TENAFLY — Anderson Cooper’s face is well known thanks to his years as a broadcast journalist with CNN. Sunday, he kicked off the Kaplen Jewish Community Center On The Palisades’ Patron of the Arts series.
For the past 10 years, he hosted CNN’s New Year’s Eve broadcast with Kathy Griffin, who was recently fired by the network after her controversial photo of her holding what appeared to be the bloody, decapitated head of Donald Trump. Cooper, who is friends with Griffin, tweeted about the stunt, calling it “disgusting and completely inappropriate.”
When asked about Griffin, he repeated the words from his tweet but added that there was nothing wrong with being honest in the course of a friendship. He said that anything that happens between him and Griffin would be private.
“I understand CNN’s decision and I wish her well,” Cooper said. “I don’t think anyone deserves to have their career destroyed because they did something stupid.”
Throughout the night, Cooper spoke of his life leading up to his time at CNN. He referenced his mother and often did so with great humor. Cooper is the son of heiress and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt and writer Wyatt Emory Cooper. According to Cooper, his mother has rarely given him practical advice, once advising him to wear vertical stripes for a job interview because they were slimming. He was 15 and getting ready to interview to be a waiter.
But Cooper said one of Vanderbilt’s greatest pieces of advice was “follow your bliss.” He took the advice to heart, especially after the Cold War ended and left his focus of study, political science, with a focus on Communism and the Soviet Union, practically useless. When he had asked what he should do with his future, she uttered those words and they have followed Cooper throughout his career.
Cooper’s beginnings in journalism began in a much darker place. His older brother, Carter, committed suicide when he was 23 by jumping from the 14th floor terrace of the family’s penthouse in front of his mother, which Cooper said had a huge impact on his life and is one of the reasons he became a correspondent.
“I couldn’t save lives…