There has been a court trial involving a domestic partner and a physician. There have been magazine and newspaper articles written about her. An opera has debuted in London inspired by her life. And all of this has transpired just in the last several weeks. We must remember, Anna Nicole Smith died in 2007 but her hold on the public imagination has not diminished. It's all Anna Nicole all the time. And that's just as she would have wanted.
A Little Bit of Prophesy from a column in 2007
Would You Catch A Falling Star
(Goodbye Anna Nicole?)
Anna Nicole, you've come a long way baby since your days at the chicken shack
You left this one horse town and you never looked back
And along the way you married an 89 year old millionaire
And he promised you the world all the while bound to his wheelchair...Anna Nicole
Is that Playboy Mansion all that it's cracked up to be
And can you stretch 15 minutes of fame into an eternity
Tell me Anna Nicole
(From Anna Nicole, words and music (c) Les Marcott)
Let's face it, the recently departed Anna Nicole Smith couldn't act, couldn't sing, couldn't dance, and for the most part couldn't speak coherently. But she really didn't have to do any of those things. The camera loved her. Hugh Hefner loved her. J. Howard Marshall, her late oil tycoon husband loved her. Guessjeans loved her. The producers for her reality tv show loved her. TrimSpa loved her. And even those of us who consider ourselves highminded enough not to care have to admit deep down that yes we loved her too.
What fascinated me the most about Anna Nicole was her ability to keep bouncing back after one adversity or depravity after another. That and her hometown of Mexia, Texas being just a few miles up the road from me kept my curiosity level high. The small town girl who makes good always makes for a nice story. But it seems Anna Nicole's values were not the same as Mexia, Texas values. Her fast and loose lifestyle just never set well with these fine folks of Mexia. Perhaps they worry that her notoriety will overshadow the fine accomplishments of another famous Mexia resident, the brilliant songwriter Cindy Walker. Upon word of her death, the media hounds descended upon Mexia like the ravenous locusts that they are. What they found out was apparently nothing. Besides the local boy who sort of, might of dated her or the teacher who vaguely remembered her in the school hallway, most folks in Mexia knew nothing about this 11th grade dropout. It seems she was well...quite unremarkable and back then her name was Vicki Lynn Hogan. But becoming Playboy Playmate of the Year would change all that.
Most Playboy Playmates achieve their 15 minutes of fame and are never heard of again. They go on to marry realtors, doctors, lawyers or Indian chiefs. They live in nice houses in gated communities, raise their children well and join a community service organization. But not Anna Nicole. Oh no. She needed fame just as much as she needed air to breathe. She couldn't stay away from the glare of the lights and flash of the cameras. When it was prudent to shut up, she gave interviews. When it was prudent to just stay home, she went out for a night on the town. And when it was prudent to say no, she said yes.
Countless bodyguards, limo drivers, housekeepers, professional groupies and the like will regale us with all sorts of lurid tales regarding Anna Nicole. But I will leave all the tawdry and unseemly details of her life to them and the endless stream of tabloid/entertainment news shows. These same people will also step forward to say that they tried to help her out of her downward spiral...they tried to reach her...they tried an intervention...they tried to protect her. Yep, we've all heard this kind of talk before. Just pick any dead celebrity who died of tragic consequences. Even the esteemed John Travolta remarked that perhaps he could have helped her in her time of need. If only John...if only we could catch a falling star.
So in the end, what killed Anna Nicole? No matter what the autopsy or toxicology reports conclude, I think I know the answer. What she craved the most was the thing that took her life. It was fame. It can be a bitch sometime. I pray that God will grant her an exquisite peace in death, but something tells me Anna Nicole will haunt us from the grave demanding that her 15 minutes of fame indeed last an eternity.