a lot of ways. >> i think my dad helped my mom learn what a parent was supposed to do and see what a relationship with children could be like. >> when you were born, i was sure it was going to be a girl. >> you really wanted a girl? >> uh! i was meant to have daughters. >> i won't take it personally. >> there was a fertility drug which was then illegal to get in the united states. and i want to charlie's in switzerland, and a friend from rome brought it there and then we all strapped it to me, you know, before -- >> charlie chaplain helped strap drugs to --
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>> to my body. anyway, suddenly, i for the first time, i had a family, really. ♪ >> there was a conscious decision of you and daddy to include us in things? >> well, it never occurred that we wouldn't, you know. you were included in everything from the beginning. >> and i think that we can involve our children much more in our own lives. if somebody's coming over, my kids meet them, talk with them, and then i encourage them to express opinions afterward about the adults. because one of the things that's so beneficial in the extended family is that there was such diversity in it. there's the family drunk and there's the uncle who's very rich and then the one who's always poor. so, you learn that there are many kinds of people in the world.
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>> capote and charlie chaplain came. you know, it was all these people i saw in movies and saw on television, and we were always sitting next to the people, and we were to make conversation and considered on equal par with everybody else. my dad wrote a book called "families," i think as a letter to my brother and i. and he wrote it i think because he didn't know if he would be around, and he wanted there to be something that my brother and i could read and go to as we got older and sort of hear his voice. >> i see myself in my two sons, in their youth, their promise, their possibilities. i hear those tender and stalwart little men asking the questions i asked and am still asking. >> i didn't know my dad was sick. i just remember one instance
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where he was lifting some bags and my mom got annoyed that we weren't helping lift the bags. it was the first indication i got that there was something, some sort of physical thing. he had had a heart attack. heart disease was in his family. but it wasn't until i was 10, right before christmas. so, it would have been december of '77 that he went to the hospital. and at the time, i don't know, they had a rule that kids weren't allowed to go to the icu to visit. at some point we were kind of snuck in, because i think somebody realized things weren't going well. and i remember just seeing him once in the hospital. and i hated seeing him like that. i hated him, you know, sort of seeing him in a weakened state. >> he said to me that he'd like to be buried in, you know, where my family was buried, because it was near new york and we could go and visit him, the grave. and i said, you're not going to
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die. i mean, i was just -- it was just an inconceive abable -- yo know. i mean, i says, "you're not going to die." and he said, "i'm not?" as if i knew something that he didn't know. and i said, "no, you're not going to die." >> and then it was only -- it was five days after the new year, january 5th, that he died. >> we are gathered here today as the family and friends of wyatt cooper pay our respects in this way to the life which he lived. and all of us who count ourselves among his closest friends and loved ones will always be appreciative of the love and the understanding and all that gloria brought to his
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life with the sons and with the beauty of home and the magnificent world on the outside. it was here that the family became his magnificent obsession. >> i tell you, we used to really go crazy for christmas. and then wyatt died on january 5th, and from then on, we never had a tree or anything. so, we've never sort of done anything since. >> i mean, i was 10 years old, so i don't think it had much reality to me.
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i just felt like over a relatively short course of time i had changed. i think i just got a lot quieter, or just less -- i think the person i was before that was a lot more interesting, a lot more outgoing, funny, and sort of a more compelling character than i am now or that i became. i didn't want there to be more surprises down the road, and i wanted to be able to take care of the people in my circle. i wanted to be able to take care of my mom, i wanted to be able to take care of my nurse and my brother. i started to -- i mean, i was 11 or something by then, and i think i got a job as a child model. and then i remember soon after my dad died seeing some -- i think it was in a jacques cousteau special that if sharks stop moving forward that they die because they can't breathe without forcing water through their gills by the forward
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motion. that notion has always really resonated with me. the need to continue to move forward and to continue to breathe. >> i do think the point of view that it's only once that you accept that life is a tragedy that you can start to live. i do believe that. >> did you worry about being a single mother? >> i didn't really think of ever getting married again. i thought i could kind of do it on my own, you know? and very soon after that, the whole jeans thing started.
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so i was sort of thrown into -- i was really occupied all the time. >> gloria, you're terrific. >> yeah, they don't cut or pinch anywhere. what makes them so comfortable? >> they are my new stretch denim jeans and they are a pleasure to wear. >> my brother and i had this game. we would count how many times we saw her name on somebody's bottom throughout the day. >> she put her name on blue jeans. that was pretty brave. and i don't think it pleased everybody. >> what would the commodore have to say? [ laughter ] think about his name on some young girl's bottom, i guess. >> well, i think he would be so dazzled and so impressed at my success in the world of business. >> this is gloria vanderbilt, the woman who invented designer jeans and almost overnight changed the way america dresses. >> the big realization for me in the past year is how similar i am to my mom, which i never,
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ever thought of before. i've gone my entire life thinking i'm exactly like my dad. i look a lot like him. but i realize now i'm very much my mom's son, and we're a lot alike in a lot of ways. some people are sucked under by tragedy and loss, and it destroys them, and some people it propels them forward. and i think it certainly has my mom and it certainly has with me. >> we've heard of a little bit of a levee problem in the new orleans area. have you had any updates from the hurricane center of that? >> i just want to show you some shot of some people from this town i've just driven by. a man holding up an american flag. well -- um -- sorry. i'm joined on the phone by -- i'm joined by some parents.
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>> it was a strange experience, because suddenly, i found myself in places i had been with my dad when i was a kid that i hadn't even remembered. ended up there was a restaurant in biloxi, mary mahoney's, that had gotten flooded. and i went to do a story on it and bob mahoney came out, the owner, and he said, "hey, anderson, welcome back." and i was like, what do you mean welcome back? he was like, you were here with your dad. >> you just came from the water park and you had a bathing suit on and your towel around you and you and your daddy sat here. >> this is the room we ate in. >> this is the room you ate in. >> for me it united my past with my present. it united the past with my dad and it was the present with what i do and also it was all about loss. everything was about loss. we like to think, you know, we've moved beyond things or gotten over things, but i think it's all still there. i've always thought i wanted
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kids, but i also realize my limitations. i need sort of time in my head, and i don't know that you can have that when you're a parent. and i would also have to change my career totally. i would want to be the kind of dad my dad was. so i definitely don't feel like as much as i used to feel like i really, really, really want to have kids. i think a part of it is realizing how much like my mom i am, and if you're never content and you have that restlessness and you have that drive, that's a tough thing sometimes to incorporate with kids and a family. i just always remember my mom having this kind of look behind her eyes. it was almost like a faraway
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look. it's one of the really -- i don't know, there's something about it. it's -- i mean, it's very sad to me that, you know, all these things that she sort of wanted are, in some ways so simple. business. e fr when work takes you across the globe, your unlimited data travels with you to 140 plus countries and destinations at no extra charge. and that's not all. because with t-mobile there's no overages. ever. switch your business to t-mobile at work. and get four lines. with 10gb of 4g lte data each for just $35 per line. nobody does business data like t-mobile.
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♪ what do you want to say about carter? >> about who? >> carter. >> oh, darling.
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well, he's always with me, you know. you know, when he died, i went to bed for about, i don't know, three weeks? and all i did was cry. and i haven't cried since. it's like there's not a tear left. >> gloria vanderbilt is under a doctor's care today following the apparent suicide of her son, carter cooper. cooper jumped from the 14th-floor terrace of her manhattan penthouse.
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gloria vanderbilt witnessed the suicide. police say he left no note. he was 23 years old. >> i mean, my mom has told me this story, i don't know how many hundreds of times, you know, i've heard of, of exactly what happened in those final hours and minutes and seconds. but it still doesn't make sense to me. i always thought we were close, and then i realized, i mean, the fact that he would kill himself in that way and i would have no indication whatsoever tells me that in some ways we weren't that close. and i always sort of imagined that we would become friends as adults, we would get through our childhoods and meet up later on and then kind of reflect back on things. but, you know. i think my father's death was
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harder on carter. and i completely didn't realize that at the time. he was two years older than i was, so he had even a more mature relationship with my dad. i do realize now sort of how hard that would have been on him. >> carter was made for joy, but he knew from losing his father that terrible things happen, and you can't prevent them from happening. we met at princeton. you know, i had a crush on him from afar. but the spring term of my senior year, we started spending time together. then the last few months i just remember carter's mood getting
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darker. and i think it was because he had bad asthma, and he hated the medication. it made him speedy and sort of jagged. he eventually moved to washington, and that's sort of when we kind of had a natural breaking off point. it was just kind of a beautiful, bittersweet good-bye. i don't know. i don't know why i will always remember that he was wearing a slightly silly red flannel shirt and jeans. that was my last glimpse of him. >> i was on a crew team and i had crew racing new york. and he came to see it. and afterward, we went back home. and for the first time ever, he
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seemed to be in some sort of a disturbed state, and he was sleeping at my mom's house. he clearly had some sort of -- was having some sort of emotional, i don't know even how to describe it, really. it was like he was scared. my mom was very concerned and he started seeing a therapist right after that. i happened to run into him on the street in early july. i think it was july 4th weekend. he said to me, the last time i saw you i was like an animal. and i didn't even really know what to say. and a, i was so surprised to just run into him, and i was so kind of happy that he could make light about the way he had been. to me, it just kind of seemed like, okay, he was making light of it, so it couldn't have been that serious, so i didn't even -- i don't know how i responded, what i said. we ended up having lunch together. and that was the last time i saw him.
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>> it was the night that dukakis gave his acceptance speech for the democratic nomination. and i was with my sister, and he was talking about jobs. >> jobs you can raise a family on, jobs you can build a future on, jobs you can count on. >> my sister said, jobs you hate. so i sort of giggled, and i called carter to just tell him this funny line of my sister's. and he was very emotional. and i said, "what is it?" and he started crying. he asked me if i would come over that night. and it's just awful to think about it now, but i had a pimple, like quite a large, substantial one. and i just thought, you know what, i don't want to go. i love him, and like, i'm still in love with him and i don't
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want to go over there with this, you know, pimple. and i said, why don't we get together tomorrow? >> that with one of the hottest days of summer. and he didn't want the air conditioning on, so it was very hot. and i think he fell asleep, and i think he woke up, and i think he was totally disoriented. because i know when he came in to me, i mean, he was like, "what's going on? what's going on?" and he was dazed. and then he ran. and i ran out. i said, "what is it? what is it, carter?" and he ran through the hall and ran up the stairs and ran through your room. and the terrace door was open. and i ran after him. and when i got up there, he was sitting on the ledge with one knee up and one knee down.
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he was looking down, you know. i was really very close behind him. i mean, i -- and i said, "carter, what are you doing?" and he put his hand up. i started to go towards him and he put his hand up to stop me. and i thought, you know, if i -- what i wanted to do was take him and grab one arm and grab him off, but i thought that might send him over, you know? and then i started getting down on my knees, and i said, i beg you. he said, don't, don't, don't, get up. so i got up. and then he started looking up at the sky, and there were planes coming over. he looked at one, and it was kind of like it was a signal. and then he jumped and he hung on to the ledge hanging down.
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and i said, "carter, come back!" and then he just let go. and it all happened like that. ♪ >> it's crazy to me that i've lived longer without him than i lived with him. there's moments that still, it hits me like a punch in the gut and i literally get vertigo or nausea. i still cannot believe the way he died. i cannot believe it.
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>> how did you survive? >> i really just cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried. ♪ >> you know, i think my mom early on, and maybe still to this day, doesn't refer to it so much as a suicide, because i think she has the impression, i think a lot of people do, that the term suicide implies there is some sort of intent, there's some sort of, you know, this was a conscious, intentious act. i don't know what he was doing. i don't know that he was looking to finally end his life. i believe he had some impulse. perhaps he had had it before, or some overwhelming fear or whatever it was. >> it was just an unbearable loss, and a crazy, senseless
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one. it is inconceivable that he would have jumped off the roof in front of his mother. >> i thought the worst thing that had ever happened to me was, you know, when i was 9. but that wasn't the worst. the worst is to lose a child. ♪ >> i thought of going over with him. almost did, really, except i thought of you.
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you know, i feel so that -- i mean, i failed so much in my life. i just, you know -- ♪ ♪
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>> i haven't been out here since -- >> the funeral. >> i think since the funeral. >> that does it.
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>> you know, went to the fireplace and hit him over the head when he started running up the stairs, you know? but it happened so quickly. >> it's nice to see them side by side. >> yes, it is. you know, i think of one thing i could to give him. do you know? i mean, if it had to happen. it would be inconceivable to
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him, you know. it was all of us, really, you know. ♪ >> maybe we'll come here in the spring some time. it's really pretty then.
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♪ >> you know, the thing i ultimately came to is that sometimes there isn't any why, or sometimes there is no -- you can't get an answer exactly why something happened. there's no way to actually get a final answer. and you just have to be able to kind of live in a world without why.
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♪ ♪ >> good evening, everyone. i'd like to welcome you to the carter cooper annual award for short fiction. it was an award that was established by gloria vanderbilt in memory of her son, carter cooper. >> say not of beauty she is good
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or ought the beautiful or sleek to dove's wings of the wood, her wild wings of a gull. call her not wicked, that word's touch consumes her like a curse, but love her not too much, too much, for that is even worse. oh, she is neither good nor bad but innocent and wild. enshrine her and she dies, who had the hard heart of a child. >> what does that mean to you? >> what does it mean to you? >> what does it mean to you? >> it means to me that i had the hard heart of a child from then on and that i could survive things, and i did.
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♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ here we are arms around each other, the quiet scene, pretty lights all over ♪ ♪ snow is falling and every is here together ♪ ♪ santa's sleighbells ringing in the distance some waiting for the mistletoe and kisses ♪ ♪ i'll remember this moment for the rest of my life ♪ ♪

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