Anderson Cooper's mother Gloria Vanderbilt had been keeping a storage unit for decades—maybe even before he was born—and no one ever really knew what was in it. "My mom was constantly redecorating, so she would just send stuff to the storage unit," Cooper explained in a recent interview with WSJ. He said the movers "were always in our house, I knew them by name. At Christmas, they would give me gifts. The movers. That’s a sign that the movers are too involved in your life."
All this resulted in quite the accumulation of stuff, which Cooper moved into his own home 15 years ago. He says he's got it in two rooms now, but still hasn't gone through all of it. "You open one box and it’s a chandelier, you open another box and it’s Rice Krispies from 1953, then you open another box and it’s letters from Gordon Parks or Roald Dahl, just extraordinary history," he said.
When asked about his favorite find from Vanderbilt's storage, Cooper first brought up her journals ("just to hear her voice in that way is sort of startling, and to hear her write about me as well was really interesting"), then mentioned a letter from Vanderbilt's second husband, the conductor Leopold Stokowski.
"She once told me a story of how [Stokowski] wrote her a letter saying, 'Don’t let vanity fair fool you.' Not the magazine, but vanity fair, the idea of it. He was trying to encourage her to pursue painting and not the world of acting, and not getting sucked into a social world but to really focus on something that was important to her," Cooper said. "My mom really took that to heart. And I actually found the letter where he said that to her."
Judging by the "hundreds of paintings and drawings" he found among her storage, it certainly did have an impact.
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