Just as the entry of Anna Nicole Smith into the showbiz was with a sudden big boom, so is her sudden tragic death on 8 February, 2007.
Anna Nicole Smith died after being rushed to a Florida hospital following a collapse at a Florida hotel; she was 39. According to initial reports, Smith was found unconscious in her room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, Thursday afternoon, and was unresponsive when a rescue unit arrived at the scene. She was then rushed to Memorial Regional Hospital after 2pm ET. Her attorney, Ron Rale, confirmed that Smith died at the hospital about an hour later.
Born in 1967, this statuesque model, Anna Nicole Smith, started out as the Guess? jeans model, became Playboy's Playmate of the Year in 1993 then sidled into acting in the features "The Hudsucker Proxy" and "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult" (both 1994). In both of these films, Anna Nicole Smith played roles akin to her public persona, a vaguely ironic rendition of Jayne Mansfield (and perhaps Anita Ekberg), a blonde Superwoman purring amidst the wraith-like waifs.
But to know Anna Nicole Smith's personal side, one would have to take look into the past of this blond bombshell. Born Vickie Lynn Hogan, Anna Nicole Smith was abandoned by her father and was shipped between her mother and aunt. When Anna Nicole Smith was 17 years old she met a man by the name of Billy Smith, whom she married and in the same year they had a baby boy named Daniel. As a high school dropout, Smith found herself working at a local fried chicken restaurant. However, Anna Nicole Smith always felt that she she was destined for bigger and better things. She relocated to Houston, sans Billy, and began working at topless bars. Before long, Anna Nicole Smith became one of the most popular strippers in Houston. It was as a stripper that Smith met Texan millionaire J. Howard Marshall. Marshall was drawn to Smith instantly and began spoiling her with his riches.
Shortly after Anna Nicole Smith decided to have a a breast augmentation,Playboy magazine came knocking on her door, offering her a full page spread. Her Playboy exposure(she was named 1994's Playmate of the Year) literally jump-started her career in Hollywood as other print offers--including the popular black-and-white Guess? campaign--and feature roles came her way.
However, it was her 1994 marriage to the then 89-year-old oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall that really made her the talk of the town. Upon Marshall's death in 1995 (just 14 months into their marriage), Anna Nicole Smith contested his six wills and seven trusts (all which stated she was to receive nothing) in a Texas probate court. In 1996, Smith declared bankruptcy in California, where a judge ruled she was entitled to $475 million of J. Howard Marshall's fortune -- a source of bitterness among Marshall's family who would spend the next six years in appeal.
When the E! "True Hollywood Story" featuring Anna Nicole Smith aired in 1997, the network had an unexpected response from audiences. It quickly became the series' highest rated episode. When MTV debuted the wildly popular reality series, "The Osbournes" in 2002, E! wasted no time following suit, asking Smith to star in what would become the "The Anna Nicole Show," documenting the daily life of Anna Nicole Smith, her personal attorney, Howard K. Stern (not to be confused with the famed radio personality), her young, pink-haired assistant Kim Walther, her yappy dog Sugar Pie and her surprisingly well adjusted straight-A-student son, Daniel. Although audiences were frequently amused by Smith's over-the-top antics, they were also frequently appalled by her druggy demeanor, ever-expanding figure and slurry Southern drawl.
As the series neared the end of its run in 2004, Anna Nicole Smith used her newfound fame to team with the diet drug TrimSpa and quickly returned to her original svelte, sexy shape, and while Anna Nicole Smith appeared more lucid in public appearances than she had in the past, she would still sometimes make headlines for her often out-of-it behavior, such as when she presented an award to Kanye West (after appearing in one of the artist's music videos) at the American Music Awards in 2004. In 2005, the TV personality also ultimately lost her appeal to claim a greater share of Marshall's fortune, but as a favorite subject of the tabloids Anna Nicole Smith found a new gig as a regular columnist for a revamped version of the venerable National Enquirer.
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