Vickie Lynn Marshall (November 28, 1967 – February 8, 2007), better known by her stage name Anna Nicole Smith, was an American model, actress and celebrity who first gained popularity as Playboy's 1993 Playmate of the Year.
Her highly publicized marriage to oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall, who was 63 years her senior, resulted in considerable speculation that she married the octogenarian merely for his money, which she denied. Following his death, she began a lengthy and ongoing legal battle over a share of his estate. Her case, Marshall v. Marshall reached the U.S. Supreme Court on a question of federal jurisdiction.
She was born Vickie Lynn Hogan on November 28, 1967 in Houston, Texas. She was the daughter of Donald Eugene Hogan (born July 12, 1947) and Virgie Mae Tabers (born July 12, 1951), who were married on February 22, 1967. Her father then left the family; he and Virgie were divorced November 4, 1969. Smith was raised by her mother and maternal aunt, Elaine. Virgie was subsequently married to Donald R. Hart (1971), to Joe D. Thompson (1987), to James T. Sanders (1996), and to James H. Arthur (2000). After Virgie married Donald R. Hart, Vickie changed her name to Nikki Hart. Vickie's younger half-sisters are Donna Hogan and Amy Hogan. Her older half-brother is David L. Tacker, Jr., and her younger half-brothers are Donald R. Hart, Jr., and Donald R. Hogan.
While growing up, Vickie told others she wanted to be the next Marilyn Monroe. She failed her freshman year at Mexia High School in Mexia, Texas, dropped out of her sophomore year, and never progressed past an eighth grade education. While working as a waitress at Jim's Krispy Fried Chicken in Mexia, she met Billy Wayne Smith, who was the cook at the restaurant. They were married April 4, 1985. She was then age 17 and he was 16. The next year, she gave birth to their son, Daniel Wayne Smith (January 22, 1986–September 10, 2006). She and Billy separated in 1987 and she moved to Houston with one-year-old Daniel. Initially, she found employment at Wal-Mart and later as a waitress at Red Lobster. She then became a stripper at a nightclub in Houston.
Playboy and modeling career
Smith's career took off after she entered her photos in a search contest. 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 was subsequently called "the next Marilyn Monroe" in press reports, a comparison she encouraged by wearing a hairstyle reminiscent of Monroe's, as well as her trademark white dress.
Becoming one of Playboy's most popular models, Smith began a trend for a more voluptuous look. She next posed nude for the May 1992 centerfold (under the name Vickie Smith).
Smith was chosen to be the 1993 Playmate of the Year. By the time of her PMOY pictorial, she finally settled on the name Anna Nicole Smith.
The cover for the June 1993 issue of Playboy
She secured a contract to replace supermodel Claudia Schiffer in the Guess jeans ad campaign in a series of sultry black and white photographs. Guess capitalized on Smith's strong resemblance to sex symbol Jayne Mansfield and even put her in Jayne-inspired photo sessions.
Smith once did a nude Playboy layout in Mansfield's famous Beverly Hills mansion, the "Pink Palace.
A photograph of the voluptuous model was used by New York magazine on the cover of its August 22, 1994 issue titled White Trash Nation. In the photo, she appears squatting in a short skirt and cowboy boots as she eats chips.
In October 1994, her lawyer initiated a $5,000,000 lawsuit against the magazine claiming unauthorized use of her photo and that the article had damaged her reputation. 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 dozens taken for the cover and that he guessed they [her and her lawyer] just found the picture that was chosen unflattering.
Marriage to Marshall
While performing at Gigi's, a Houston strip club, in October 1991, Smith met elderly oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall and they began a relationship. During their two-year relationship, he reportedly lavished gifts on her and asked her to marry him several times.
She divorced her husband Billy on February 3, 1993, in Houston. On June 27, 1994, Smith, age 26, and Marshall, age 89, were married in Houston. This resulted in a great deal of gossip about her marrying him for his money. Though she reportedly never lived with him , Smith maintained she loved her husband and that age did not matter to her.
Thirteen months after his marriage to Smith, Marshall died on August 4, 1995, in Houston.
Inheritance court cases
Within weeks of J. Howard Marshall's death, Smith squared off against his son, E. Pierce Marshall, for half of her late husband's $1.6 billion estate. She joined forces with J. Howard's other son, James Howard Marshall III, whom the elder Howard had disowned. Howard III claimed J. Howard orally promised him a portion of his estate; like Smith, Howard III was also left out of J. Howard's will, which he updated weeks after their marriage. The case has gone on for more than a decade, producing a highly publicized court battle in Texas and 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.
Smith claimed J. Howard orally promised her half of his estate if she married him. In September 2000, a Los Angeles bankruptcy judge awarded her $449,754,134. In July 2001, Houston judge 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. (See Marshall v. Marshall) The decision did not give Smith a portion of her husband's estate, but 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.
The case has been remanded to the 9th Circuit to adjudicate the remaining appellate issues not previously resolved.
Film and television career
Though her film appearances in The Hudsucker Proxy and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult were highly publicized in 1994, little was done to further Smith's acting career. Her first starring 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 next starred in the action/thriller Skyscraper (1997), which she also produced, as a helicopter pilot, Carrie Wisk, who lands on a high rise building and, upon learning it has been taken over by terrorists, becomes engaged in a deadly fight to save hostages.
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. Her legal battle, her increasing weight, and her reportedly bizarre behavior made her regular fodder for late night television comedians.
In 2002, she debuted in her own reality TV series on the E! cable network, The Anna Nicole Show. The series focused on her personal and private life in the manner of other reality shows, such as the ratings hit The Osbournes.
The debut of the The Anna Nicole Show was the highest rated series on the network, but critics blasted it and ratings dropped with each successive week. However, it achieved a cult status as many fans found humor in Smith's absurd antics. The show was cancelled in February 2004 due to "creative differences," but has retained some life in reruns and on DVD releases.
Smith's next appearance on the big screen was as herself in Wasabi Tuna (2003), about a group of friends who kidnap her dog, Sugar-Pie, on Halloween. She appeared as herself again in Be Cool (2005), a crime/comedy about the film and music industries that stars John Travolta, Uma Thurman and The Rock.
In 2006, she starred as Lucy in Illegal Aliens, which she also produced, a sci-fi/comedy about beautiful space aliens saving the earth from evil.
Smith as spokesperson
In an interview on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, she was asked what her "Playmate diet" consisted of. She instantly replied, "fried chicken." In October 2003, she became a spokesperson for TrimSpa, which helped her lose a reported 69 lbs (31 kg).
In November 2004, she appeared at the American Music Awards to introduce a musical performance and attracted attention because of her slurred speech and behavior. During her live appearance, she threw her arms up and exclaimed, "Like my body?". Smith murmured other comments and alluded to TrimSpa. The incident became comic material for presenters throughout the rest of the program.
The following day, her appearance was featured in the news. Tabloids speculated that Smith was under the influence of pills or some other controlled substance. Her representatives explained that she was in pain due to a series of grueling workouts. They further asserted that she had difficulty reading the prompter because she was not wearing her contact lenses.
After reportedly losing some 80 lbs. (36 kg), Smith returned to her trim shape from the early 1990s.
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, although she remained a spokesperson for TrimSpa.
Birth of daughter
Smith announced on June 1, 2006, in a video clip posted on her official website that she was pregnant. "Let me stop all the rumors," she said, while floating on an inflatable raft in a swimming pool. "Yes, I am pregnant. I'm happy, I'm very, very happy about it. Everything's goin' really, really good and I'll be checking in and out periodically on the web, and I'll let you see me as I'm growing.
Though her announcement did not provide any details, in an interview with Larry King on CNN's Larry King Live, Smith's longtime personal attorney Howard K. Stern said that he had loved her for quite some time and they were confident he fathered the baby because of the timing of the pregnancy. However, her ex-boyfriend, entertainment photojournalist Larry Birkhead, steadfastly maintained his contention that he is the baby's father and filed a lawsuit to challenge paternity.
Smith's daughter, Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern, was born September 7, 2006, at Doctors Hospital in Nassau, Bahamas. The Bahamian birth certificate records the father as Howard K. Stern.
A judge in the United States ordered that DNA tests be performed to determine who is the biological father of Dannielynn. Following Anna's death, Debra Opri, the lawyer of Larry Birkhead, asked for a DNA sample to be taken from the corpse. This action outraged Smith's lawyer, Ron Rale, who called it "the lowest form of behaviour I've ever heard of. The request was denied by a judge, ordering Smith's body preserved until February 20.
On February 9, 2007, Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt claimed that he had a decade-long affair with Smith and could potentially be the father of her infant girl, Dannielynn.
Death of son
Main article: Daniel Wayne Smith
Smith's 20-year-old son, Daniel Smith, died on September 10, 2006 in his mother's hospital room while visiting her and his newborn sister. After the coroner labeled the death "reserved," Smith hired forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht to perform a second autopsy.
Dr. Wecht announced on Larry King Live that the procedure he performed on September 17, 2006, showed that Daniel died from a lethal combination of Zoloft, Lexapro and methadone. Although he explained that methadone is used in the treatment of heroin and morphine addiction, he said he has no information to make any conclusion about the reason he was using the drug.
His death certificate was issued on September 21, 2006, so that he could be buried. While Smith remained in the Bahamas with Dannielynn and Stern, Daniel's family in the United States, including his father, Billy Smith, gathered with friends on October 7, 2006, in Mexia, Texas, for a memorial service.
Daniel was buried at Lake View Cemetery on Nassau Island, Bahamas, on October 19, 2006, almost six weeks after his death. It was reported that Smith intended to live on the island, with no plans to return to the U.S.
Commitment ceremony with Stern
On September 28, 2006, Smith and Howard Stern exchanged vows and rings in an informal commitment ceremony aboard the 41-foot catamaran Margaritaville off the coast of the Bahamas. She wore a white dress and carried a bouquet of red roses, while he wore a black dress suit with white shirt. Although they pledged their love and made a commitment to be there for one another before a Baptist minister, 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 and apple cider that had been brought over for the occasion by sailboat.
Regarding the questionable timing of the ceremony, Smith's attorney in Nassau, stated, "They needed a little adrenaline boost because things have been so hectic and devastating in their life recently, The photos of their ceremony were sold through Getty Images to People Magazine for around $1,000,000.
Anna Nicole Smith diesOn February 8, 2007, Smith was found unresponsive in a room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. A spokeswoman from the hotel stated that Smith checked in on February 5th at 8 p.m as a guest and was due to check out on Friday, February 9th. According to Seminole Police Chief Charlie Tiger, at 1:38 p.m. (18:38 UTC) a nurse in Smith's sixth floor room called the hotel front desk, who in turn called security, who in turn called 911. At 1:45 p.m. a bodyguard administered CPR before she was rushed to Memorial Regional Hospital at 2:10 p.m and pronounced DOA at 2:49 p.m. Smith's companion, Howard K. Stern, was not with her when in the hotel room when she died and has reported to Entertainment Tonight that her temperature was running 104 degrees the night before. Smith's attorney, Ron Rale, stated that Smith had flu-like symptoms for the last couple of days before her death. Entertainment Tonight's Mark Steines stated that Smith had to take an ice bath on February 5th after her fever reached 105 degrees. MSNBC Reporters had been told that witnesses at the Hard Rock Hotel's bars observed her drinking profusely to the point where she couldn't even walk independently. The Police chief has said that there is no indication that a crime has occurred in Smith's death. Allegedly, many prescription drugs were found in the hotel room, but the preliminary results of the autopsy found no drugs in Smith's stomach.
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