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George Christy Talks About Anderson Cooper, MTV Movie And TV Awards, Gloria Vanderbilt, and more!

Nick Kroll with friends during the 2019 MTV Movie And TV Awards at Barker Hangar
Elisabeth Moss
Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani
Laura Marano and Vanessa Marano

Posted Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 5:14 pm

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Speculation will continue for who-knows-how-long about Gloria Vanderbilt’s wealth.

Deemed American Royalty, it’s no secret that Gloria’s fortune had dwindled.

“As competition from other designer labels increased in the late 1980’s, her fashion income faded. She continued to spend lavishly, a lifelong habit, and gossip columnists reported that she had fallen on hard times. A partnership she formed with her lawyer and a psychiatrist soured. In 1993, she sued them and won a $1.5 million judgment, but collected almost nothing.

“Two years later, she was hit with federal and state liens for back taxes totaling $2.7 million, and needed to sell her East Side townhouse and her home in Southampton, N.Y., to satisfy the judgments. She denied being broke, but she moved into a small Manhattan apartment owned by Anderson Cooper. ‘The place’ was ‘not appropriate to my feelings about sunlight and beauty,’ she said, but she insisted that she still had ‘my talent and my energy,’” reports Robert D. McFadden in The New York Times.

A tastemaker par excellence, Gloria’s life continued to be much debated. Her beauty radiated a room whenever we joined her for lunch or dinner.

In New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco.

In New York, we would meet at the Isle of Capri on East 61st Street and Third Avenue, where Tennessee Williams sipped his pre-lunch martini after completing his morning ritual of writing two or three pages of his plays or remembrances.

When we complimented Gloria on her great gift of design and decorating, she replied, “Decorating is autobiography.”

Her black-tie dinners at the East 67th Street townhouse were marvels of perfection. The candlelit tablescapes, of course, and the delicious food. Among her favorite dishes was Nora’s chicken pot pie topped with a crust of crunchy corn flakes.

“Isn’t this delicious?” remarked our seatmate, novelist Fannie Hurst (Imitation Of Life, which starred Lana Turner).

Gloria filled the table of twelve with artists and musicians. “I’m devoting my life to the arts,” she claimed.

We dined at a small Nob Hill bistro in San Francisco during a weekend when she and Wyatt Cooper served as the best man and best woman during the wedding of Denise Minnelli and department store tycoon Prentis Cobb Hale. “How my husband and I got roped into this circus is a story for the ages.”

While in the Bay area, Gloria exhibited her floral paintings of primula’s and pansies at the Hoover Gallery. All sold out.

“I never worry about what other people think of me. One can never change their minds, so why waste time trying … I’m always in love. If it’s not with a man, it’s something else. I love beauty. I love the sky I see outside my window … The craving to be famous is like an insidious disease. No matter how well known you become, it’s never enough. It never satisfies … I have a tremendous appetite for life. The phone rings and your whole life can change.”

“Death is the price you paid for being born.”

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