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(Editor's note: October is LGBT History Month, celebrated annually to recognize the notable achievements of LGBT people throughout time. Each day this month, Equality Forum will feature one LGBT icon who has made notable contributions to society and SDGLN will publish the story here in the Causes section. View previous LGBT History Month icons HERE.)
Anderson Cooper is an award-winning news anchor, author and talk show host.
Born June 3, 1967 in New York City to a prominent family, Anderson Hays Cooper is the son of Wyatt Emory Cooper and heiress and entrepreneur Gloria Vanderbilt. Cooper attended Manhattan’s prestigious Dalton School. He matriculated to Yale, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science.
After college, the self-described “news junkie” landed his first journalism job at Channel One, a news agency that produces broadcasts for high school students. In 1995, Cooper became a correspondent for ABC News, where he was later named co-anchor of “World News Now.” In 2000, he took a break from journalism to host an ABC reality show, “The Mole.” Cooper was hired by CNN in 2001 as co-anchor of “American Morning.” A year later, he became a weekend prime-time anchor. In 2003, CNN premiered “Anderson Cooper 360˚,” a prime-time newscast with in-depth stories from multiple viewpoints.
Cooper is known for his on-the-scene live coverage of major world events, including the tsunami in Southeast Asia, the Cedar Revolution in Beirut, and Hurricane Katrina, among many others. Broadcasting & Cable magazine wrote, "In its aftermath, Hurricane Katrina served to usher in a new breed of emo-journalism, skyrocketing Cooper to superstardom because of his impassioned coverage of the storm.”
His memoir, “Dispatches from the Edge” (2006), topped the New York Times best-seller list. Since 2007, Cooper has been a correspondent for CBS’s “60 Minutes.” In 2011, he launched a syndicated daytime talk show, “Anderson Live.”
In 2012, Cooper came out publicly in a letter to journalist Andrew Sullivan with the following statement: "It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something. The tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible."
Anderson Cooper has been recognized with five Emmy Awards for broadcast journalism. In 2013, he received the Vito Russo GLAAD Media Award for promoting LGBT equality.
“I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.”