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Anderson Hays Cooper (born June 3, 1967) is an American journalist, author, and television personality. He currently works as the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°. The program is normally broadcast live from a New York City studio; however, Cooper often broadcasts live on location for breaking news stories. He also frequently guest hosts on Live with Regis and Kelly.

Early life and education

Anderson Hays Cooper was born on June 3, 1967, in New York City, the younger son of the writer Wyatt Emory Cooper and the artist, designer, writer, and heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, great-great-grandaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt of the prominent Vanderbilt shipping fortune.

Cooper's media experience began early. As a baby, he was photographed by Diane Arbus for Harper's Bazaar. At the age of three, Cooper was a guest on The Tonight Show on September 17, 1970, appearing with his mother. From age 10 to 13, Cooper modeled with Ford Models for Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Macy'smarker.

Cooper's father suffered a series of heart attacks, and died January 5, 1978, while undergoing open-heart surgery at the age of 50. This is said to have affected the young Cooper "enormously." He has said, in retrospect, "I think I’m a lot like my father in several ways," including "that we look a lot alike and that we have a similar sense of humor and a love of storytelling." Cooper considers his father's book Families to be "sort of a guide he would have wanted me to live my life and the choices he would have wanted me to make. And so I feel very connected to him."

During the second semester of his senior year at The Dalton Schoolmarker, at age 17, Cooper went to southern Africa in a "13-ton British Army truck" during which time he contracted malaria and required hospitalization in Kenyamarker. Describing the experience, Cooper wrote "Africa was a place to forget and be forgotten in."

Cooper's older brother, Carter Vanderbilt Cooper, committed suicide on July 22, 1988, at age 23, by jumping from the 14th-floor terrace of Vanderbilt's New York City penthouse apartment. Gloria Vanderbilt later wrote about her son's death in the book A Mother's Story, in which she expresses her belief that the suicide was caused by a psychotic episode induced by an allergy to the anti-asthma prescription drug salbutamol. Anderson cites Carter's suicide for sparking his interest in journalism. "Loss is a theme that I think a lot about, and it’s something in my work that I dwell on. I think when you experience any kind of loss, especially the kind I did, you have questions about survival: Why do some people thrive in situations that others can’t tolerate? Would I be able to survive and get on in the world on my own?"

Cooper graduated from The Dalton Schoolmarker in 1985. He continued his education at Yale Universitymarker, where he resided in Trumbull College, and claimed membership in Manuscript Society. He studied both Political Science and International Relations and graduated in 1989.

During college, he spent two summers as an intern at the Central Intelligence Agency. Although he technically has no formal journalistic education, he opted to pursue a career in journalism rather than stay with the agency after school, having been a "news junkie" "since I was 'in utero.' "

After his first correspondence work in the early 1990s, he took a break from reporting and lived in Vietnammarker for a year, during which time he studied the Vietnamese language at the University of Hanoi. Speaking on his experiences in Vietnam on C-SPAN's Students & Leaders, he said he has since forgotten how to speak the language.

Career history

Channel One

After Cooper graduated from Yale University, he tried to gain entry-level employment with ABC answering telephones, but was unsuccessful. Finding it hard to get his foot in the door of on-air reporting, Cooper decided to enlist the help of a friend in making a fake press pass. At the time, Cooper was working as a fact checker for the small news agency Channel One, which produces a youth-oriented news program that is broadcast to many junior high and high schools in the United States. Cooper then entered Myanmar on his own with his forged press pass and met with students fighting the Burmese government. He was ultimately able to sell his home-made news segments to Channel One.

After reporting from Burma, Cooper lived in Vietnam for a year to study Vietnamese language at the University of Hanoi. Persuading Channel One to allow him to bring a Hi-8 camera with him, Anderson soon began filming and assembling reports of Vietnamese life and culture that aired on Channel One. He later returned to filming stories from a variety of war-torn regions around the globe, including Somaliamarker, Bosniamarker and Rwandamarker. Haunted by his brother's suicide, Cooper explains, "The only thing I really knew is that I was hurting and needed to go someplace where the pain outside matched the pain I was feeling inside." Cooper describes himself as having become "fascinated with conflict" during this dangerous period of his life.

On assignment for several years, Cooper had slowly become desensitized to the violence he was witnessing around him; the horrors of the Rwandan Genocide became trivial: "I would see a dozen bodies and think, you know, it's a dozen, it's not so bad". One particular incident however snapped him out of it:


In 1995, Cooper became a correspondent for ABC News, eventually rising to the position of co-anchor on its overnight World News Now program on September 21, 1999. In 2000 he switched career paths, taking a job as the host of ABC's reality show The Mole:

Cooper was also a fill-in co-host for Regis Philbin for the TV talk show Live with Regis and Kelly in 2007 when Philbin underwent triple- bypass heart surgery. He recapped the show for viewers of Anderson Cooper 360°, often poking fun at the way he laughed.


He left The Mole after its second season to return to broadcast news in 2001 at CNN, commenting: "Two seasons was enough, and 9/11 happened, and I thought I needed to be getting back to news." His first position at CNN was to anchor alongside Paula Zahn on American Morning. In 2002 he became CNN's weekend prime-time anchor. Since 2002, he has hosted CNN's New Year's Eve special from Times Square. On September 8, 2003, he was made anchor of Anderson Cooper 360°.

Describing his philosophy as an anchor, Cooper has said:

Cooper covered a number of important stories in 2005, including the tsunami damagemarker in Sri Lankamarker; the Cedar Revolution in Beirutmarker, Lebanonmarker; the death of Pope John Paul II; and the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.

During CNN coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he confronted Sen. Mary Landrieu, Sen. Trent Lott, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson about their perception of the government response. As Cooper said later in an interview with New York magazine, “Yeah, I would prefer not to be emotional and I would prefer not to get upset, but it’s hard not to when you’re surrounded by brave people who are suffering and in need.” As Broadcasting & Cable magazine noted, "In its aftermath, Hurricane Katrina served to usher in a new breed of emo-journalism, skyrocketing CNN's Anderson Cooper to superstardom as CNN's golden boy and a darling of the media circles because of his impassioned coverage of the storm."

In August 2005, he covered the Niger famine from Maradimarker.

In September 2005 the format of CNN's NewsNight was changed from 60 to 120 minutes to cover the unusually violent hurricane season. To help distribute some of the increased workload, Cooper was temporarily added as co-anchor to Aaron Brown. This arrangement was reported to have been made permanent the same month by the president of CNN's U.S. operations, Jonathan Klein, who has called Cooper "the anchorperson of the future."Following the addition of Cooper, the ratings for NewsNight increased significantly; Klein remarked that "[Cooper's] name has been on the tip of everyone's tongue." To further capitalize on this, Klein announced a major programming shakeup on November 2, 2005. Cooper's 360° program would be expanded to 2 hours and shifted into the 10 p.m. ET slot formerly held by NewsNight, with the third hour of Wolf Blitzer's The Situation Room filling in Cooper's former 7 p.m. ET slot. With "no options" left for him to host shows, Aaron Brown left CNN, ostensibly after having "mutually agreed" with Jonathan Klein on the matter. In early 2007, Cooper signed a multi-year deal with CNN, which would allow him to continue as a contributor to 60 Minutes as well as doubling his salary from $2 million annually to a reported $4 million.

In October 2007, Cooper began hosting the documentary, Planet in Peril, with Sanjay Gupta and Jeff Corwin on CNN. In 2008, he, Gupta, and Lisa Ling from National Geographic Explorer teamed up for a sequel, Planet in Peril: Battle Lines, which premiered in December 2008. In 2007 he also began hosting CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, a show which honors and recognizes extraordinary deeds by ordinary people.


Personal life

Cooper has two older half-brothers, Leopold Stanislaus "Stan" Stokowski (born 1950), and Christopher Stokowski (born 1952), from Gloria Vanderbilt's ten-year marriage to the conductor Leopold Stokowski.

Cooper has never married and has actively avoided discussing his private life, citing a desire to protect his neutrality as a journalist. His public reticence contrasts deliberately with his mother's life spent in the spotlight of tabloid journalists and her publication of memoirs explicitly detailing her affairs with celebrities; Cooper vowed "not to repeat that strategy". Independent news media have reported that Cooper is gay, and in May 2007, Out magazine ranked him second behind David Geffen in their list of the fifty "Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America." When asked about his sexuality he stated "I understand why people might be interested. But I just don’t talk about my personal life. It’s a decision I made a long time ago, before I ever even knew anyone would be interested in my personal life. 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 has, however, discussed his desire to have a family and children.

He also said to Oprah Winfrey – while promoting his book – that he had suffered from dyslexia as a child. He confirmed his "mild dyslexia" on The Tonight Show to Jay Leno, who also has dyslexia, in August 2007. In March 2008, Cooper mentioned on his blog that he had minor surgery under his left eye to remove a "small spot of skin cancer".


  • 2008 Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award
  • 2005 National Headliners Award for his tsunami coverage
  • An Emmy Award for his contribution to ABC's coverage of Princess Diana's funeral and another in 2006 for Outstanding Live Coverage of a Breaking News Story - Long Form for his report on the famine in Niger
  • Silver Plaque from the Chicago International Film Festival for his report from Sarajevomarker on the Bosnian civil war
  • Bronze Telly for his coverage of famine in Somaliamarker
  • Bronze Award from the National Educational Film and Video Festival for a report on political Islam
  • 2001 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Journalism for "High School Hero," his 20/20 Downtown report on high school athlete Corey Johnson
  • Old source /content unavailable:

Career timeline


  1. Patricia Bosworth, "Diane Arbus: A Biography", NY: W.W. Norton, 1984
  2. The New York Times, September 17, 1970, page 95.
  3. Van Meter, Jonathan, "Unanchored," New York, September 19, 2005 (Retrieved on September 27, 2006).
  4. Articles: So What Do You Do, Anderson Cooper?
  5. "Anderson Cooper's Private War" by Po Bronson; Men's Journal, March 2007
  6. Jensen, Elizabeth, "An anchor who reports disaster news with a heart on his sleeve", The New York Times, September 12, 2005 (Retrieved September 27, 2006).
  7. Carter, Bill, "CNN ousts evening anchor and embraces rising star", The New York Times, November 3, 2005 (Retrieved September 27, 2006).
  8. Carter, Bill, "CNN ousts Aaron Brown and gives slot to Anderson Cooper", The New York Times, November 2, 2005 (Retrieved September 27, 2006).
  9. "Exclusive: Anderson Cooper Signs New Multiyear Deal with CNN," Broadcasting & Cable, January 19, 2007
  10. "Living with Loss" By Kim Hubbard, People, May 1996, accessdate=2008-12-15.
  11. The Glass Closet: We all know which stars are inside the glass closet, so why won't they come out? by Michael Musto Out, May 2007, accessdate=2008-10-03.
  12. Anderson Cooper's Private War by Po Bronson; February 12, 2007, Social Studies; Accessed on October 4, 2008.
  13. Independent media sources reporting Cooper is gay include: * * * * * Out columnist Josh Kilmer-Purcell noted that as early as the 1990s at ABC "it was common knowledge in the newsroom even then that Anderson was gay".( How many times can one guy get outed? edited by Shana Naomi Krochmal,, February 16, 2007; accessdate=2008-10-04. Removing the last hinge from Anderson's closet door by Kevin Naff, Washington Blade, March 1, 2007; accessdate=2008-10-04.) In 2003 MetroSource magazine called him "the openly gay news anchor",( Anderson Cooper by Michael Musto,, accessdate=2009-01-08).
  14. Anderson Cooper's Private War by Po Bronson; Men's Journal, March 2007; accessdate=2008-10-04.
  15. Anderson Cooper

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