Gloria Vanderbilt: Born into fortune, but not self-pity
She was known for flings with stars and high flyers, but there were many sides to the heiress, one of them unspeakably tragic
Gloria Vanderbilt, who has died at the age of 95, led the sort of opulent but rackety life guaranteed to induce a sense of smug self-satisfaction in those born without the advantages of birth, wealth, power and looks.
She possessed, then blew, two fortunes, put her name on designer jeans and perfume, had flings with Errol Flynn, Howard Hughes, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly, acquired, discarded or outlived four husbands and lost one of her four sons to suicide in unspeakably awful circumstances. Yet she managed to come through, refusing to sink into a mire of self-pity and self-destruction.
Given the unhappy circumstances of her upbringing and the tragedies she suffered during her life, it was a considerable achievement...