Died: February 8, 2007 (at age 39)
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, U.S.
Anna Nicole Smith (born Vickie Lynn Hogan; November 28, 1967 - February 8, 2007) was an American model, actress and television personality. Smith first gained popularity in Playboy magazine when she won the title of 1993 Playmate of the Year. She modeled for fashion companies, including Guess, H&M, Heatherette and Lane Bryant.
Smith dropped out of high school at age 14 in 1982 and married in 1985. Her highly publicized second marriage to 89-year old J. Howard Marshall, a billionaire as a result of his 16% ownership stake in Koch Industries, resulted in speculation that she married the octogenarian for his money, which she denied. Following Marshall's death, Smith began a lengthy legal battle over a share of his estate. Her cases reached the Supreme Court of the United States: Marshall v. Marshall on a question of federal jurisdiction and Stern v. Marshall on a question of bankruptcy court authority.
During the final six months of her life, Smith was the focus of renewed press coverage surrounding the death of her son, Daniel, and the paternity and custody battle over her newborn daughter, Dannielynn Birkhead.
Smith died in 2007 in a Hollywood, Florida hotel room as a result of an overdose of prescription drugs.Smith was born Vickie Lynn Hogan in 1967 in Houston, Texas and raised in Mexia, Texas. She was the daughter of Donald Eugene Hogan (1947-2009) and Virgie Mae Arthur (née Tabers; b. 1951), who married on February 22, 1967 and divorced on November 4, 1969. She had five half siblings: Donna Hogan, David Tacker Jr., Donnie Hogan, Amy Hogan and Donald Hart. Smith was raised by her mother and an aunt. Smith's mother married Donald R. Hart in 1971, after which Smith changed her name from Vickie Hogan to Nikki Hart.
Smith attended Durkee Elementary School and Aldine Senior High School in Houston. When she was in the ninth grade, she was sent to live with her mother's younger sister, Kay Beall, in Mexia, Texas. At Mexia High School, Smith failed her freshman year and dropped out of school during her sophomore year. While working at Jim's Krispy Fried Chicken in Mexia, Smith met Billy Wayne Smith, a cook at the restaurant, and the couple married on April 4, 1985.
Smith appeared on the cover of the March 1992 issue of Playboy magazine as Vickie Smith. She appeared as the Playboy Playmate of the Month in a pictorial shot by Stephen Wayda for the May 1992 issue.
Smith secured a contract to replace supermodel Claudia Schiffer in a Guess jeans ad campaign featuring a series of sultry black-and-white photographs. During the Guess campaign, Smith changed her name to Anna Nicole Smith. Guess photographers noticed Smith bore a striking resemblance to bombshell Jayne Mansfield and showcased her in several Mansfield-inspired photo sessions. In 1993, she modeled for the Swedish clothing company H&M, which led to her being pictured on large billboards in Sweden and Norway. Smith appeared on the cover of German magazine Marie Claire, photographed by Peter Lindbergh.
A photograph of Smith 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 with cowboy boots as she eats chips. In October 1994, her lawyer, T. Patrick Freydl, initiated a $5 million lawsuit against the magazine, claiming that Smith did not authorize the use of her photo. The suit also alleged that the article damaged her reputation. Freydl stated that Smith was under the impression that she was being photographed to embody the "all-American look." Editor Kurt Andersen said that the photo was one of dozens taken for the cover, further stating, "I guess they just found the picture we chose unflattering." The lawsuit was reported to be settled.
Smith was successful as a model, but she never found the same recognition or success as an actress. She made her screen debut in the 1994 screwball comedy film, The Hudsucker Proxy as Za-Za, a flirtatious celebrity who flirts with the lead character, played by Tim Robbins, in a barbershop scene. Smith was next given a larger role as Tanya Peters in Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994), which was released seven days after her initial film debut. Her role as a pivotal contact to a crime earned her favorable reviews and the film enjoyed box office success. Despite the publicity for her performance in both films, neither did much to advance her acting career.
Smith wanted to be taken more seriously as an actress, but Hollywood studios were reluctant. Her persona of a ditzy dumb blonde was compressed heavily in her film roles, which sought only to market her physical assets. In an attempt to earn acting respect, Smith agreed to appear in To the Limit (1995), her first starring role. She played Colette Dubois, a retired spy seeking revenge on the murderer of her husband. Although the film was highly publicized and boasted a lavish budget and script, Smith's performance drew negative reviews and was ultimately a box office bomb. It was Smith's only venture in a mainstream Hollywood leading role.
Smith appeared as herself in the 1995 pilot episode of The Naked Truth, then attempted to revitalize her film career with a leading role in Skyscraper in 1996. The low-budget, direct-to-video film offered Smith no more than "soft-core exploitation" and her movie career again stalled.
In the late 1990s, Smith focused her acting career on television. She appeared on the variety series Sin City Spectacular in 1998. That same year, Smith appeared in the tell-all self-promoting film, Anna Nicole Smith: Exposed, which was based on several photo sessions during her Playboy career. She appeared as Donna, the friend of Veronica Chase, played by Kirstie Alley, on the sitcom Veronica's Closet in 1999. Smith guest-starred as Myra Jacobs in a 1999 episode of the surreal series, Ally McBeal.
In the early 2000s, Smith had very few acting roles. As a result of her rising popularity with tabloids and gossip columnists, Smith was given her own reality show on the E! cable network. The Anna Nicole Show premiered on August 4, 2002, achieving the highest cable rating for a reality show. The day the series premiered was the seventh anniversary of the death of J. Howard Marshall. The series attempted to focus on the private life of Smith, her boyfriend/attorney Howard K. Stern, her son Daniel Wayne Smith, her assistant Kimberly "Kimmie" Walther, her miniature poodle Sugar Pie, her gay interior decorator Bobby Trendy and her cousin from Texas, Shelly Cloud.
Despite the popularity of the show among college students and pop culture fans, viewership declined considerably by the end of its first season. It was, however, renewed for a second season, before being cancelled on June 1, 2003 after 27 episodes. E! announced that the series ended because of "creative differences" between the network and Smith, although Smith acknowledged the series ended because the network had lost interest in both her and the show.
Smith returned to film acting in 2003 with the comedy film Wasabi Tuna. In the film she played an over-the-top version of herself whose miniature poodle, Sugar Pie, is stolen from her on Halloween by a team of drag queens dressed like her. Neither the film nor her performance drew positive reviews. In 2005, she briefly appeared as a spectator at a basketball game in Be Cool, starring John Travolta. In late 2005, she agreed to play Lucy in the self-produced independent parody film Illegal Aliens alongside wrestler Joani "Chyna" Laurer. It attempted to parody several popular television shows from the 1970s and 1980s as well as several film franchises and was released direct-to-video on May 1, 2007, three months after Smith's death.
In an interview on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Smith was asked what her "Playmate diet" consisted of. She instantly replied, "Fried chicken." In October 2003, she became a spokeswoman for TrimSpa, which allegedly helped her lose a reported 69 pounds (31 kg). TrimSpa diet product company and Smith were sued in a class action lawsuit alleging their marketing of a weight loss pill was false or misleading.
In November 2004, Smith appeared at the American Music Awards to introduce Kanye West and attracted attention because of her slurred speech and behavior. During her live appearance, she threw her arms up and asked, "Like my body?" Smith murmured other comments and alluded to TrimSpa. The incident became comic material for presenters throughout the rest of the program. Her appearance was featured in the media the following day. Tabloids speculated that Smith was under the influence of pills or a controlled substance. Her representatives explained that she was in pain due to a series of grueling workouts.
In March 2005, at the first MTV Australia Video Music Awards in Sydney's Luna Park, Smith spoofed Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction by pulling down her dress to reveal both breasts, each covered with the MTV logo.
Smith was 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, "Gentlemen prefer fur-free blondes." Due to her support of the anti-fur movement, in particular her criticism of Canadian seal hunting, PETA began a petition in memory of Smith asking Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to end the annual tradition. 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 well as the manufacturer Procter & Gamble and sister company Eukanuba.
While performing in October 1991 at Gigi's (a Houston strip club later renamed as "Pleasures"), Smith met 86-year old petroleum tycoon J. Howard Marshall, a billionaire as a result of his 16% ownership stake in Koch Industries. During their two-year affair, Marshall reportedly lavished expensive gifts on Smith and asked her to marry him several times. She divorced her husband on February 3, 1993 in Houston. On June 27, 1994, Smith and Marshall were married in Houston, resulting in speculation that she married him for his money. Smith reportedly never lived with Marshall, never had sex with him and never kissed him on the mouth more than ten times. She maintained that she loved Marshall and that age did not matter to her. On August 4, 1995, thirteen months after his marriage to Smith, Marshall died in Houston at age 90.
Even though Smith was not in the will of J. Howard Marshall, she claimed that in return for marriage, Marshall orally promised her half of his estate, which primarily consisted of a 16% interest in Koch Industries, then worth $1.6 billion. E. Pierce Marshall, a son of J. Howard Marshall, disputed the claim. Smith temporarily joined forces with J. Howard's other son, J. Howard Marshall III, who was disowned after attempting to take control of Koch Industries. Howard III also claimed that his father had verbally promised him a portion of the estate; like Smith, Howard III was also left out of his father's will.
In 1996, Smith filed for bankruptcy in California as a result of a $850,000 default judgment against her for the sexual harassment of a nanny who cared for her son. Since any money potentially due to her from the Marshall estate was part of her potential assets, the bankruptcy court involved itself in the matter.
In September 2000, a Los Angeles bankruptcy judge awarded Smith $449,754,134, the amount that the value of his interest in Koch Industries rose in value during their marriage. However, in July 2001, Houston judge Mike Wood affirmed the jury's findings in the probate case by ruling that Smith was entitled to nothing. The judge ordered Smith to pay over $1 million to cover the legal costs and expenses of E. Pierce Marshall. The conflict between the Texas probate court and California bankruptcy court judgments forced the matter into the Federal judiciary of the United States.
In March 2002, a federal judge vacated the California bankruptcy court's ruling and issued a new ruling that reduced the award to $88 million. On December 30, 2004, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision on the grounds that the federal courts lacked jurisdiction to overrule the probate court decision.
In September 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States decided to hear the appeal of that decision. The George W. Bush administration directed Paul Clement, the United States Solicitor General, to intercede on Smith's behalf out of an interest in expanding federal court jurisdiction over state probate disputes. On May 1, 2006, the Supreme Court unanimously decided in favor of Smith. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the opinion. 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 from an infection. His widow, Elaine Tettemer Marshall, pursued the case on behalf of his estate. The case was remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to adjudicate the remaining appellate issues not previously resolved.
After Smith's death in 2007, the case continued on behalf of Smith's infant daughter, Dannielynn Birkhead. In March 2010, an appeals court upheld the verdict barring Smith from the estate. Following the decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, lawyers for Smith's estate appealed the decision to the entire 9th circuit. On May 6, 2010, the appeal was denied. On September 28, 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear the case.
On June 23, 2011, in the case of Stern v. Marshall, the Supreme Court issued a ruling against Smith's estate, ruling that the California bankruptcy court decision that gave her estate $475 million was made without subject-matter jurisdiction. The court agreed with the ruling of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that a bankruptcy court could not make a decision on an issue outside bankruptcy law.
In 2011, Smith's estate filed a motion in United States district court to obtain $44 million in compensatory damages and to sanction the estate of E. Pierce Marshall. In August 2014, David O. Carter, a federal U.S. District Court judge in Orange County, California, rejected these efforts.
Smith was addicted to prescription medications. Psychiatrist Dr. Nathalie Maullin said she met Smith in April 2006 in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and that Smith had borderline personality disorder.
On June 1, 2006, Smith announced her pregnancy in a video clip on her official website. "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."
Smith's daughter, Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern, was born September 7, 2006, in New Providence, The Bahamas. In an interview with Larry King on CNN's Larry King Live after the death of Smith's son, her longtime personal attorney, Howard K. Stern, said that he and Smith had been in a relationship for "a very long time" and that due to the timing of the pregnancy, he was confident that he was the father of the baby. Entertainment photographer Larry Birkhead maintained that he was the baby's father and filed a lawsuit to establish paternity. The Bahamian birth certificate recorded the father as Howard K. Stern.
A judge in the United States ordered that DNA tests be performed to determine the biological father of Smith's daughter. Following Smith's death, Debra Opri, Birkhead's attorney, asked for an emergency DNA sample to be taken from Smith's body. Smith's lawyer, Ron Rale, objected to Opri's request. The request was denied by a judge who ordered that Smith's body be preserved until February 20.
According to a story published in the New York Daily News, Donna Hogan, Smith's younger half-sister, said Smith froze the sperm of her second husband, Marshall, prior to his death. The newspaper said that Hogan wrote in her unpublished manuscript about her sister, entitled Train Wreck, that "To her family, she hinted that she had used the old man's frozen sperm, and would be giving birth to Howard Marshall's child". The publisher of Hogan's book described the newspaper's claims as a hoax. On February 9, 2007, Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband, Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt, said that he had had a decade-long affair with Smith and could potentially be the father of her daughter. Alexander Denk, a former bodyguard for Anna Nicole Smith, reportedly told the tabloid television program Extra that he had an affair with Smith and that he, too, was potentially the father.
After Smith's death, TMZ.com reported that Smith had been given a prescription for methadone under a false name while she was in her eighth month of pregnancy. The Medical Board of California launched a review into the matter. The prescribing doctor, Sandeep Kapoor, said his treatment was "sound and appropriate."
On April 10, 2007, a Bahamian judge ruled that DNA tests had established Birkhead as the father of Smith's daughter. Birkhead said, "I hate to be the one to tell you this, but I told you so. I'm the father. My baby's going to be coming home pretty soon." Birkhead subsequently applied for an amended birth certificate listing him as the father, which paved the way for him to obtain a passport for the baby to leave with him for the United States. Stern did not contest the DNA results or the ruling and Birkhead returned to the United States with the baby. Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur, appealed the ruling, but her appeal was denied and she was ordered to pay costs.
Smith's 20-year-old son, Daniel Smith, died on September 10, 2006 in his mother's hospital room while visiting her and her baby. After the coroner labeled the death "reserved", Smith hired forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht to perform a second autopsy.
A death certificate was issued on September 21, 2006 so that Daniel Smith could be buried. While Smith remained in the Bahamas with Dannielynn and Stern, her son'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 Smith was buried at Lake View Cemetery in New Providence, Bahamas, on October 19, 2006, almost six weeks after his death. According to Stern, Smith was devastated over her son's death. "Anna and Daniel were inseparable. Daniel was without question the most important person in Anna's life," Stern told Florida Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin during his testimony in Smith's body custody trial. "At Daniel's funeral, she had them open the coffin and tried to climb inside. She said that 'if Daniel has to be buried, I want to be buried with him. She was ready to go down with him." Stern said that "Anna saw herself as both mother and father to Daniel. From the time I met her, everything was for Daniel. I would say that physically, she died last week, but in a lot of ways, emotionally she died when Daniel died."
Wecht announced on Larry King Live that the autopsy he performed showed that Daniel Smith died from a lethal combination of antidepressants Zoloft, Lexapro and the painkiller methadone. Wecht explained that methadone is used in the treatment of heroin addiction and chronic pain.
On September 28, 2006, Smith and Stern exchanged vows and rings in an informal commitment ceremony aboard the 41-foot (12 m) 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 suit with white shirt. Although they pledged their love and made a commitment to be there for each other before a Baptist minister, no marriage certificate was issued and the ceremony was not legally binding. After the ceremony, they landed on the island of Sandy Cay, 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 said, "They needed a little adrenaline boost because things have been so hectic and devastating in their life recently." Photos of the ceremony were sold through Getty Images to People magazine for around $1 million.
Smith and Stern were reportedly staying in The Bahamas to avoid paternity testing of her daughter in the United States. In late 2006, Smith was granted permanent resident status in the Bahamas by Immigration Minister Shane Gibson. On February 11, 2007, newspaper photographs were published showing Smith lying clothed in bed in an embrace with Gibson. Opposition politicians in the Bahamas accused the minister of improper behavior. Gibson resigned as a result of the controversy and claimed that the photos, taken by Stern, were innocent.
The basis of Smith's permanent residency status was the claim that she owned a $900,000 mansion, which she said was given to her by a former boyfriend, real estate developer Gaither Ben Thompson of South Carolina. Thompson asserted that he loaned Smith the finances to purchase the property, which she failed to repay, and that he was attempting to regain control of the property. Thompson sued to evict Smith from the property in Bahama Court and received a default judgment against her when she failed to respond to the eviction or appear in court on November 28, 2006. Ford Shelley, Thompson's son-in-law, claimed that methadone was found in Smith's bedroom refrigerator while the mansion was being reclaimed. A photograph provided to TMZ showed a large bottle of methadone along with vials of injectable vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) in the refrigerator and diet product Slimfast.
On February 8, 2007, Smith was found dead in Room 607 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Tasma Brighthaupt, a friend of Smith who was a trained emergency nurse, performed CPR for 15 minutes until her husband, Maurice "Big Moe" Brighthaupt, Smith's friend and bodyguard, took over. He had driven back to the hotel after being notified by his wife of Smith's condition. According to Seminole Police Chief Charlie Tiger, at 1:38 p.m. (EST), Maurice Brighthaupt, who was also a trained paramedic, called the hotel front desk from Smith's sixth-floor room. The front desk in turn called security, who then called 911. At 1:45 p.m. (EST), the bodyguard administered CPR until paramedics arrived. At 2:10 p.m. (EST), Smith was rushed to Memorial Regional Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival at 2:49 p.m. (EST)
A phone call involving Seminole police and the local 911 operators was released to the public on February 13, 2007. The call said, "We need assistance to Room 607 at the Hard Rock. It's in reference to a white female. She's not breathing and not responsive. Actually, it's Anna Nicole Smith."
A seven-week investigation was led by Broward County Medical Examiner and forensic pathologist Joshua Perper in conjunction with Seminole police and several independent forensic pathologists and toxicologists. Perper announced that Smith died of "combined drug intoxication" with the sleeping medication chloral hydrate as the "major component." No illegal drugs were found in her system. The official report states that her death was not considered to be due to homicide, suicide or natural causes. The full investigative report has been made public and can be found online. Additionally, an official copy of the autopsy report was publicly released on March 26, 2007, and can be found online.
Smith's death was ultimately ruled an accidental drug overdose of the sedative chloral hydrate that became increasingly lethal when combined with other prescription drugs in her system, specifically four benzodiazepines: Klonopin (clonazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Serax (oxazepam) and Valium (diazepam). Furthermore, she had taken Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and Topamax (topiramate), an anticonvulsant AMPA/Kainate antagonist, which likely contributed to the sedative effect of chloral hydrate and the benzodiazepines. Despite rumors of methadone use due to its involvement in the death of Smith's son, Perper only found methadone in her bile, indicating it could only have been ingested 2-3 days prior to her death, and therefore was not a contributing factor. The autopsy report indicates that abscesses on her buttocks, presumably from prior injections of vitamin B12 in the form of cyanocobalamin, as well as human growth hormone) and viral enteritis were contributory causes of death. Tests for influenza A and B were negative.
It was reported that eight of the 11 drugs in Smith's system, including the chloral hydrate, were prescribed to Stern, not Smith. Additionally, two of the prescriptions were written for Alex Katz and one was written for Smith's friend and psychiatrist, Dr. Khristine Elaine Eroshevich. Perper acknowledged that all 11 prescriptions were written by Eroshevich.
Smith's funeral took place March 2, 2007.
Smith's will was prepared by attorney Eric Lund and executed on July 30, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. Smith named her son, Daniel, as the sole beneficiary of her estate, specifically excluded other children and named Stern executor of the estate. It indicated personal property valued at $10,000 and real property valued at $1.8 million, with a $1.1 million mortgage, at the time of her death. A petition to probate Smith's will was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court listing Birkhead as a party with interest to the estate. A six-foot-long (1.8 m) black granite monument was installed at Smith's grave in the Bahamas in February 2009.
|1994||The Hudsucker Proxy||Za-Za||Film debut|
|1994||Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult||Tanya Peters|
|1995||To the Limit||Colette Dubois|
|1998||Anna Nicole Smith: Exposed||Herself||Also credited as a director, writer and producer|
|2007||Illegal Aliens||Lucy||(final film role); shot in 2005 (released posthumously)|
|1995||The Naked Truth||Herself||Episode: "Wilde Again"|
|1998||Sin City Spectacular|
|1999||Veronica's Closet||Donna||Episode: "Veronica's Wedding Bell Blues"|
|1999||Ally McBeal||Myra Jacobs||Episode: "Pyramids on the Nile"|
|2000||N.Y.U.K.||Dr. Anita Hugg|
|2002-2004||The Anna Nicole Show||Herself|
|2005||Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson||Herself (in audience)|
|2005||Comedy Central Roast of Jeff Foxworthy||Herself (via satellite)|
|2007||Larry King Live||Herself|
|1993||Will You Love Me Tomorrow||Bryan Ferry|
|1997||My Heart Belongs to Daddy||Marilyn Monroe||Remake of the Marilyn Monroe song. Music/lyrics by Cole Porter. Directed in France by Nicolaï Lo Russo.|
|1997||You Win, I Lose||Supertramp|
|1998||Jumper||Third Eye Blind|
|2004||The New Workout Plan||Kanye West|
|1995||Golden Raspberry Awards||Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult||Worst New Star||Won|
|2003||Teen Choice Awards||The Anna Nicole Show||"Choice Reality/Variety Female TV Star"||Nominated|