Anderson Cooper

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
Anderson Cooper

Cooper at Wolfson Children's Hospital, 2007-10-20
Born Anderson Hays Cooper
June 3, 1967 (1967-06-03) (age 41)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Broadcast journalist, Author, Game Show Host The Mole (US TV series) 2001-2002
Notable relatives Gloria Vanderbilt (mother)
Wyatt Emory Cooper (father)
Notable credit(s) World News Now co-anchor (1999–2000)
American Morning anchor (2002)
Anderson Cooper 360° anchor (2003–Present)

Anderson Hays Cooper (born June 3, 1967) is an American journalist, author, and a 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.


[edit] Biography

[edit] Early life

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, granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt II of the prominent Vanderbilt Family of New York.

Cooper's media experience began early. As a baby, he was photographed by Diane Arbus for Harper's Bazaar.[1][2] At the age of three, Cooper was a guest on The Tonight Show on September 17, 1970, when he appeared with his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt.[3] From age 10 to 13, Cooper modeled with Ford Models for Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Macy's.[4]

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."[4]

During the second semester of his Senior year at the Dalton School, 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 Kenya. Describing the experience, Cooper wrote "Africa was a place to forget and be forgotten in."[4][5]

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 Proventil. Carter's suicide is apparently what sparked Anderson to become a journalist:

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?[4]

[edit] 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. [6]

Cooper has never married and has actively avoided discussing his private life, citing a desire to protect his neutrality as a journalist:

"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."[4]

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".[7][8][9] Independent news media have reported that Cooper is gay,[note 1] 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."[10] Cooper has discussed his desire to have a family and children.[5]

He also said to Oprah Winfrey - while promoting his book - that he had suffered from dyslexia as a child.[11] He confirmed his "mild dyslexia" on The Tonight Show to Jay Leno, who also has dyslexia, on August 1, 2007.

On March 19, 2008, Cooper mentioned on his blog that he had minor surgery under his left eye to remove a "small spot of skin cancer".[12]

[edit] Education

Cooper graduated from The Dalton School in 1985. He continued his education at Yale University, where he resided in Trumbull College, claimed membership in Manuscript Society (one of the secret senior societies), 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,[13] having been a "news junkie" "since I was 'in utero.' "[14]

After his first correspondence work in very early 1990s, he took a break from reporting and lived in Vietnam 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.

Anderson recently visited Elon University in Burlington, NC to speak to its students about his life as a journalist and news anchor.

[edit] Career History

[edit] Channel One

In 1992, Anderson began working as a fact checker for the news show Channel One, designed to air in junior high and high school classrooms. His on-air break came when he moved to Vietnam 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. His career had been launched. After Vietnam, Cooper's unforgettable stories from such places as Somalia, Bosnia, Iran, and the Ukraine made students actually pay attention to 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 Channel One. [15] Cooper then entered Burma on his own with his forged press pass and met with students fighting the Burmese government.[14] He was ultimately able to sell his home-made news segments to the small news agency of Channel One, which produces a youth-oriented news program that is broadcast to many junior high and high schools in the United States.

After reporting from Burma, Cooper lived in Vietnam for a year and then returned to filming stories from a variety of war-torn regions around the globe, including Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda. 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". [5] One particular incident however snapped him out of it:

On the side of the road [Cooper] came across five bodies that had been in the sun for several days. The skin of a woman's hand was peeling off like a glove. Revealing macabre fascination, Cooper whipped out his disposable camera and took a closeup photograph for his personal album. As he did, someone took a photo of him. Later that person showed Cooper the photo, saying, "You need to take a look at what you were doing." "And that's when I realized I've got to stop, [...] I've got to report on some state fairs or a beauty pageant or something, to just, like, remind myself of some perspective."[5]

[edit] ABC

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:

My last year at ABC, I was working overnights anchoring this newscast, then during the day at 20/20. So 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.[14]

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.

[edit] CNN

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. [14]" 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:

I think the notion of traditional anchor is fading away, the all-knowing, all-seeing person who speaks from on high. I don't think the audience really buys that anymore. As a viewer, I know I don't buy it. I think you have to be yourself, and you have to be real and you have to admit what you don't know, and talk about what you do know, and talk about what you don't know as long as you say you don't know it. I tend to relate more to people on television who are just themselves, for good or for bad, than I do to someone who I believe is putting on some sort of persona. The anchorman on The Simpsons is a reasonable facsimile of some anchors who have that problem.[14]

Cooper covered a number of important stories in 2005, including the tsunami damage in Sri Lanka; the Cedar Revolution in Beirut, Lebanon; the death of Pope John Paul II; and the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.

Cooper marching on January 11, 2007, in New Orleans against violence

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.”[4] 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."[16]

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

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." [17] 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."[18] 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. [19] 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. [20]

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.

[edit] Writings

[edit] Awards

  • 2008 Action Against Hunger Award (Designed by artist Virginie Sommet)
  • 2005 National Headliners Award for his tsunami coverage[24]
  • 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[25]
  • Silver Plaque from the Chicago International Film Festival for his report from Sarajevo on the Bosnian civil war
  • Bronze Telly for his coverage of famine in Somalia[citation needed]
  • Bronze Award from the National Educational Film and Video Festival for a report on political Islam[citation needed]
  • 2001 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Journalism for "High School Hero," his 20/20 Downtown report on high school athlete Corey Johnson[26]

[edit] Career timeline

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ 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).

[edit] References

  1. ^ Green, Tyler. "MODERN ART NOTES: Name That Baby". ArtsJournal. Retrieved on 2007-06-30. 
  2. ^ Patricia Bosworth, "Diane Arbus: A Biography", NY: W.W. Norton, 1984
  3. ^ The New York Times, September 17, 1970, page 95.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Van Meter, Jonathan, "Unanchored," New York, September 19, 2005 (Retrieved on September 27, 2006).
  5. ^ a b c d Anderson Cooper's Private War by Po Bronson; Men's Journal, March 2007; accessdate=2008-10-04.
  6. ^ "Living with Loss" By Kim Hubbard, People, May 1996, accessdate=2008-12-15.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "Gloria Vanderbilt's Many Loves: Heiress Discusses The Romances And Tragedies Of Her Life". CBS News Sunday Morning. 2005-07-31. Retrieved on 2007-06-30. 
  9. ^ Anderson Cooper's Private War by Po Bronson; February 12, 2007, Social Studies; Accessed on October 4, 2008.
  10. ^ "The Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America". Out Magazine. May 2007. Retrieved on 2007-10-16. 
  11. ^ "Books That Made a Difference to Anderson Cooper". O, The Oprah Magazine. July 2005. Retrieved on 2007-06-30. 
  12. ^ Cooper, Anderson (March 19 2008). "Anderson Cooper 360: 2008 March << - Blogs from". Retrieved on 2008-03-20. "On a personal note, I’ve been off for the last couple of days. I had minor surgery on Monday. A small spot of skin cancer was removed from under my left eye." 
  13. ^ Bercovici, Jeff (2006-09-06). "Anderson Cooper's CIA secret". Radar. Retrieved on 2007-06-30. 
  14. ^ a b c d e Hirschman, David S. (2006-05-11). "So what do you do, Anderson Cooper?". Retrieved on 2007-06-30. 
  15. ^ Articles: So What Do You Do, Anderson Cooper?
  16. ^ "Blown Away by Katrina". Broadcasting & Cable. 2005-12-12. Retrieved on 2007-06-30. 
  17. ^ 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).
  18. ^ Carter, Bill, "CNN ousts evening anchor and embraces rising star", The New York Times, November 3, 2005 (Retrieved September 27, 2006).
  19. ^ Carter, Bill, "CNN ousts Aaron Brown and gives slot to Anderson Cooper", The New York Times, November 2, 2005 (Retrieved September 27, 2006).
  20. ^ "Exclusive: Anderson Cooper Signs New Multiyear Deal with CNN," Broadcasting & Cable, January 19, 2007
  21. ^ Patrick Phillips (2007-03-01). "Anderson Cooper: 'I Didn't Go to Anchor School'". I Want Media. Retrieved on 2007-01-03. 
  22. ^ "41. Anderson Cooper". 
  23. ^ "Side Dish". New York Daily News. Retrieved on 2007-01-03. 
  24. ^ "2005 National Headliner Award Winners: Broadcast television networks, cable networks, and syndicators". 
  25. ^ "27th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards". 2006-09-25. Retrieved on 2007-06-30. 
  26. ^ "GLAAD Honors Redgrave, Smith". THE ADVOCATE News & Politics (PlanetOut). 2001-04-17. Retrieved on 2008-06-26. 
  27. ^ a b c d e Anderson Cooper

[edit] External links

NAME Cooper, Anderson Hays
SHORT DESCRIPTION Journalist and author
DATE OF BIRTH June 3, 1967
PLACE OF BIRTH New York City, New York, United States
Personal tools