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Anderson Cooper journalist life, biography, photos, and family – Business Insider

Anderson Cooper babyAnderson Cooper baby

Anderson Cooper announced the birth of his son on CNN on April 30.

Screenshot/CNN


  • Anderson Cooper is one of television’s most recognizable news anchors.
  • After he was born into a privileged family in New York high-society life, the journalism icon experienced adventure and tragedy.
  • On April 30, Cooper announced that his son, Wyatt Morgan Cooper, was born via surrogacy on April 27.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Though now known as the lead anchor and face of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” Anderson Cooper has led a life of adventure, tragedy, and celebrity as he has appeared right at home in high society and war-torn countries alike across the world. 

Cooper has been a household name since he was born to the model, socialite, and heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, long before he led political coverage on one of the most prominent American news networks. 

In perhaps his most memorable report to date, Cooper remembered his time alongside his famous mother as a “great blessing” and said he felt “very lonely” as the last living member of his immediate family. 

On April 30, Cooper announced that his son, Wyatt Morgan Cooper, was born via surrogacy on April 27.

See how Cooper made his own name. 

Anderson Hays Cooper was born in New York City on June 3, 1967.

anderson cooper

Gloria Vanderbilt with her sons Anderson Cooper, left, and Carter Vanderbilt Cooper in their home on March 30, 1972, in Southampton, Long Island, New York.


Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Image



He is the second son of the writer Wyatt Emory Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt, a well-known designer, railroad-fortune heiress, and socialite.

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Family portrait of the Coopers on March 30, 1972.


Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images



In addition to her famous last name, Vanderbilt came to be known for her creative prowess through art, writing, and design.

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Vanderbilt sitting amid a group of models bending over to accent the rear of her designer jeans.


Evelyn Floret/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images



Vanderbilt cemented her legacy with a skinny jean that bore her signature on the back pocket.

Because of his family’s place at the top of New York City society, Cooper grew up in the public eye.

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Vanderbilt and her sons, Carter Vanderbilt Cooper, left, and Anderson Cooper in New York City in March 1976.


Susan Wood/Getty Images



After his father died, Anderson and his brother Carter were often pictured alongside their mother at public appearances.

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Vanderbilt with Anderson and Carter in 1980.


PL Gould/IMAGES/Getty Images



Like his mother, Cooper modeled. At age 10, he signed with Ford Models, appearing in ads for Macy’s and Ralph Lauren.

Cooper said he stopped modeling at 13 after a male photographer propositioned him.

Cooper went on to attend the exclusive Dalton School before studying journalism at Yale University, from which he graduated in 1989.

Yale University



AP Photo/Beth J. Harpaz


Source: Yale Daily News

Tragedy struck the family again when his 21-year-old brother Carter took his own life in front of their mother when he went over the balcony of her high-rise Manhattan apartment.

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Carter Cooper at Limelight in New York City.


Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images



Source: People

After graduation, Cooper struggled to find an on-air reporting gig and instead invented his own.

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Screenshot via YouTube



Bored by his time in his first job as a fact-checker, Cooper faked a press pass and traveled on his own to Myanmar, where he single-handedly shot video segments on the border of Thailand and Myanmar on refugees’ clashes with government forces.

Channel One then bought the footage and promoted Cooper from fact-checker to correspondent, after which he reported and produced stories to capture deadly conflicts in Bosnia, Cambodia, Haiti, Israel, Myanmar, Russia, Rwanda, Somalia, and South Africa. 

At ABC, Cooper led reports from all over the world before assuming a coanchor role on the network’s “World News Now.”

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Anderson Cooper reporting from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1997 for ABC News.


Malcolm Linton /ABC via Getty Images



Taking a hiatus from news that he later blamed on the thankless schedule, Cooper hosted the ABC reality show “The Mole” but left to return to news after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The Mole




YouTube screencap



“My last year at ABC, I was working overnights anchoring this newscast then during the day at 20/20,” Anderson later said. “I was sleeping in two- or four-hour shifts, and I was really tired and wanted a change. I wanted to clear my head and get out of news a little bit, and I was interested in reality TV — and it was interesting.”

Cooper said he decided to make his exit because “two seasons was enough, and 9/11 happened, and I thought I needed to be getting back to news.”

In 2001, Cooper joined CNN as a weekend anchor before moving to a prime-time role in 2003 after the Iraq War.

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Cooper at the Republican National Convention in Madison Square Garden.


Shepard Sherbell/Corbis via Getty Images



On September 8, 2003, Cooper made his debut as host of “Anderson Cooper 360.”

anderson cooper 360

Anderson Cooper visits the The AC360° Experience: Your Digital Newsstand in Central Park on November 1, 2010 in New York City.


Shahar Azran/WireImage



Source: CNN

Cooper led the network’s coverage of several important events, including the 2004 presidential election.

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Cooper and Sean “Diddy” Combs at the 2004 Republican National Convention.


Carley Margolis/FilmMagic



He became a familiar on-air fixture as he rubbed shoulders with several big names during the race as he emerged as a prominent voice in the political arena.

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U2 lead singer Bono, left, is interviewed by Cooper during the Democratic National Convention in Boston on July 27, 2004.


Victoria Arocho/AP



Major news moments like former President Ronald Reagan’s June 2004 death also gave Cooper time at the front of the network.

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Cooper where mourners lined up outside the US Capitol to pay their respects to President Ronald Reagan.


Pete Mitchell/WireImage



It was his on-air reporting in the September 2005 aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that launched him to become a household name as he provided emotional accounts of the devastation in New Orleans.

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Cooper during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as he interviews members of the New Orleans Police Department.


Lindsay Brice/Getty Images



Cooper’s empathetic reporting was so widely watched it was mocked on “Saturday Night Live.”

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Amy Poehler as Sharon Stone, Seth Meyers as Anderson Cooper, Horatio Sanz as Aaron Neville during an “Anderson Cooper 360” skit on October 1, 2005.


Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images



In May 2007, Cooper released his book “Dispatches from the Edge” that chronicled his experiences reporting from war zones.

anderson cooper book




Screenshot via Amazon



Source: Amazon

As he garnered professional success, Cooper maintained a relatively private personal life before coming out as gay in 2012.

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Cooper in 2018.


John Lamparski/WireImage



Cooper pushed back on prying questions about his personal life in a 2005 interview with New York magazine. Cooper said he didn’t talk publicly about his personal life because of the possibility it would distract from his role as a reporter.

“The whole thing about being a reporter is that you’re supposed to be an observer and to be able to adapt with any group you’re in, and I don’t want to do anything that threatens that,” he said.

However, in 2012, Cooper announced in a widely circulated email that he was gay, writing that he decided it would do more harm if he continued to dodge the question.

“It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid,” Cooper wrote. “This is distressing because it is simply not true. I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible.”

During his time at CNN and as a correspondent for CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Cooper scooped up 16 Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, and an Edward R. Murrow Award.

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Cooper in 2011 CNN.


JB Lacroix/WireImage



Source: CNN

Another of Cooper’s regular gigs includes hosting “New Year’s Live,” where he has entertained viewers since 2003.

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Cooper attends New Year’s Eve 2011 with Carson Daly at Times Square on December 31, 2010, in New York City.


Joe Corrigan/Getty Images



Cooper became a regular fixture on the program alongside Kathy Griffin while the two were cohosts for 10 years before Griffin’s dramatic exit after a controversial photo shoot with a fake version of President Donald Trump’s bloodied head.

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Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin host “New Year’s Eve Live” on CNN during New Year’s Eve 2017.


Noam Galai/FilmMagic



Cooper and Griffin both publicly talked about their friendship before Griffin’s photo controversy, but amid the backlash against Griffin, Cooper publicly called the photoclearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.”

Following those comments, Cooper said he was still friends with Griffin and wished her the best, but Griffin said their friendship was over. 

Source: People

Griffin was later replaced by Cooper’s friend and Bravo personality Andy Cohen.

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Andy Cohen and Cooper host CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage.


Taylor Hill/FilmMagic



Source: Bravo

In 2016, Cooper released a book he wrote with his mother that offered personal reflections on their close relationship.

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Amazon



The Rainbow Comes and Goes” came after Cooper and Vanderbilt resolved to keep up close correspondence as he was buried in work and she dealt with a newly onset illness. The book contains a year-long record of correspondence between the mother and son, who reflect on their family’s tragedies and share tokens of wisdom. 

As the 2016 campaign heated up, Cooper was at the front of coverage on key moments like the real-estate tycoon Donald Trump’s emergence as a Republican presidential candidate.

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Donald Trump after taping an interview with Cooper on July 22, 2015.


Spencer Platt/Getty Images



Cooper was selected in 2016 to co-moderate one of the three debates between Trump and Hillary Clinton.

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Hillary Clinton, moderator Cooper, and Trump during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016, in St Louis.


Jim Bourg-Pool/Getty Images



Outside his reporting duties, Cooper has established a celebrity identity while appearing at events like New York Fashion Week alongside famous friends, including actress Sarah Jessica Parker and Cohen.

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Sarah Jessica Parker, Cohen, and Cooper.


Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for IMG



In 2011, he was honored with a wax lookalike, cementing his status among the world’s most recognizable celebrities.

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Cooper unveils his wax figure at Madame Tussauds on September 14, 2011, in New York City.


Charles Eshelman/WireImage



The anchor came to be one of Trump’s top critics, often criticizing the administration during the “Keeping Them Honest” segment of “Anderson Cooper 360.”

Anderson Cooper

Anderson Cooper

YouTube


Source: Business Insider

In what is arguably Cooper’s most memorable segment to date, he memorialized his mother who died on June 17, 2019, at the age of 95.

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Cooper and Vanderbilt on April 14, 2016.


Jenny Anderson/WireImage



Cooper said on air that the time he spent with her after her June 8 cancer diagnosis was a “great blessing” and he now felt “very lonely” after her death.

“I never realized until now how much she was my North Star, things seem a lot less bright and magical without her,” he said. “My dad died when I was 10, and my brother when I was 21. She was the last of my immediate family, the last person who knew me from the beginning. They’re all gone, and it feels very lonely right now. I hope they are at least together.”

On April 30, Cooper announced the birth of his son Wyatt Morgan Cooper.

—Jason K. Morrell (@CNNJason) May 1, 2020

He said his son is named after his dad, who died when he was 10. 

“I hope I can be as good a dad as he was,” he said. 

He said his son’s middle name comes from a family name on his mother’s side.

“As a gay kid, I never thought it would be possible to have a child, and I am so grateful to all those who paved the way,” he said. 

More:

Features
Anderson Cooper
Biography
Gloria Vanderbilt

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