Gloria Vanderbilt–painter, writer, clothes designer, entrepreneur–died Monday morning, June 17, according to her son, CNN's Anderson Cooper. She was 95.

In April, WBSM 1420 was on remote at the Newport Art Museum for the opening of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney: Sculpture, a traveling exhibition organized by the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida and curated by Ellen E. Roberts and Harold and Anne Berkley Smith, curator of American Art. Thanks to our good friend and regular contributor John LeBoutillier, who is a Vanderbilt, we got to meet some of his relatives and hear anecdotal stories of the Gilded Age legendary family.

Gloria Vanderbilt, mother of four sons, and wife to four husbands, had relationships with the late filmmaker Gordon Parks, movie star Marlon Brando, singer Frank Sinatra and billionaire Howard Hughes.

Weaved in conversation between Gertrude's classic sculptures and her symbolic public monuments, we heard about how she fought Gloria's mother for custody in a toxic court case dubbed "the trial of the century" in 1934. The court eventually awarded custody of the girl, and control of her multi-million-dollar trust, to her Aunt Gertrude.

Today, hearing about her passing, the story has personal relevance. Speaking on behalf of all of us here at the radio station, I'd like to pass along our deepest condolences and prayers to John LeBoutillier and his family. You can forget about the six degrees of separation today. It's more like the six degrees of connectedness that brings this story home for me.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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