Christopher Stokowski is late heiress Gloria Vanderbilt’s son with legendary conductor Leopold Stokowski. One of the less famous members of his family, Christopher grew up having an aversion towards fame, all because of his mother’s high-profile status. Despite the difficulty of wading through the effects of his mother’s fame, he was able to live without controversy, staying away from the limelight even after going off to Bard College.
A legend in his field, Leopold Stokowski’s career would leave a legacy worth millions of dollars to his children. Despite this, Christopher Stokowski chose to shun his father’s name and strike out as a musician in his own right. Gloria and Leopold tied the knot a few weeks after the dissolution of her first marriage to Hollywood agent Pasquale Di Cicco. Leopold is best known for his composition works on and appearance in Walt Disney’s 1940 film Fantasia. He is also well known for his extraordinary productions with the orchestras he conducted. After 12 years of marriage, Christopher’s parents split, with his mother winning custody over her sons Stan—Chris’s elder brother and Chris, aged five and three respectively at the time. His eventual reclusion would come as a result of interference in his personal life. After his mother’s therapist muddled up his love life, he cut ties with his mother and family in 1978, becoming a recluse in the following years.
Who Exactly Is Christopher Stokowski?
Christopher Stokowski was born on January 31, 1952, in the United States of America, and is the half-brother of famous CNN journalist Anderson Cooper, sharing the same mother, heiress Gloria Vanderbilt. Christopher also has step-siblings, including Sonia Maria Noel, his eldest step-sister who is also an actress. He has two other step-sisters named Andrea Sadja Stokowski and Gloria Luba Stokowski who came from Christopher’s father’s second marriage to Evangeline Johnson, a Johnson & Johnson heiress.
As a young child, Christopher Stokowski was surrounded by family but sadly had a hard time connecting with his mother due to her fame. He did not have this problem with his siblings, as he loved them and always bought them toys. Despite his shyness and difficulty dealing with his mother’s fame, he stayed part of the family until the incident with his mother’s therapist.
Christopher Stokowski fell in love with socialite April Sandmeyer in 1974. The two were planning on getting married when his father, then in his 90s and living in the English village of Nether Wallop, fell ill and died. Months later, Christopher’s stepfather Cooper died at the age of 50. Subsequently, Christopher started confiding in his mother’s therapist, but this would backfire. He later discovered that the therapist was making reports behind his back to his mom Gloria. The issue blew up and soon, his fiancée broke up with him, after which he ceased communication with his family and became a recluse.
He cut himself off from his family
In 1978, Christopher Stokowski abandoned the family when Gloria’s therapist became overly involved in his love life. This reclusion would last for 38 years. Christopher’s decision to cut ties came around the same time that Anderson Cooper’s father, Wyatt, died while undergoing surgery. Anderson was 10 years old and felt devastated losing both his father and his brother.
His mother was defrauded
Gloria discovered that Dr. Zois, the same therapist responsible for her son’s unhappiness, and her lawyer Edwards had not only sold off her fashion and home furnishing business worth millions behind her back, they had also bailed on paying her taxes. She sued them to court, winning a verdict of $1.6 million. However, she never received a penny. Because of this, Gloria was forced to sell her homes so she could pay up her taxes.
Christopher Stokowski reached out to his family in 2016
On April 9, 2016, HBO released a feature documentary titled Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper. The documentary was focused on a candid conversation with Christopher’s half-brother Anderson Cooper and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt. The HBO special was the catalyst that made Christopher Stokowski reunite with his family after almost 38 years of non-communication, even though critics mentioned that Christopher wasn’t talked about in the documentary. He was able to reach out to the family through his former fiancée who was still close to both parties and reconciled their differences.