Kate's Notes

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith

Anna Nicole Smith

Anna Nicole Smith (born November 28, 1967) has graced the supermarket tabloid covers since her public onset in 1993, and has very rarely been out of the gossip rags mind’s eye.

This former topless stripper out of Houston, Texas made her first appearance in Playboy in 1992, was named Playmate of the Year in 1993, and then subsequently appeared in Guess? jeans ads, movies and TV; though, her personal life is what seems to garner her most of her notoriety. Her marriage to 89-year-old Texas oil magnate J. Howard Marshall and slur-addled reality show on E! Network have kept her in the lime light. However, recently her life has been an ongoing spectacle of tragedy and melodrama: from losing her son to heart-failure from a combination of prescription medication shortly after giving birth to her daughter, Dannielyn, to her marriage shortly thereafter to Howard K. Stern, her lawyer, whom she claims is the father, to the court ordered paternity suit filed by Larry Birkhead, and most recently her death on February 8, 2007 in the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida, Anna Nicole remains one of America’s most troubled sweethearts.

Early life

Anna Nicole Smith was born Vickie Lynn Hogan in Houston, Texas, the daughter of Donald Eugene Hogan (born July 12, 1947) and Virgie Mae Tabers (born July 12, 1951). Her half-sisters are Donna Hogan and Amy Hogan. Shortly after the family moved to the small desert town of Mexia, a small town 79 miles (127 km) south of Dallas, Smith’s father left the family, and her parents were divorced on November 4, 1969. She was subsequently raised by her mother and maternal aunt, Elaine.

Smith began life as a small town girl with big aspirations. Though she worked as a waitress at Jim's Krispy Fried Chicken while growing up, Smith told others she wanted to be the next Marilyn Monroe. She was still a teen waitress in Mexia when she met Billy Wayne Smith, who was the cook at the same restaurant. They were married April 4, 1985. Smith was 17 and he,16 at the time of their marriage, and the next year, she gave birth to their son, Daniel Wayne Smith (January 22, 1989 - September 10, 2006). She and Billy separated two years later in 1987 and she subsequently moved back to Houston with one year old Daniel. They were officially divorced February 3, 1993, in Houston.

After moving to Houston, Smith found employment at Wal-Mart and later as a waitress at Red Lobster, however, was failing to make enough money to support herself and her newborn, Daniel. In order to fully cover the costs of a single mother, she began working an exotic dancer, and in 1991, when Smith was 24, she began taking modeling and voice lessons. In October of that year, she saw an ad in the newspaper to audition for Playboy magazine and Smith's career took off after she was chosen by Hugh Hefner to appear on the cover of the March 1992 issue of Playboy wearing a low-cut evening gown. She immediately conjured the American image of the blond bombshell and was being touted as "the next Marilyn Monroe" in press reports everywhere. Of course, Smith promoted that image with her platinum blond hair, full, buxom figure, a dress that echoed Monroe's famous scene from Some Like It Hot.

Smith posed nude for Playboy in the May 1992 centerfold (under the name Vickie Smith), and was chosen to be the 1993 Playmate of the Year; by this she had chosen the name Anna Nicole Smith as her official title. Smith ultimately became one of Playboy's most popular models of the early 90s, and began a trend for American women to aquire a more voluptuous look.

Her curvy physique even garnered a contract with iconic jeans mogul Guess?, replacing supermodel Claudia Schiffer in their 199_ ad campaign, which featured Smith in a series of sultry black and white photographs, wherein Smith passed as the sex symbol Jayne Mansfield’s doppelganger. In fact, smith once did a nude Playboy layout in Mansfield's famous Beverly Hills mansion, the "Pink Palace."

However, Smith’s original 50s iconic blond ideal didn’t last long, and was quickly brought down, when New York Magazine ran an article on August 22, 1994 entitled "White Hot Trash." Smith graced the cover of the magazine in apparently an unauthorized photo, where she is eating chips and squatting in a short skirt and cowboy boots. In October 1994, her lawyer initiated a $5,000,000 lawsuit against New York Magazine, claiming that the magazine did not have permission to use that particular photo, the article had damaged her reputation, and that the magazine was misleading as to what the content of the article was to be about. Her lawyer said that Smith was told she was being photographed to embody the "All-American-woman look" and that they wanted glamour shots. He further stated that the picture used was taken for fun during a break. The editor of New York said that the photo was one of numerous taken in the photo session, and balked that Smith and her team probably just found the picture unflattering.

Marriage to Marshall

Smith met future husband, oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall, while performing at the Houston strip club, Gigi’s, in October 1991. Soon thereafter, she and the elderly mogul began a relationship. During the two years leading up to their marriage, Marshall reportedly lavished her with gifts and asked her to marry him several times. Finally, on June 27, 1994, Smith, who was 26, married Marshall, who was the ripe old age of 89, in Houston, Texas. Their vast age difference provided a lot of ammunition for the tabloids, who believed, as did his family and the rest of America, that she married him for his money. She was quoted, regarding the speculation, as saying, "I'm sick of being accused of gold-digging. It just so happens I get turned on by liver spots”; and though apparently, she never lived with Marshall, Smith maintained she loved her husband and that age did not matter to her. After 14 months of marriage, Marshall died on August 4, 1995, in Houston.

Court Battle for Late Husband’s Estate

Immediately, Smith and Marshall’s son E. Pierce Marshall became embroiled in a battle for the billionaire’s $1.6 billion estate. She joined forces with J. Howard's other son, James Howard Marshall III, whom the elder Howard had disowned to claim their own sizable portions of the money. Howard III claimed J. Howard orally promised him a portion of his estate. However, like Smith, Howard III was also left out of J. Howard's will, which he updated weeks after their marriage. This only furthered the speculation that Smith was simply after the billionaire's money, and the case went on for more than a decade, producing a highly publicized court battle in Texas: several judicial decisions that have gone both for and against Smith in that time.
In 1996, Smith filed for bankruptcy in California as a result of a $850,000 judgment against her in a legal action unrelated to the Marshall estate. As any money potentially due her from the Marshall estate was part of her potential assets, the bankruptcy court involved itself in the matter.

Then, an ongoing battle between state courts began. In September 2000, a Los Angeles bankruptcy judge awarded her $449,754,134 of the estate. In July 2001, Houston Judge, the The Honorable Mike Wood affirmed the jury findings in the probate case by ruling that Smith was entitled to nothing and ordered Smith to pay over $1 million in fees and expenses to Pierce's legal team. The conflict between the Texas probate court and California bankruptcy court judgments forced the matter into federal court.

In March 2002, a federal judge vacated the California bankruptcy court's ruling and issued a new ruling but reduced the award to $88 million. In December 2004, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the March 2002 decision, affirming the Texas Probate jury findings that no misconduct had occurred, Smith was not one of J. Howard Marshall's heirs and that the federal courts lacked jurisdiction to overrule the probate decisions of a Texas state court.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided in September 2005 to hear the appeal of that decision. The Bush Administration subsequently directed the Solicitor General to intercede on Smith's behalf out of an interest to expand federal court jurisdiction over state probate disputes.
After months of waiting, Smith and her stepson Pierce learned of the Supreme Court's decision on May 1, 2006. The justices unanimously decided in favor of Smith. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion, stating that Smith should get a chance to pursue her claims in federal court.

This decision does not give Smith a portion of her husband's estate, which affirmed her right to pursue a share of it in federal court.

On June 20, 2006, E. Pierce Marshall died at age 67 after an infection. His widow, Elaine T. Marshall, now represents his estate.

Film and television career

Smith made a few film appearances in the beginning of her celebrity career, though little was done in the way of acting after. In 1994, both The Hudsucker Proxy and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult featured her in minor roles, and her first feature role was as Colette Dubois, a retired spy seeking revenge for the murder of her husband, in the action/thriller To the Limit (1995). Smith also starred in the action/thriller Skyscraper (1997). Both films, and Smith's performances in them, were usually critically panned.

During the course of the litigation over her late husband's estate, her career stalled, and her increasing weight, and reportedly bizarre and drug addled behavior made her a joke to many magazines and comedians in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

In 2002, she thrust herself back into public attention when she debuted in her own reality TV series on the E! channel. Her show, The Anna Nicole Show, displayed her ever slur, and blur addled reputation. The debut of the show was the highest rated series on the network, but critics blasted it for its appeal to the lowest common denominator of entertainment, and ratings dropped with each successive week. The show was canceled in February 2004 due to "creative differences," but not until America got a glimpse of Smith’s rumored penchant for self-medication, and her ongoing battle with her weight.

Smith became an icon simply being herself, and she played herself in Wasabi Tuna (2003), about a group of friends who kidnap her dog, Sugar-Pie, on Halloween, and Be Cool (2005), a crime/comedy about the film and music industries. In 2006, she also starred as Lucy in Illegal Aliens, which she also produced, a sci-fi/comedy about beautiful space aliens saving the earth from evil.

TrimSpa Baby

In October 2003, she became a spokesperson for TrimSpa, a weight loss suplement which helped her lose a reported 69 lbs., and regain her Playboy figure. This began a series of notable quotes, where she slurred product endorsements, such as “TrimSpa Baby,” and in November 2004, on the American Music Awards, "Like my BODY?!" which was mumbled at the top of her lungs while caressing her figure. All the tabloids screamed allegations of heavy drug use; however, her team maintains that her actions were a result of being in pain due to a series of grueling workouts, and that she couldn’t read the prompter because she was not wearing her contact lenses.

Other Endorsements

In March 2005, at the first MTV Australia Video Music Awards in Sydney's Luna Park, she spoofed Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction by pulling down her dress to reveal both breasts, each covered with the MTV logo.

Smith has also been featured in advertisements for the animal rights group PETA. Spoofing Marilyn Monroe's "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" segment in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, a 2004 ad states "Fur-free blondes are best." In another ad the following year, Smith posed with her dogs in a campaign against Iams dog food for their alleged cruelty to animals.

As of 2006, Smith gave up modeling. Though she remained a spokesperson for TrimSpa until her death in 2007.

Birth of her daughter

On June 1, 2006, Smith announced on her official website that she was 1 to 2 months pregnant. Two men claimed paternity of the unborn baby: photographer Larry Birkhead, and her lawer Howard K. Stern. On September 7, 2006, Smith gave birth to baby girl, Dannielyn at Doctors Hospital in Nassau, Bahamas, and shortly thereafter Anna Nicole's longtime personal attorney, Howard K. Stern, claimed in an interview with Larry King, on CNN's Larry King Live, that he was the father of Dannielyn. The Bahamian birth certificate lists her daughter's name as Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern with Howard as the father. However, entertainment photojournalist Larry Birkhead maintains his contention that he is the baby's father in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, and has filed a lawsuit to challenge paternity, which was ordered by Los Angeles court.

Entertainment Tonight displayed the video on Dannielyn’s birth, where Smith was giving birth via caesarian, and apparently the epidural she was given did not take effect. The home video shows Smith yelling in pain during the entire ordeal.

Death of Her Son, Daniel

On September 10, 2006, Anna Nicole's 20-year-old son, Daniel Wayne Smith, died suddenly while visiting his mother in her hospital room after the birth of her daughter. Apparently, Daniel was in Smith’s hospital room, and initially appeared asleep. When Smith realized he was unresponsive, she attempted to give him CPR to no avail. After the coroner labeled the death "reserved", Anna Nicole Smith hired forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht to perform a second autopsy on Daniel, which revealed that he died of a lethal combination of Zoloft, Lexapro, and Methadone, causing many to speculate where exactly he got the Methadone. Daniel also suffered from a degenerative heart problem, which was implied to have been a factor as well.

Shortly thereafter, Smith sold the last photos of Daniel taken at the time of Dannielyn’s birth to In Touch Weekly and Entertainment Tonight for a rumored US$650,000, causing many to debate the morality of such a sale.

Marriage to Stern

On top of all of the media attention surrounding her daughter’s birth, her son’s death and its subsequent handling of it all, on September 28, 2006, Smith and her longtime lawyer Howard K. Stern exchanged vows and rings in an informal commitment ceremony aboard the 41-foot catamaran called "Margaritaville" off the coast of the Bahamas. At one point in the wedding, she wore a pink bikini and swam around the boat. No marriage certificate was issued and the ceremony is not legally binding.

After the ceremony, they landed on the island of Sandy Kay where they had a party and celebrated with champagne, apple cider and Kentucky Fried Chicken that had been brought over for the occasion by sailboat.

Regarding the questionable timing of the ceremony, Smith's attorney in Nassau, stated, "This was intended to be a lift to steel them for Daniel's funeral." However, the photos of their wedding were sold through Getty Images to People Magazine for around $1,000,000, which showed Smith in what appeared to be several states of inebriation, and, again, only fueled negative speculation regarding her son's death and her own sense of decency.

Hear Death

Anna Nicole Smith was rushed from the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida to the emergency room after collapsing at the hotel on February 8, 2007, where she was staying with her husband. She was pronounced dead at the hospital at 2:49 EST. The circumstances surrounding her death are still unknown, however, and though initially no one is claiming “overdose,” the speculation is infinite.


Post a Comment

<< Home