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Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt
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Socialite
    (August 23, 1904-February 13, 1965)
    Born in Lucerne, Switzerland
    Birth name was Mercedes Morgan
    Identical twin of socialite Thelma Furness
    Married heir Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt (1923-25)
    Mother of designer Gloria Vanderbilt
    Grandmother of Anderson Cooper
    The press dubbed her 'big Gloria' to distinguish her from 'little Gloria.'
    She would go months at a time without seeing little Gloria while traveling in Europe.
    She lost custody of little Gloria to her sister-in-law, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney.
    The custody trial was a tabloid sensation, with allegations of lesbian affairs.
    Her mother publicly sided with Whitney.
    Little Gloria's comments at the trial about her mother included, 'She has never been nice to me' and 'She never even kissed me goodnight.'
    She and her twin sister were famed society beauties even as teens.
    Her husband drank himself to death after two and half years of marriage.
    Much of the evidence against her was hearsay that really should not have been allowed in court.
    She called the accusations 'a riot of character assassination.'
    Although she was accused of wanting custody solely so she could continue drawing a salary as administrator of her daughter's trust fund, she declined a hefty lump sum from Whitney to relinquish her claim to little Gloria.
    She attempted with some success to reconcile with her daughter in her later years.

Credit: C. Fishel


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