OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Gloria Vanderbilt shares NYC New Year's Eve moment with son Anderson Cooper

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2011-01-04T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Gloria Vanderbilt shares NYC New Year's Eve moment with son Anderson CooperBy Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, 219.852.4327 nwitimes.com

New York's Times Square keeps getting more and more crowded for the New Year.

And that observation also includes the amount of live television broadcast personalities hosting their own individual on-air countdowns.

Although it's usually Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest on ABC who seem to be the duo who get the most attention, don't forget CNN's Anderson Cooper has been doing the same duties for his cable news network since 2002, which is practically an entire year before his breakout fame as the host of his own CNN show "Anderson Cooper 360."

In 2007, Cooper casually offered his comedy pal Kathy Griffin to share hosting duties.

Cooper, 42, is the son of railroad heiress turned fashion icon Gloria Vanderbilt and her late husband, writer Wyatt Cooper, who died when Cooper was just 8-years-old.

He decided to surprise Griffin during last Friday night's CNN broadcast by having his famous mother phone in for a short segment wishing them and viewers a happy new year.

"For some reason, my mom has become friends with you [Griffin], which started a year ago tonight after last year's New Year's Eve broadcast, when my mom called to wish a happy new year," Cooper said during the telecast.

A photo was also briefly shown on camera of Cooper and his mom with Gloria Steinem and Griffin at a New York cocktail party on Nov. 4, which also happened to be Griffin's 50th birthday.

"Kathy, I want you to know that ever since I've met you, you've been on my A-list," Vanderbilt said.

"I'm so happy to be part of everything going on all around you tonight in New York City and Times Square."

As Griffin teased Cooper about growing up as a friend of other early fortune families like the Rockefellers and the DuPonts, his mother revealed she'd never been to New York's Time Square to see the legendary crystal ball drop.

"Mom, have you ever been to New York's Times Square on New Year's Eve, since you're a lifetime New Yorker, as I am?" Cooper queried.

"No, actually, I never have," Vanderbilt replied.

"I really wanted to join you there on the platform, but I've had a cold and you [Anderson] sort of advised me that it might not be a good idea. But I feel as though I am there, since I'm able to talk to you and watch it all."

She also promised Griffin an invite to one of her New York dinner parties in the new year.

"I have a lot of people I want you to meet Kathy," she said.

The Vanderbilt Family's early American fortune, estimated at $80 million amassed as early as 1930 by Gloria's grandfather Cornelius Vanderbilt, came from the ownership of the country's trains and railway system. Newspaper headlines from the early part of last century dubbed Gloria, who turns 87 next month, as the "poor little rich girl."

Event Final Reminder

This is the last chance to RSVP to join me for a free event at 1:30 p.m. Wed., Jan. 5 at the Munster Public Library, 8701 Calumet Ave., for a fun program about farm traditions, with a special spotlight on Mardi Gras memories and the Feast of Epiphany, which is Jan. 6. It's being presented by the Crossroads Program and First Financial Bank. Seating is  limited and you MUST RSVP today by calling Crossroads at (219) 972-7353.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or 219.852.4327.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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