Wyatt Emory Cooper
|Wyatt Emory Cooper|
September 1, 1927|
Quitman, Mississippi, U.S.
|Died||January 5, 1978
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
|Cause of death||Complications from heart attack|
|Occupation||American author and screenwriter|
(m. 1963; his death 1978)
|Children||2, including Anderson Cooper|
Wyatt Emory Cooper (September 1, 1927 – January 5, 1978) was an American author and screenwriter, known for being the fourth husband of Vanderbilt heiress and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt and the father of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.
Life and career
Wyatt Emory Cooper was born in the small town of Quitman, Mississippi, outside of Meridian, Mississippi, the son of Rixie Jane Annie (née Anderson) and Emmet Debro Cooper. Cooper was from a poor family with deep Southern roots, and later moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, as a young child. In his twenties, Cooper moved to New York City to pursue acting. When Cooper was 26, he appeared on Broadway in the cast of The Strong Are Lonely, a drama that ran for a week at the Broadhurst Theatre in the fall of 1953. Cooper also wrote stories and plays.
In his thirties, Cooper lived in Los Angeles, attended both UCLA and UC Berkeley, and worked as a screenwriter. While residing in West Hollywood, then an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, Cooper lived near Dorothy Parker and her husband Alan Campbell. A close friendship developed, and a year after Mrs. Parker's death in 1967, Cooper published an incisive and widely read profile in Esquire magazine, entitled, "Whatever You Think Dorothy Parker Was Like, She Wasn't." Cooper moved to Manhattan in the early 1960s, and worked there as a magazine editor.
On December 24, 1963, he married heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, becoming her fourth husband. The photogenic couple frequently appeared on the national "best-dressed" list. They had two sons: Carter Vanderbilt Cooper (1965-1988) and Anderson Cooper (b. 1967), who became a prominent CNN anchor. Wyatt Cooper wrote in his 1975 memoir, "It is in the family that we learn almost all we ever know of loving. In my sons' youth, their promise, their possibilities, my stake in immortality is invested." Wyatt Cooper died in Manhattan, New York City on January 5, 1978, at age 50, during open heart surgery, after having a heart attack the previous December.
- Barnwell, Marion (1997). A Place Called Mississippi: Collected Narratives. University Press of Mississippi.
- Cooper, Wyatt. "Whatever You Think Dorothy Parker Was Like, She Wasn't." Esquire. July 1968. pp. 56–61, 110–14
- Kleiman, Dena (6 January 1978). "Whatt Cooper Dies; Screenplay Writer". New York Times.