Christopher Stokowski is a celebrity because of his family. And he is not the first, not the last person to be this type of a celebrity. In Hollywood, even the pets of celebrities become high-profile stars. Think of the cat of designer Karl Lagerfeld.
With that in mind, how much do we know about Christopher? Do you want to know more? Read on!
Who is his famous mother?
Christopher is the son of Gloria Laura Vanderbilt, an American artist, author, actress, heiress, and socialite.
Born in February 1924, during the 1930s, she was the subject of a high profile child custody trial in which her mother, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, and her paternal aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, sought custody of her and control over her trust fund. Simply put, everyone wanted a piece of the Vanderbilt wealth.
It was the trial of the century, a term coined by the press, with the court proceedings showing all kinds of controversies.
Gloria was born in February 1924, in Manhattan, New York City. She was the only child of railroad heir Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt and his second wife, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt. When she was born, her father was ecstatic. She was baptized in the Episcopal Church by Bishop Herbert Shipman and following her father’s death, confirmed and raised in the Catholic Church of her mother.
When her father died from cirrhosis, she was only 18 months old. She and her half-sister from her father’s first marriage became heiresses to a half share each in a $5 million trust fund, equivalent to almost $100 million in 2023 money. The control of the share while she was a minor belonged to her mother, who traveled to and from Paris for years.
Because of her mother’s spending and use of finances, she was scrutinized by Gloria’s paternal aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. She wanted custody, resulting in a trial, one that was so scandalous, the judge would make everyone leave the room. Gloria’s mother lost the battle and was forced to live on a drastically reduced portion of her daughter’s trust.
The story was told in the 1980 book, “Little Gloria, Happy at Last” by Barbara Goldsmith, and in a 1982 miniseries based on it.
Regarding her education, Gloria attended the Greenvale School in Long Island, Wheeler School in Providence, Rhode Island, and Art Students League in New York City.
Now to her career. From 1954 to 1963, she tried acting, studying with teacher Sanford Meisner and debuting in The Swan. She would then appear on Broadway as Elsie in a revival of The Time of Your Life.
But acting was not her only occupation. She began a career as a fashion model as well when she was only 15 years old. During the 1970s, Vanderbilt returned to the fashion business by licensing her name and a collection of her paintings for a line of scarves.
The famous heiress even wrote two books on art and home decor, four volumes of memoirs, three novels, and a singular collection of short stories. Simply put, she was multitalented and had the money to pursue any interest.
In April 2016, HBO released the documentary, Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper, covering her life and family history. She passed away in June 2019, in Manhattan, New York.
His mother’s many marriages
Christopher is not the only child of the famous heiress. In fact, she was married four times, divorced three times, and had four children, all of them sons. And in between, a couple of relationships.
Her first marriage was to Pat DiCicco, an agent for actors and an alleged mobster. She got married to him in 1941 when she was only 17 years old, but divorced in 1945. They had no children together. He called him an abusive husband later on.
In April 1945, within weeks of divorcing DiCicco, she got married to conductor Leopold Stokowski, who was 42 years at the time. They had a huge age difference, and he had three daughters from his previous marriages. She was his third and last wife, but it ended in divorce in October 1955.
Gloria and Leopold have two sons together, Leopold Stanislaus Stokowski, born in August 1950, and Christopher Stokowski, born in January 1952.
As you can see, Christopher is the second child of the wealthy heiress. Her third husband was director Sidney Lumet, but they had no children together.
Her fourth marriage was to author Wyatt Emory Cooper, in December 1963. That marriage was her longest-lasting, for 15 years. It ended with the death of her husband in 1978 while undergoing an open-heart surgery.
Gloria and Wyatt had two sons together, Carter Vanderbilt Cooper, and Anderson Cooper, born Anderson Hays Cooper. Her third son, Carter Cooper, committed suicide at 23 by jumping from the family’s apartment.
Who was his famous father?
Gloria might be the reason why people want to know more about Christopher Stokowski, but his father was just as famous. Born Leopold Anthony Stokowski in April 1882, he was a British conductor, one of the leading conductors of the 20th century. He is best known for his long association with the Philadelphia Orchestra and appearance in the Disney film Fantasia.
Stokowski conducted music for several Hollywood movies, most notably Fantasia. He was also a lifelong champion of contemporary composers. He was the music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony of the Air, and many more. And he is the founder of the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra.
Now let’s talk about the personal life of Christopher, the second-born son of the late socialite Gloria Laura Vanderbilt and the renowned conductor. He has been estranged from his family for almost four decades.
Christopher is a half-brother to the popular CNN journalist and political commentator, Anderson Cooper. Similar to his father, he is a musician, but most people recognize him by his family name.
Born in January 1951 in New York into the family Vanderbilt family name, he has rights to the Vanderbilt railroad fortune. He also has three paternal half-sisters, Andrea Sadja Stokowski, Sonya Maria Noel Stokowski, and Gloria Luba Stokowski.
There is little information about his work history since he has been away from the limelight since 1978. Reports claim he is a classical musician like his father, working under an alias.
The family feud
In 1974, Christopher fell in love with a woman named April Sandmayer. They got engaged three years later, but that relationship is the reason why he was away from the family. Not long after his dad and stepdad passed away, he began seeing his mother’s therapist.
But it was there he discovered his mother and the therapist were planning to end his relationship with Sandmayer. It resulted in his fiancé calling off the engagement.
So, he moved out of his family’s house to win her back, but couldn’t. Despite that, in 1978, he gave up his family’s name and money and left New York.
He did not contact the family until 2016 when he reconnected with them through Sandmayer. For many years, his mother believed he left to be with April, but that was not the case.
Did he inherit anything from his mother?
One of the reasons why he didn’t inherit anything from the family fortune might be because he left the family name. All of Vanderbilt’s fortune went to her first son Leopold Stokowski and her fourth son,political commentator Anderson Cooper.
While he and his mother reunited before her passing, he did not get anything from her. But it was not a big wealth to be fair. At the end of her life, she depleted the fortune from an estimated $200 million to $1.5 million.
Many outside experts valued the fortune and wealth of his mother at $200 million. But that was not the case. Her oldest son received the Midtown co-op at 30 Beekman Palace, while the rest of the estate went to Anderson Cooper.
According to some resources, Christopher Stokowski has a net worth of more than $1 million as of June 2023. It is not clear whether he inherited something from his father’s side or earned the money through his hard work.