THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Anna Nicole Smith

Anna Nicole Smith dies after collapsing at South Florida hotel

February 8, 2007
  • Email|
  • Print|
  • Single Page|
  • |
Text size +

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) -- Anna Nicole Smith, the voluptuous former Playboy centerfold who married an octogenarian billionaire and waged a legal battle for his fortune all the way to the Supreme Court, died Thursday after collapsing at a hotel. She was 39.

The blond bombshell -- who recently became tabloid fodder all over again after the sudden, apparently drug-related death of her 20-year-old son -- was stricken while staying at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and was rushed to a hospital.

Edwina Johnson, chief investigator of the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office, said the cause of death was under investigation and an autopsy would be done on Friday.

A private nurse called 911 after finding Smith unresponsive in her sixth-floor room, said Seminole Police Chief Charlie Tiger. He said Smith's bodyguard administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation about an hour before she was declared dead.

Through the '90s and into the new century, Smith was famous for being famous, a pop-culture punchline because of her up-and-down weight, her exaggerated curves, her little-girl voice, her ditzy-blonde persona, and her over-the-top revealing outfits.

The curvaceous Texas-born Smith was a topless dancer at strip club before she entered her photos in a search contest and made the cover of Playboy magazine in 1992, captivating readers with her Marilyn Monroe looks. She became Playboy's playmate of the year in 1993.

She was also signed to a contract with Guess jeans, appearing in TV commercials, billboards and magazine ads.

In 1994, she married 89-year-old oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, the head of oil-based Koch Industries, which is part of a family fortune worth at least $400 million. He died in 1995 at age 90, setting off a feud with her former stepson, E. Pierce Marshall, over whether she had a right to his estate.

A federal court in California awarded Smith $474 million. That was later overturned. But in May, the U.S. Supreme Court revived her case, ruling that she deserved another day in court in her battle with her former stepson.

The stepson died June 20 at age 67. But the family said the court fight would continue.

More recently, Smith's ballooning figure and up-and-down weight became a subject of public fascination. But she lost a reported 69 pounds and became a spokeswoman for TrimSpa, a weight-loss supplement.

She starred in her own reality TV series, "The Anna Nicole Show," in 2002-04. Cameras followed her around as she sparred with her lawyer, hung out with her personal assistant and interior decorator, and cooed at her poodle, Sugar Pie. She also appeared in movies, performing a bit part in "The Hudsucker Proxy" in 1994.

After news came of Smith's death, G. Eric Brunstad Jr., the lawyer who represented Marshall, said in a statement: "We're very shocked by the news and extend the deepest condolences to her family."

Smith's son, Daniel Smith, died Sept. 10 in his mother's hospital room in the Bahamas, just days after she gave birth to a daughter.

An American medical examiner hired by the family, Cyril Wecht, said he had methadone and two antidepressants in his system when he died. Low levels of the three drugs interacted to cause an accidental death, Wecht said. Last month, a Bahamas magistrate scheduled a formal inquiry into the death for March 27.

Meanwhile, the paternity of her now 5-month-old daughter remained a matter of dispute. The birth certificate lists Dannielynn's father as attorney Howard K. Stern, Smith's most recent companion. Smith's ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead was waging a legal challenge, saying he was the father.

Debra Opri, the attorney who filed his paternity suit, said Birkhead "is devastated. He is inconsolable, and we are taking steps now to protect the DNA testing of the child. The child is our number one priority."

She was born Vickie Lynn Hogan on Nov. 28, 1967, in Houston, one of six children of Donald Eugene and Virgie Hart Hogan. She married Bill Smith in 1985, giving birth to Daniel before divorcing two years later.

"From my professional exposure to Anna Nicole, I can say she was always personable, down to earth and driven. All in all, a joy to have as a client," said Wayne Munroe, her Bahamian lawyer who has overseen the aftermath of her son's mysterious death in Nassau.

  • Email
  • Email
  • Print
  • Print
  • Single page
  • Single page
  • Reprints
  • Reprints
  • Share
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Comment
 
  • Share on DiggShare on Digg
  • Tag with Del.icio.us Save this article
  • powered by Del.icio.us
Your Name Your e-mail address (for return address purposes) E-mail address of recipients (separate multiple addresses with commas) Name and both e-mail fields are required.
Message (optional)
Disclaimer: Boston.com does not share this information or keep it permanently, as it is for the sole purpose of sending this one time e-mail.