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Hot Damn: The Not so Shockingly Sordid Life of Anna Nicole Smith

On February 8, 2007, it was reported that Anna Nicole Smith was found dead in her hotel room.  The news capped off a half year period where Anna Nicole Smith was in the public consciousness for a variety of reasons.  In the previous September, Smith gave birth to a daughter, Dannielynn.  However, three days later, Smith’s son, Daniel, died tragically from a drug overdose.  While public sympathy was heavily given to Smith, her public reputation would soon be rocked by a bizarre swarming of news regarding whom the actual father of Dannielynn was.  As scrutiny increased in her life, strange and sordid details about Anna Nicole Smith’s life surfaced in the news.

Although Smith has passed away, the world continues to learn new nuggets of the strange life of this unique American celebrity.  Born Vicky Lynn Hogan on November 28, 1967, this Houston ingénue overcame a turbulent early personal life to carve out a unique niche in the showbiz industry.  The daughter of Donald Eugene Hogan and Virgie Mae Tabers, Smith was raised in a broken home under the supervision of her mother and her maternal aunt, Elaine Tabers.  Changing her name to Nikki Hart at an early age, Smith dropped out of school in the ninth grade.  After meeting a cook, Billy Wayne Smith, during her stint as a waitress at Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken in the Texan town of Mexia, Smith would embark on her first marriage at the tender age of 16.

However, after two years of marriage, Anna Nicole Smith and Billy Wayne Smith would separate.  At this time, anna nicole smith would support herself from working at Wal-Mart, Red Lobster, and eventually at a nightclub in Houston, where she worked as an exotic dancer.  Although her prospects looked poor at the time, America is a place where looks can take you to heights that your talent may not be able to take you.

Renowned for her voluptuous figure and her blonde locks, Anna Nicole Smith would soon fill the role of a uniquely American sex symbol.  Since the 1950s when Marilyn Monroe entered the national consciousness as a voluptuous blonde superstar, America has always had a soft spot for this type of beauty.  Following the footsteps of such icons as Monroe and Jayne Mansfield, Smith obtained breast implants and tried her luck by entering a contest held by a true American institution that has helped launched the careers of many stars – Hugh Hefner’s renowned magazine, Playboy.

The early 1990s was a fascinating time in American popular culture.  In the influential music world, grungy bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam were exploding in popularity, supplanting the glam metal bands of Guns n Roses, Poison, and Motley Crue.  This new emphasis on pessimistic realism as opposed to the hedonistic fantasy world of glam rock was having ramifications in popular culture and fashion.  However, in 1993, Anna Nicole Smith was able to carve out a niche in the modeling world by using her made in the 1980s look.

Personally chosen by Hugh Hefner to grace the cover of the March 1992 issue of Playboy, Smith’s career exploded.  Photographed in a series of ad campaigns and pictorials that mirrored the glamorous looks of Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield, Smith was able to parlay the cache of her Playboy campaigns to advertising work.  Dubbed the next Marilyn Monroe, Smith ushered in an era where the voluptuous look was in big demand.  Her popularity reached new heights when in 1993 she was chosen as Playboy’s Playmate of the Year.  Demand for pictures of anna nicole smith nude was at a fever pitch and Anna Nicole Smith would soon get plum modeling assignments.

1993 was a big year for Anna Nicole Smith as she replaced supermodel Claudia Schiffer as the featured model in Guess Jeans ad campaign.  Additionally, Anna Nicole Smith was chosen to be the model of popular Swedish clothing company H&M.  Her popularity soon spread from America and became a global phenomenon.  Her sultry billboards in Sweden and Norway were hot topics in the media and Smith would soon take the difficult step of transitioning from a modeling career into an acting one.  In the next year, Smith would make small appearances in acclaimed film director, Robert Altman’s critical hit, The Hudsucker Proxy.  She would also show off her comedic chops by appearing in the final movie in the popular Leslie Nielson Naked Gun series, where she played a dangerous femme fatale in Naked Gun 33 1/3.

However, as Anna Nicole Smith’s professional career was ascending to new heights, she was unable to escape the personal turmoil that has been a staple of her life.  While she had divorced her first husband in 1993, Anna Nicole Smith would soon take up a bizarre relationship that would become worldwide news.  During her pre-celebrity stint at the popular Houston strip club, Gigis, Smith would meet oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall, who was 63 years older than Smith.

As you can expect, the sight of Anna Nicole Smith Naked would make most men do strange things and her voluptuous figure certainly touched a nerve in Marshall.  The two would soon start a relationship, where Marshall would reportedly shower gifts on Smith.  After numerous proposals, Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall would go on and shock the world on June 27, 1994 by getting married.  At the time, Marshall was 89 years old and people throughout the world were flabbergasted.  After all, why would such a beautiful woman at the young age of 26 choose to marry a man so old?

Despite her assurances of loving Marshall, Anna Nicole Smith’s reputation took a major hit.  Although pop culture media love to elevate people into stardom, they also love to focus on the strange behavior of the stars that they created.  One of the most popular and negative views that people have on beautiful women are as gold diggers – women who exploit their looks to start up a relationship with a wealthy man.  With Anna Nicole Smith’s second marriage, the public and media had the rare opportunity of seeing this stereotype come true at such a large level.

To the surprise of nobody, Anna Nicole Smith was ravaged in the press.  Details emerged that Smith did not live with Marshall during their entire marriage and she had to frequently confirm her true love of Marshall.  However, her assurances were never believed and she was never accepted by Marshall’s family.  On August 4, 1995, Marshall would die and the question of who inherited his fortune would become a freakish news story.  Within a few weeks of his father’s death, J. Howard Marshall’s son, E. Pierce Marshall would battle Anna Nicole Smith over whether she had a legal claim to half of her deceased husband’s $1.6 billion estate.  The court case would become ugly and neither E. Pierce Marshall nor Anna Nicole Smith emerged as a sympathetic public figure.  The question of Marshall’s inheritance has not been resolved to this day and it is believed this fight would continue under the name of Smith’s infant daughter, Dannielynn Smith.

As Anna Nicole Smith’s reputation changed from up and coming model/actor to celebrity pariah and gold digger almost overnight, Smith continued to try to keep her star in the celebrity universe in orbit.  Trying to capitalize on the buzz of her early acting parts, Smith would produce and be the star in the action/thriller, Skyscraper.  If you hadn’t heard of this movie, you aren’t the only one.  This movie and her earlier starring role in the action/thriller, To the Limit were universally panned.  Despite her attempts to capitalize on the underutilized female action star/sex symbol market, Smith was described as being a terrible actress in terrible movies.  However, she did bring to life two memorable characters that may carve out an ironic niche in future years.  As Colette Dubois, Smith stepped into the shoes of a retired spy who is on a mission of vengeance seeking out the murderer of her husband.  She was also the helicopter pilot, Carrie Wisk, who takes a page from the book of Die Hard by fighting off terrorists that had taken over a high rise building while trying to save the hostages.

By the tail end of the 1990s, Smith had gone from a budding star to a Hollywood joke.  Her modeling career had dried up, as the advertising world would go through an era that is known as heroin chic, focusing on models that looked like, well drug addicts.  In this strange time known as the 1990s, models such as Kate Moss and Jaime King, with their pale skin, jutting bones, and mysterious eyes were in hot demand.  The all-American blonde bombshell look that Smith specialized in was not in hot demand and her role as the next Marilyn Monroe was soon overtaken by former Baywatch star, Pamela Anderson.

As Smith receded in the public consciousness, it seemed like she would become a forgotten should’ve been star in a very strange period of pop culture.  Appearing in the news periodically in stories regarding her legal battle over her late husband’s inheritance and as the punch line for late night television comedians’ jokes, Smith retreated into a private life.  One that she seemed to have little chance of emerging from and reentering the public consciousness.

The great American author F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said, “There are no second acts in American lives,” and the famed artist, Andy Warhol famed mantra was, “Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.”  It seemed like in Anna Nicole Smith’s case that her 15 minutes of fame had eclipsed.  However, the public loves nothing more than an underdog story and Anna Nicole Smith would soon prove Fitzgerald wrong and embark on her bizarre second act as an American celebrity.

At the turn of the century, the big news in the entertainment world was the rise of reality television.  Reality TV shows were cheaper to produce than regular TV shows and were practically guaranteed to gain huge TV ratings.  Shows like Survivor, Average Joe, and The Amazing Race would captivate the nation, as television viewers couldn’t help but pull for regular people just like them.  However, reality TV soon also produced a strange offshoot that would also prove to be irresistible: examining the personal lives of celebrities.

With shows such as The Osbournes (a fascinating look at famed metal icon, Ozzy Osbourne, in his role as a father) and Newlyweds (an odd look in the early days of marriage between pop crooners Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey), Anna Nicole Smith seemed tailor made for a reality TV program.  She developed a reality TV show for the E! cable network simply entitled, The Anna Nicole Show.  By this time, Anna Nicole Smith’s weight had ballooned and Fat Anna Nicole Smith jokes were commonly made.  She addressed these problems in her reality TV show, as well as showing a fascinating glimpse into the train wreck that her life had become.  Although the show initially received great ratings, TV critics blasted the show on a regular basis. 

Although the show would only stay on the air for two years until 2004, the program did its work by putting Anna Nicole Smith firmly back in the public eye.  She lost her excess weight and returned back to her modeling figure.  Additionally, Anna Nicole Smith was shrewdly capitalizing on her public persona by making appearances in movies such as Wasabi Tuna and Be Cool where she was essentially playing herself.  While she was working on another sci-fi movie titled Illegal Aliens, Smith would make big news again after the happy birth of her daughter and the tragic death of her son.

As controversy raged in recent months about who the true father of her daughter was, Smith’s recent death capped off a bizarre part of her life where sordid details of her life emerged.  Recent Anna Nicole Smith news keeps getting stranger and stranger.  Although her death has been suspected from being caused by a drug overdose, if she had been murdered, there would be an endless array of murder suspects.

Recent Anna Nicole Smith news include the strange fight to see who is the real father of her daughter, Dannielynn.  Although Smith had been secretly married to her lawyer, Howard K. Stern, photojournalist, Larry Birkhead has argued that he is the real father of Smith’s daughter.  Adding to the confusion is the revelation that Prince Frederick von Anhalt, husband to Zsa Zsa Gabor, had a decade long affair with Anna Nicole Smith and could potentially be the father to Dannielynn Smith.  This saga reached new strangely comedic heights when her bodyguard claimed to be the real father of Smith’s daughter.  Photos have recently published that show Smith in bed with the Bahamian immigration minister that had approved her application to be a permanent resident in Bahamas.  Added twists to the strange and sordid life of Anna Nicole Smith continue to emerge, as there have been reports that Smith purposely underfed her daughter to make sure she looked sexy, that she has left no inheritance for her daughter in her will, that her husband Howard K. Stern received $1 million by Entertainment Tonight for a teary interview, and the release of a truly odd video of a pregnant Anna Nicole Smith in clown paint talking to a doll as if it were real.