Thursday, May 3, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith

A Texas stripper turned Playboy Playmate, model and E! reality star, Anna Nicole Smith lived out a flamboyant rags-to-riches story before her sudden death on Feb. 8, 2007. The buxom blonde became a national curiosity after she married 89-year-old oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall II in 1994. When Marshall died after 13 months of marriage, it set in motion a long legal battle over his estate between Smith and Marshall's son, E. Pierce. The case, which is still pending, went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2006.

Her namesake reality TV show featured a perpetually befuddled Smith, her oft-present lawyer Howard K. Stern and her soft-spoken son Daniel, the product of a pre-fame Texas marriage. In September 2006, after Smith gave birth to daughter, Dannielynn, 20-year-old Daniel died suddenly in her hospital room from ingesting a lethal mixture of medications.

Compounding her woes, Smith was hit with a paternity test by ex-boyfriend photographer Larry Birkhead. She disputed Birkhead's claim and held a commitment ceremony to Stern, who is listed as Dannielynn's father on the birth certificate. However, DNA test results show Birkhead is indeed the father.

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