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Anderson Cooper Biography

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Birth Name: Anderson Cooper
Born: 06/03/1967
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA

Born June 3, 1967 in New York City, Anderson Hays Cooper was famously the son of celebrated heiress and fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt writer Wyatt Emory Cooper. Consequently, this also made him the great-great-great-grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt of the prominent Vanderbilt shipping and railroad fortune. Born into extreme privilege, he was photographed as an infant by famed photographer Diane Arbus for Harper's Bazaar. Growing up in the spotlight - coupled with his father's death in 1978 and his older brother's shocking suicide in 1988 - influenced Cooper tremendously. He graduated from Yale University in 1989 with a degree in political science and spent two summers interning at the CIA, but had no real journalism experience, which frustrated his attempts to break into the field. After studying Vietnamese at the University of Hanoi, Cooper received his start in the news industry as a fact checker for the news program, Channel One (Channel One Network, 1992-95), aired in junior high school classrooms. He convinced the show to let him do a broadcast from Vietnam and was soon broadcasting from Somalia, Bosnia, Iran and Ukraine.

In 1995, 28-year-old Cooper became ABC News' youngest correspondent. He began as a New York-based correspondent reporting primarily for "World News Saturday/Sunday" and eventually served as chief international correspondent. Working his way up to the anchor desk, Cooper filled in for Ted Koppel on the "World News Now" anchor desk and provided reports for "World News Tonight," "20/20," and "20/20 Downtown." He won an Emmy Award for his coverage of Princess Diana's funeral in 1997. In 1999, Cooper was tapped for the anchor chair on "World News Now" (ABC, 1992- ), and two years later took a break from the seriousness for two entertainment-oriented gigs: he served as a technical advisor for the short-lived drama "The Beast" (ABC, 2000-01) set in the fast-paced world of broadcast journalism and starring Frank Langella, as well as went on to host the reality game show, "The Mole" (ABC, 2001-08), a position his CNN fans would later find questionable, but early reality TV fans would relish as Cooper put contestants through their paces as they deducted just who of their competitors was secretly working against the group.

Not one to let his journalism chops get rusty in between reality hosting gigs, he became the substitute host on "NewsNight with Aaron Brown," which served as his entrée to CNN. Cooper returned to ABC for "The Mole II: The Next Betrayal" (2001) but was soon back at CNN, joining the anchor desk for "American Morning with Paula Zahn" (CNN, 2001-03). He also began a tradition of hosting "New Year's Eve Live" (CNN, 2002- ) alongside co-host Kathy Griffin, the outrageous comedian who courted controversy while attempting to make Cooper blush - and usually succeeding. At CNN, Cooper covered the 2003 tsunami in Southeast Asia (for which he won a National Headliner Award), the funeral of Pope John Paul II, and the war in Iraq. Based on his increasing popularity with viewers, "Anderson Cooper 360º" (CNN, 2003- ) launched and establish Cooper as one of the television news industry's marquee names, just as established anchors like Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather and Peter Jennings were leaving the airwaves. "360º" won praise for its cutting-edge reporting and launched a lively debate among fans over the host's sexual orientation - a subject upon which Cooper coyly kept mum. The show was so successful, it was expanded to two hours in the fall of 2005.

For "America Votes 2004," Cooper, also became a regular contributor to ultra-hip Details magazine and was tapped to moderate the Democratic presidential debate forum sponsored by MTV's "Rock the Vote." The year 2005 became a banner one, as the journalist rose to the forefront after his widely praised CNN coverage of both the ongoing conflict in Iraq and the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, putting a human face on the tolls of both without sacrificing serious reporting for maudlin sentimentality. He emerged as the first major news personality of his generation - though his trademark silver hair made him appear older than his years - to form the kind of implicit, trust-based bond with his audience that made his viewers want to hear his particular interpretation of the news of the day, a rare trait that earmarked him for even greater achievements.

Cooper himself made headlines in 2005 for snagging a $1 million advance on a memoir of his reporting on the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina, which came out in 2006 called Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters and Survival. He continued to be one of the country's foremost media presences, often filling in for Regis Philbin on "Live with Regis and Kelly" (syndicated, 1988- 2011) when the veteran host famously underwent open-heart surgery. Cooper also signed a multi-year deal with CNN in 2007 that doubled his salary while also allowing him to continue to contribute to "60 Minutes" (CBS, 1968- ), which he had begun doing in 2006. Along with Jeff Corwin and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Cooper appeared in the documentary "Planet in Peril" (CNN, 2007), which focused on global warming, overpopulation, deforestation and species loss. The in-depth documentary, which featured reports from all over the world, spawned a sequel, "Planet in Peril: Battle Lines" (CNN, 2008), with Cooper and Gupta joined by National Geographic's Lisa Ling. Adding to his ever-increasing list of duties, Cooper also began hosting "CNN Heroes" (CNN, 2007- ), an annual special dedicated to highlighting viewer-nominated local do-gooders.

In late 2010, it was announced he would also host his own nationally syndicated daytime talk show, "Anderson" in September 2011, around the same time he won Emmy Awards for "Haiti in Ruins" and "Crisis in Haiti." Meanwhile long-running speculation about his sexuality came to an abrupt end when Anderson came out as homosexual in a letter to Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast. Sullivan - also an out gay man had known Anderson for two decades - asked his friend for feedback on what he called an emerging trend of gay people coming out in more restrained and matter-of-fact ways. Anderson wrote a rather lengthy letter in response, where he stated that "[t]he fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn't be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud." He went on to say that he never came out before because he was concerned about his objectivity as a journalist and about his personal safety since he often traveled to third-world nations where homosexuality was still taboo.