Anderson Hays Cooper (born June 3, 1967 in New York City, New York) is a Peabody Award-winning American journalist, author, and television personality. During college, Cooper spent two summers as an intern at the Central Intelligence Agency. Although he technically has no formal journalistic educationnote , he opted to pursue a career in journalism rather than stay with the agency after school, having been a self-proclaimed "news junkie" since he was "in utero."
After Cooper graduated from Yale University, he tried to gain entry-level employment with ABC but was unsuccessful. Finding it hard to get his foot in the door of on-air reporting, Cooper decided to enlist the help of a friend in making a fake press pass. At the time, Cooper was working as a fact-checker for the small news agency Channel One, which produces a youth-oriented news program that is broadcast to many junior high and high schools in the United States. Cooper then entered Myanmar on his own with his forged press pass and met with students fighting the Burmese government. He was ultimately able to sell his home-made news segments to Channel One.
Persuading Channel One to allow him to bring a Hi-8 camera with him, Anderson soon began filming and assembling reports of Vietnamese life and culture that aired on Channel One. Branching out from Vietnam, he also recorded news stories for the channel from Bosnia, Rwanda, and Somalia.
His time on Channel One got him noticed, as he had hoped, and he joined ABC, first as a correspondent and then as an anchor for World News Now. But then he left the news business entirely for two years, instead serving as the host of reality television series The Mole.
He returned to serious journalism in the wake of September 11, this time at CNN. After a stint with Paula Zahn on American Morning and another as the channel's weekend anchor, he was given the prime-time slot of 8 pm weekdays, for a broadcast entitled Anderson Cooper 360° that runs either one or two hours depending on that day's news stories. Never content to stay in a studio when he could be on location instead, he became famous for his coverage of international humanitarian disasters. 2005 in particular was a breakout year for him; in those twelve months, he covered the tsunami in Sri Lanka, Lebanon's Cedar Revolution, the Iraq War, the famine in Niger, and — in a series of broadcasts that won him a Peabody — the landfall and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. By the end of the year, he was a household name, and in subsequent years he went on to cover — among many others — the Haitian earthquake, the Arab Spring, the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima, and the terror attacks which hit Paris in late 2015.
He also serves as the host of CNN's yearly CNN Heroes tribute and has anchored the channel's New Year's Eve coverage since 2002. His close friend (and eternal tormentor) Kathy Griffin joined him on the latter from 2006-2016. Beginning in 2017 his best friend Andy Cohen (of Real Housewives fame) came on as co-host.
Welcomed his baby boy Wyatt Morgan in late April of 2020, to the surprise and pleasure of just about everybody.
Oh yeah, and his mom was a bit famous; she was Gloria Vanderbilt.
Media Cooper has been involved with:
- Anderson Cooper 360° (2003—present): CNN
- Katrina: The Storm That Never Stopped (2015): A 10th anniversary retrospective on Hurricane Katrina
- 60 Minutes (2006—present): CBS
- Anderson, retitled Anderson Live (2010—2013)
- ABC News — correspondent (1995—1999)
- The Mole (2000—2001)
- World News Now (1999—2000): ABC
- How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying revival (2011)
- Featured in Fake News Rumble
- Dispatches From the Edge: A memoir of war, disasters, and survival (2006): His memoir of 2005 (Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Iraq, and Hurricane Katrina) interspersed with his own recollections of his childhood and early years as a journalist
- The Rainbow Comes and Goes: and other life lessons I learned from my mom (2016): A collection of correspondence between Anderson and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, begun after Gloria briefly fell ill; combination memoir and inspirational advice
Tropes pertaining to Mr. Cooper's media:
- Asshole Victim: In his guest appearance on Finding Your Roots, Cooper learned that his 4x great-grandfather was a Southern slaveowner who ultimately was beaten to death by a slave with a farm hoe. Anderson found this absolutely hilarious.Professor Gates: Do you think he deserved it?Cooper: Yeah!
- Broken Bird: Dispatches reveals that losing his father at age ten and his brother to suicide at age 21 did some serious damage to his psyche; he relates that he ran off to war zones in order to help himself "feel again". Fortunately, after Hurricane Katrina, he was able to start patching himself back together.Africa was a place to forget, and to be forgotten.
- Corpsing: Can't keep a straight face while reporting on Dyngus Day as well as during several Ridiculist segments. Who can blame the guy? Even Wolf Blitzer has to tell him to knock it off.
- Dead Line News: Nearly decapitated by a flying street sign while reporting on Katrina. And getting malaria in the middle of South Africa.
- Lampshade Hanging: of Reality Show Genre Blindness, during his run on The Mole.Don't you guys know how this game works? If you say you don't like to cook, you know you're going to end up cooking. You say you like to cook, you don't get to cook!
- "Sesame Street" Cred: Appears in the Season 38 finale of Sesame Street, which is itself a parody of high-end TV journalism.
- Star-Making Role: While he began garnering major attention with the Indian Ocean tsunami in late 2004, it was his coverage of Hurricane Katrina that truly put him on the map as a journalist.