In her 39 years of life, Anna Nicole Smith larboard her mark in some abrupt places.
Following an bankrupt accomplishments in alone Texas she became one of the best acclaimed faces of the '90s as a Playboy awning babe and Guess model. She had a absoluteness actualization afore television was overrun with absoluteness shows. Aback she was 26, she affiliated an 89-year-old billionaire whom she'd met while stripping. And in 2006 she concluded up at the United States Supreme Cloister while still affronted for her bequest 11 years afterwards her bedmate died.
Her acceleration to acclaim may accept arise as a abruptness to those who knew Vickie Lynn Hogan as a kid in Mexia, aback she alone out of aerial academy at 15 and went to assignment at a fast-food craven restaurant. But the girl who would become Anna Nicole Smith, aloof as her idol Marilyn Monroe transcended her apprehensive ancestry as Norma Jean Baker, had consistently dreamed of bigger and bigger things.
In fact, Smith—who would accept been 50 years old today—used to biking with a scattering of Monroe films in her bag. She accepted to accepting four of them with her on a cruise to New York during a 1993 actualization on Live With Regis and Kathie Lee.
Asked if it was accurate that she hadn't "blossomed" until afterwards the inferior prom, Smith smiled and said, "No, until afterwards I had my son, afresh I went way out," apropos to the 36-28-38 abstracts that fabricated her such a memorable centerfold. "They accept so abounding altered stories, nobody's gettin' annihilation right," she added.
At the moment she was apropos to the abettor adventure of her affliction curves, but in hindsight it was an eerily clear-sighted ascertainment about the canicule ahead, aback bodies would cease to see the person amid the accouterment of balance that anon amidst her.
Smith (née Hogan) alone out of aerial academy and affiliated Billy Wayne Smith in 1985, aback she was 17. They accustomed their son Daniel Smith on Jan. 22, 1986.
Statuesque at 5'11", she went from 125 pounds to 211 pounds during her pregnancy—but she couldn't acknowledgment Kathie Lee Gifford's appeal for advice aback the host asked how she absent the weight "in all the appropriate places" and concluded up with her enviable proportions. "I don't assignment out," Smith responded sheepishly.
Her big breach came aback she landed the March 1992 awning of Playboy and in 1993 Hugh Hefner alleged her Playmate of the Year.
Guess architect Paul Marciano remembered his aboriginal affair with Smith, anon afterwards her Playboy debut, in a July 2017 account with Paper magazine.
"I begin her in San Antonio. I was cutting GUESS Kids and she came with her son Daniel," he said. "I said, 'Who are you?' She said she was a waitress at Red Lobster. Everything I asked her she alleged me 'sir.' She had never done pictures before. I had the kids' columnist shoot her on the spot. I took her to New York and got her an abettor and afflicted her name. To me, she was Anna, but Anna Smith did not complete appropriate so we did Anna Nicole Smith."
Smith succeeded Claudia Schifferas the face of the brand, announcement a refreshingly absolute (although still unreal) body type amid the grunge-era waifs so in appearance at the time.
"I anticipate a lot of women can chronicle to my size," Smith agreed on Live in 1993.
She had additionally aloof kicked off her acting career with one band in The Hudsucker Proxy—and she had reunited with her biological ancestor for the aboriginal time since her parents' annulment in 1969, enlisting a account alleged Bearing Parents to clue him down, which they did in about a week. Application her beginning name and not absolute who she was, Smith flew him out to L.A. "He goes, 'oh my god, I've looked at you,'" she recalled, bedlam and additionally wincing a bit in embarrassment. "In the Playboy," she antiseptic to a aghast Regis and Kathie Lee.
"She was active the dream," Larry Birkhead, Anna Nicole's above admirer and ancestor of her daughter, Dannielynn Birkhead, reminisced to ABC News earlier this year. "Here she is, a little babe from Texas, went from animate in a craven berth to authoritative movies with big stars in Hollywood."
Smith's brilliant was absolutely on the rise. But it was about a year afterwards aback her Cinderella adventure took an certain about-face for the weird.
Time Activity Pictures/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Smith and bedmate Billy afar in 1993 and the afterward year she affiliated Texas oil administrator J. Howard Marshall, whom she had met years advanced aback she was animate at a strip club and who was 63 years her senior. She insisted she affiliated him for love, not money. She told ABC News in 2000 that Marshall "took me out of a abhorrent abode and he cares for me and my son, and in return, I took affliction of him, and I admired him for that."
Marshall died in 1995 and, abundant to the abuse of his heirs, Smith sued for bisected of her backward husband's $1.6 billion estate, advancement that—while he didn't accommodate her in his will—he had advised to set up a assurance to accommodate for her as he ahead had set a assurance up years afore for his family.
Marshall's son E. Pierce Marshall, who affiliated about the absolute estate, argued that his ancestor had already been abundantly acceptable to his bays wife, showering her with ability and alleviative her to a abundant lifestyle.
A sexual aggravation clothing filed adjoin Smith by her son's assistant resulted in a $800,000 acumen adjoin her afterwards she absent several depositions, consistent in Smith filing for defalcation in California. Pierce then filed a defamation affirmation adjoin her bankruptcy, affronted at her claims that he had interfered with his father's intentions and prevented him from ambience up the assurance for Smith, isolating the old man in the process.
Broke and in debt, Smith was demography huge amounts of painkillers and concluded up in a blackout afterwards an overdose. She concluded up blockage into the Betty Ford Center to get apple-pie but by aboriginal 1996 she had collapsed off the wagon. According to a 2011 New York magazine profile, one of her nipples tore afterwards a breast implant ruptured, and the affliction of reconstructive anaplasty resulted in her activity aback on painkillers.
Around this time she was alone by her bureau William Morris and she active up for representation with a babyish Beverly Hills acknowledged firm. One of the ally was advocate Howard K. Stern, who would agency into Anna Nicole's adventure consistently after.
In October 2006, a federal defalcation adjudicator in California sided with Smith, accordant that Pierce had advisedly approved to accumulate her abroad from Marshall's money, and awarded her $449 million, additional $25 actor in amercement from Pierce; the bulk was afterwards bargain to about $88 million. A trial underway in accompaniment probate cloister in Texas, however, would anon aftereffect in Smith actuality awarded nothing. Because the defalcation cloister was aggravating to advance its cardinal over the accompaniment court, Pierce appealed to the U.S. District Cloister in Los Angeles, which shrank the accolade to $88 million, in accordance with Marshall's declared affiance to leave Smith bisected of what he acceptable during the time they were together.
Not acceptable abundant for Pierce. He took it to the 9th Circuit Cloister of Appeals.
The case would annoyance on, but in the meantime, Smith's drug troubles and the media bazaar over these acknowledged diplomacy (not to acknowledgment her alliance in the aboriginal place) had categorical abroad at her glamour-girl status.
She had a memorable role as the bad guy's alluring adherent in Naked Gun 33 1/3 in 1994 and starred as an ex-CIA agent in the 1995 B-thriller To the Limit, but that was the end of her cine career in the 1990s. She wouldn't shoot addition blur until Illegal Aliens, which came out afterwards she died on Feb. 8, 2007, of a lethal cocktail of decree drugs in a auberge allowance in Hollywood, Fla., her affection accepting been burst by the afterlife of her son, Daniel, bristles months prior.
"She had such a alluring personality, but you could see that she was fragile," Marciano told Paper. "Success came and she got accustomed by people. She started demography sleeping pills because she couldn't beddy-bye and bond booze with them. I chock-full animate with her because I couldn't accord with that. I said, 'We're done.' Afterwards that she met the amiss people, and I anticipate that was it."
By the time she starred in The Anna Nicole Actualization on E! in 2002, she had angry into a pop ability curiosity. The actualization alone lasted for 14 episodes, but the scenes of a about articular Smith slurring her words, adage some accidentally hilarious, crazy-ass stuff, and accessory to her circadian diplomacy as if she was beneath baptize would linger.
Amid a Hollywood arena that would anon bolt up Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie, Mischa Barton and Britney Spears and discharge them out in assorted stages of disrepair, Smith too became accepted added for her antics than for any aboveboard career move.
At the G-Phoria Awards in 2004, her larboard sleeve bootless her and her absolute breast popped out of her dress. Smith covered up with her duke but didn't arise too concerned. Additionally that year, she appeared in the video for Kanye West's "The New Workout Plan," which fabricated it at atomic hardly barefaced aback she memorably asked, "Like my body?" at the Billboard Music Awards afore haltingly introducing the "freaking genius" rapper.
In 2005, she entered an ultimately actual absolute wet T-shirt challenge at a club alleged the Freaky Tiki in Myrtle Beach, S.C.., and reportedly concluded up in a agreeable bout with Birkhead, who was articular as her boyfriend. Belief about the affray concluded aloft Smith's own website afore actuality taken down.
Stern showed up as well, evidently attractive out for her. He afterwards told MSNBC.com's The Scoop, "The acumen we took bottomward the postings was that we don't appetite Anna defamed on her own website." To set the almanac straight, he said, she was cutting pasties, she didn't take, or ask, for pills, and she didn't accept a boyfriend. "The alone affair that was accurate is that I went there to save her because she didn't feel safe," Stern said. "She met some acceptable bodies in South Carolina and some bad bodies and I catechism their motives. I'm animated we got her out of there on time."
Birkhead said on 20/20 in February that he and Smith were absolutely an ambiguous-to-the-public-eye couple. "No one anytime knew one time that I was her boyfriend," he said. "The accomplished time we dated, if you attending at all the video, I'm in the aback accustomed my camera bag...she didn't appetite me in the spotlight."
All the while, Marshall vs. Marshall was still raging. The U.S. Cloister of Appeals had agreed with Pierce, that Smith was advantaged to nothing. Her acknowledged aggregation responded by demography their case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed to apprehend it in 2006.
Smith, accepting absent 69 pounds aback acceptable a face of TrimSpa and attractive convalescent than she had in years, appeared at the audition that February with Stern and Daniel at her side. The justices ultimately ruled, 9-0, that Smith's acknowledged action could continue—meaning her aggregation could again booty up the affair of her bequest with a lower court.
E. Pierce Marshall died four months afterwards and his wife vowed to booty up the action adjoin Anna Nicole anytime accepting a dime of J. Howard Marshall's money.
But as it angry out, Smith was additionally abundant at that Supreme Cloister hearing.
She aloof to the Bahamas to accord bearing to daughter Dannielynn Hope on Sept. 7, 2006, at a Nassau hospital. Inexplicably, three canicule afterwards while visiting his mom, Daniel Smith died in his mom's hospital bed, lying abutting to her. He was 19. Dr. Cyril Wecht, a pathologist abreast assassin to accomplish a additional dissection on Daniel afterwards the antecedent one was inconclusive, told People that Daniel died of a baleful aggregate of methadone, Zoloft and Lexapro.
Smith was above devastated. And in her blue state, Stern and Birkhead were putting out dueling statements claiming paternity of Smith's babyish girl.
"Through it all, alike with all the pain, she has been a abundant mom, a actual alert mom," Stern, who swapped vows in a allegation commemoration with Smith in the Bahamas but never accurately affiliated her, said on Larry King Live in the deathwatch of Daniel's death.
"At the funeral, she approved to ascend in the casket," Birkhead told 20/20. "I knew that Anna would be in no appearance on her own afterwards accident Daniel, as abutting as they were, to booty affliction of my daughter."
Smith never denied that Stern was Dannielynn's father, so it would be up to DNA to prove it in a cloister of law as both men vied for aegis of the adolescent in the deathwatch of Anna Nicole's afterlife (several added men, including Zsa Zsa Gabor's bedmate Prince Frederic von Anhalt came advanced as accessible fathers, too, but Stern and Birkhead were the two best applicable suspects). There was alike a altercation over the fate of Smith's body, with Stern wanting to adjudge that too, while Smith's conflicting mother, Virgie Arthur, capital to booty her daughter's anatomy home to Texas. Stern won and Smith was laid to blow abutting to Daniel in the Bahamas.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Churchill Downs
Birkhead, of course, angry out to be Dannielynn's ancestor and he has adherent his activity aback to adopting that little babe as a distinct dad. At 6, Dannielynn appeared in a Guess attack in account of her mother, but added than that and anniversary trips to the Kentucky Derby (Birkhead and Smith met while she was cutting her E! actualization at the Barnstable-Brown Gala that precedes the race), he abundantly keeps the now 11-year-old adolescent out of the spotlight. (He told ABC News that Stern had been a admiring acquaintance afterwards ancestors was confirmed.)
In 2010, Stern and two of Smith's above doctors went on balloon for drug-related charges, at the affection of which was the catechism of whether the accused had illegally facilitated her with the decree drugs that ultimately acquired her death. Birkhead testified that Smith "would say, 'I'm in pain. I'm not a biologic addict.'"
Stern and analyst Kristine Eroshevich were both begin accusable of conspiracy but a adjudicator threw all but a abomination allegation adjoin Eroshevich out in 2011; he disqualified that prosecutors hadn't accepted that she and Stern advised to breach the law aback they acquired meds for Smith application aliases.
An appellate cloister chaotic the judge's decision, but in 2015 the same adjudicator absolved the accuse adjoin Stern yet again.
"I accusation him absolutely for her death," Smith's father, Donald Hogan, told E! News in April 2009, apropos to Stern. "Nobody put a gun to her head, but somebody abiding brought a lot of drugs home and, instead of bringing drugs to someone, alike if she had a fit about it, I'd acquaint her to acquaint addition abroad to get it for you." (Hogan died in September 2009.)
In 2011, Smith's case adjoin Pierce Marshall concluded up aback in the U.S. Supreme Court's easily again—only this time, they bankrupt the book on the 20-year saga, advancement 5-4 an appellate court's accommodation that the defalcation cloister had no continuing to allocation out that money to Smith all those years ago. Which in 2011 meant that a nine-figure asset wasn't in the cards for Smith's alone actual heir, Dannielynn.
Birkhead, acquainted that he didn't booty money from Smith's estate, but rather supports his babe with his assignment as a columnist and profits from flipping houses, says that he has aloft Dannielynn with the mantra that "excess is not consistently the best. Be accurate who's about you...be good, be caring. Accord back. You don't accept to be a brilliant to shoot for the stars."
To put it simply, Birkhead wants to accumulate the best allotment of Anna Nicole's bequest complete for their babe and assure Dannielynn as abundant as is humanly possible, not aloof from a fate resembling her mom's, but from the pitfalls of the amiss affectionate of media exposure.
Looking at Anna Nicole's short, alone sometimes blessed activity is like analytical into a time capsule from a pre-Instagram, pre-trainwreck-TV-boom era, aback there weren't as abounding aberrant belief as there are now, so the ones that caught people's absorption were milked for all they were worth.
Smith's pop ability legacy, meanwhile, has acutely been added than that of a arresting model-actress-reality-star who died too young. Her adventure had so abounding stranger-than-fiction twists, it accepted accomplished for the retelling, be it via TV movies like 2007's The Anna Nicole Smith Adventure starring Willa Ford or 2013's Anna Nicole on Lifetime; the 2011 opera Anna Nicole; or the 2012 documentary Addicted to Fame, featuring advancing footage aggregate during the authoritative of Illegal Aliens.
But for the bigger allotment of a decade there was an audience that had no abstraction what to do with Smith aback she was alive, that alone sat aback and watched her decline, not alive what it was absolutely that they were watching, and apparently addition that annihilation absolutely bad would appear in the end. Yet Anna Nicole Smith's adventure didn't accept a blessed ending. Instead it charcoal a cautionary admonition that there's consistently a absolute being on the added ancillary of that lens.
"The affair about Anna was...it was about like a breach personality," Birkhead said. "Because aback the camera was going, she was a accomplished altered thing...that was more, to me, an act than it was the absolute person, who she was."