Long before J.R. was shot in Dallas and Logan Roy was playing off his strong-willed children against one another in Succession, the Astor family of New York was providing ample fodder for blockbuster television about the intricate melodramas and colossal egos of the mega rich.
Drug smuggling, death on the Titanic, a faked demise, family betrayals, a son suing his father, even arguments over the title “Mrs. Astor” that gave birth to the hyphenated hotel the Waldorf-Astoria.
All the elements were there. And who better to fold them together into the riveting tale of the legendary family that built, destroyed, invented and reinvented with such ruthless abandon than Anderson Cooper, whose story of his own family, the Vanderbilts, became a bestseller?
Cooper’s new dynastic biography, Astor: The Rise and Fall of an American Fortune, details the triumphs and travails of the descendants of the German flute maker who forged a towering place at the pinnacle of New York through hard work, ruthless business, social tactics, snobbery, savvy investment in real estate and shrewd marriages on both sides of the Atlantic.
Cooper returns to Temple Emanu-El, built on the ground where the Astor mansion once stood, to talk about how the Astors became “the landlords of New York” and rulers of Gilded Age New York society.
In conversation with John Berman, co-anchor of the morning edition of CNN News Central and a regular relief presenter of Anderson Cooper 360°.
Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | 6:00 PM Eastern