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Anna Nicole Smith gained early fame as a model for Guess and Playboy magazine, and later became known for her marriage to 89-year-old oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II.
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Anna Nicole Smith was born Vickie Lynn Hogan on November 28, 1967, in Houston, Texas. A high school dropout, she epitomized the American dream by climbing to the national spotlight against all odds.
Anna Nicole Smith rose to fame as a model for Playboy magazine and for Guess jeans.
From her legal battles to her quirky escapades on her reality TV show, Anna Nicole Smith managed to stay on top of pop media. Even in her death, she stole headlines for months.
Hugh Hefner discusses the origins of Playboy magazine and how it has evolved today.
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As a tribute,
Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner told the press at the time: "She was a very dear friend who meant a great deal to Playboy and to me personally."
Authorities announced several weeks afterward that the cause of death was an accidental drug overdose. Smith had been taking nine different kinds of medication in the days before her death. Stern and two others were later found guilty of crimes associated with her death. All of these convictions were thrown out in 2011 except for a misdemeanor against Smith's psychiatrist. But the following year, Stern again faced legal consequences for his alleged role in supplying Smith's prescription drug habit. The Second District Court of Appeal objected with the vacating of these convictions against Stern. The court stated that it believed that Stern may have "knowingly participated in conduct designed to avoid detection and scrutiny" in regard to the prescription drugs used by Smith, according to Eonline.com.
After Smith's death in February 2007, there was much speculation regarding the paternity of her daughter, including one claim made by Prince Frederick von Anhalt, Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband. He told the Associated Press that he had an affair with Anna Nicole Smith and believed that he was Dannielynn's father. In April 2007, it was determined by DNA test results that Larry Birkhead was the biological father of Dannielynn. Howard K. Stern did not contest this ruling and legal custody was granted to Birkhead.
While ridiculed by some for her spacey persona, Smith was also admired for her rise to success despite so many personal obstacles. Perhaps the quintessential underdog, Smith had lots of fans rooting for her to overcome the recent tragedies. Unfortunately, that was not to be. After her death, she has been compared to many of Hollywood’s beautiful women who died too young, including Jean Harlow and Anna Nicole Smith’s personal favorite, Marilyn Monroe.
Smith continues to be a subject of great fascination and speculation to this day. Her life and sudden death has inspired numerous books, documentaries and movies. In 2011, an opera entitled Anna Nicole—telling Smith's tragic tale in song—debuted in London to mostly favorable reviews. The following year, the Lifetime TV network announced that it was developing The Anna Nicole Story, a television movie about Smith. Agnes Bruckner signed on to portray the troubled pin-up, with Martin Landau playing as J. Howard Marshall.
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