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The Anna Nicole Smith Show – The Adventures of Anna Nicole Smith on the Big and Small Screen

The year was 1993 and Anna Nicole Smith had outgrown her tumultuous childhood and had somehow found success as a model. Blessed with the voluptuous looks that echoed past blonde bombshells like Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield, Smith was handpicked by Playboy founder Hugh Heffner to be on the cover of Playboy Magazine. Considering how Heffner built Playboy into a powerful American institution despite its dubious goal of creating a sophisticated soft pornographic magazine, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to see that Anna Nicole Smith turned into a star virtually overnight. Featuring a figure that very few models at the time seemed to have, Smith landed prominent modeling roles. Guess Jeans chose her to replace supermodel Claudia Schiffer as its featured model in its 1993 ad campaign. Considering that Guess Jeans has featured such icons as Paris Hilton, Naomi Campbell, and Drew Barrymore in its ad campaigns, this honor would jumpstart Smith’s burgeoning modeling career.
To learn more about Anna Nicole Smith’s days as a model, be sure to check out the article Anna Nicole Smith Playboy. While there have been models like Tyra Banks and Cindy Crawford who have managed to remain as supermodel icons, for the most part the modeling industry is a harsh one. A model’s career has a short lifespan due to the realities of working in an industry that values beauty and youth. Understanding that she couldn’t put her eggs in one basket, Anna Nicole Smith soon took the path that many successful models have taken to extend their careers – enter the acting industry. Like many other celebrities, Anna Nicole Smith was able to utilize her fame to obtain prominent movie roles. The first time that she appeared on the big screen was in a small role in revered director, Robert Altman’s critical hit, The Hudsucker Proxy. While her role in the ensemble movie was small, it helped to introduce Anna Nicole Smith as a viable actress. With comedic chops and boating a beauty that was helping to sell H&M clothing at the time, Anna Nicole Smith was able to quickly find other roles. Her next movie came when she had a prominent role in the third installment of the popular Leslie Nielson vehicle, Naked Gun 33 1/3. In that movie, Anna Nicole Smith plays a deadly femme fatale who utilizes her beauty to seduce Leslie Nielson’s detective character, Frank Drebin. Used to distract Drebin, Smith’s character continues on her plot to leave a bomb at the Academy Awards. The comedy was a huge commercial success and seemed to usher in a time where Anna Nicole Smith was about to make the leap to starring roles. With such a buzz around her career, Anna Nicole Smith decided to take her shot at movie stardom with her first starring role in the movie, To the Limit. The 1995 movie was the sequel to the movie Davinci’s War and examined the exploits of a shadowy branch of the CIA valiantly fight against the criminal underground. Starring as Colette Dubois, Smith tries to showcase the hardened mind of a retired spy who was on a mission of vengeance against the people responsible for her husband’s death.
The movie also co-starred the multitalented Joey Travolta but was not a big success. One of the biggest reasons why Anna Nicole Smith’s acting career had stalled was due to her controversial marriage to 89 year oil tycoon, J. Howard Marshall. It’s hard to continue on with a reputation of being a sex symbol when the vast majority of the public view you as a gold digger. Still, Smith attempted to soldier on. She starred in and produced the 1997 action/thriller movie, Skyscraper. The movie was not a commercial or critical success as it was viewed as an imitation of Die Hard. In Skyscraper, Anna Nicole Smith played the character of Carrie Wisk, a helicopter pilot who lands her helicopter on the wrong building – one that has been taken over by terrorists. As scared hostages remain in the building, Smith’s character utilizes her multiple skills to take out the terrorists and save the hostages. Although the movie was savaged at the time of its release as nothing but soft porn, it has obtained a reputation for being campy fun. The movie features a number of classic showdowns including Smith’s busty hero overcoming the evil of the flatchested woman who is the main villain’s henchwoman. The final scene is also a lot of fun as Smith’s character goes into a kickboxing showdown against the Shakespeare quoting main villain on the top of the aforementioned skyscraper. Unsurprisingly, the movie ends with the villain being kicked off the 86 story building and landing on the street. Unfortunately, there was no sequel to Skyscraper. As Anna Nicole Smith quickly turned from rising celebrity to walking punchline, she receded from the limelight.
The death of her husband, J. Howard Marshall, combined with the furious fight she was having with Marshall’s family over the issue of who would inherit Marshall’s fortunes took a heavy toll on Smith’s life. Smith’s weight spiraled out of control and images of a Fat Anna Nicole Smith would routinely appear on tabloid magazines. To learn more about Smith’s turbulent personal life, check out the article Anna Nicole Smith Exposed. One of the strangest cultural developments that we have witnessed over the last ten years has been the use of reality TV to propel a former star back into celebrity. From Ozzy Osbourne to Flava Flav to Paris Hilton, people have used reality TV as a marketing tool. This phenomenon has become so common that the TV network, VH1 has created a reality TV show called “The Surreal Life” that groups former A-list celebrities in a house and film the results. Anna Nicole Smith saw this as an opportunity to rehabilitate her tattered public image and springboard her back to her previous life as a star. The show featured a Fat Anna Nicole Smith and the crazy characters in her life, including her lawyer Howard K. Stern. The Anna Nicole Show, as it was called, was considered one of the worst TV shows by critics but did great on the Neilson ratings at first.
During the show’s two seasons, Anna Nicole Smith lost the weight that had prevented her from obtaining acting and modeling roles. Although it’s hard to regain the status of being a rising star, Smith carved out a unique niche as an eccentric celebrity that people accepted was just there. This allowed Anna Nicole Smith the opportunity to capitalize on her public image and reenter the movie world. She made cameos in movies like Wasabi Tuna and the sequel to Get Shorty, Be Cool. At the time of her death, Smith had just completed a starring role in the self-consciously B movie styled, Illegal Aliens. Starring alongside former wrestling sensation, Chyna (aka. Joanie Laurer), Anna Nicole Smith played one of three aliens that take human form to stop an intergalactic terrorist. Ironically, there are current talks to create a movie based around Anna Nicole Smith’s rise from exotic dancer to celebrity train wreck that will probably be a bigger success than any of Smith’s movies. The Anna Nicole Smith movie will star the self-proclaimed bad girl of pop, Willa Ford as Anna Nicole Smith.