Ok, you might be known to drool over Anderson Cooper’s field reporting, the intrepidness of his trips and snarky comments… you might also know that his father was a great writer, his mother a published author and his late brother was a promising one – there is even an award granted in his name for young short story writers -… but Anderson was not the first Vanderbilt with a passion for journalism. Have you ever heard about Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr (actually the IV)? Or the Village Voice – Vanderbilt connection (and we don’t mean the Musto douche bag!)?
So here we go!
Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr. (1898-1974) was the author of one of “the most important interviews of the 20th Century” as compiled by Christopher Sylvester. The subject: Al Capone. He was the son of the of Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr. (the III) who was scorned by his father Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr (the II) and cut from the family fortune because he chose to marry an older woman whom he disapproved. Even without the Vanderbilt fortune, Vanderbilt Jr. (III) Didn’t suffer any economic nuances, because his bride’s parents where also rich. And he was a successful business man in his own right.
Vanderbilt Jr. (IV) was raised in Newport Conny and during his childhood he frequently visited Europe. Against his father’s wishes, he became a journalist when he finished his tour of duty at World War I. He was the New York Herald’s correspondent for which he interviewed the Irish poet Lord Dunsany,
During the ‘30s he became a collaborator with Liberty Magazine, specializing in Interviews. Among his interviewees were General Pershing, Pio XI, Mussolini, General Pilsudsky (
The last time he interviewed him, he correctly interpreted that Stalin was about to sign a non aggression treaty with
Vanderbilt Jr (IV) endlessly worked for
Before Vanderbilt visited Capone, he left a note to the hotel’s concierge with precise instructions if he didn’t show up in a specific time frame. In it, he wrote the address where he was going to meet Capone. The interview went well, and Capone and Vanderbilt were already planning to meet again for dinner when the phone rang. Capone answered and passing the phone to Vanderbilt Jr. (IV) he said: “It’s the police, they say I kidnapped you”.
Vanderbilt Jr.( IV) died in 1974 childless, ending the Jrs and the competition with the Buendía’s dynasty, but sometimes I think the Vanderbilt family is as complicated or doom as them.
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