Oh, What Tangled Webs We Weave…

The death of Anna Nicole Smith late last week underscores, in my mind, nothing but profound sadness on so very many levels.  At very least of these is the end of a young life that excelled in open embrace of all that is wrong and harmful.  And in death, Smith is and will continue to be used and abused as she was in life.  She is already more famous dead than alive.


And the pack of wild dogs circle wildly their kill on a Serengeti plain.


Unlike her idol Marilyn Monroe, Smith had no identifiable talent other than her voluptuous body and sultry beauty.  And Smith spent untold fortunes to create that body and market it solely for the world to admire.  Yet it wasn’t her looks that made her a household word, but her trashy lifestyle constantly plastered on tabloid tv programs and magazines for us all to behold and talk about over the Monday-thru-Friday water cooler at work.


Anna Nicole Smith became infamous only through the years and years of her love affair with depravity and making sure we all watched it.  We’ve watched her many years battling with renowned drug abuse.  We’ve watched scenes of her passing out from alcohol and/or drugs in her limos and even sickly encouraging her dog to hump pillows on her reality tv show.  We watched the decade-long legal battle between Smith and descendants for half of the estate of her billionaire husband of two years that led to the US Supreme Court and remains unresolved.  We’ve watcher her constant battles with weight and binge-eating that gained her a spokesmanship for TrimSpa products that now is under suit, along with the Smith estate, for false claims of weight loss.  We watched and mocked her slurring words and slitted eyes at recent MTV awards.


We reveled in the news of the birth of a daughter with at least four potential fathers now (one speculated by her sister in her soon-to-be-released book that Anna Nicole froze some of the billionaire’s sperm and the child was the result of artificial insemination).  We were stunned to learn of the death of her 20-year-old son Daniel in her hospital room three days after giving birth to her daughter.  And her “commitment ceremony” to Howard K. Stern seemed to exploit this infant daughter when the pictures were plastered over worldwide tabloids a mere two weeks after Daniel died and which also brought about the paternity suit by Larry Birkhead in California.


Ironically, had she lived and recuperated, we would have watched her planned visit before the Sultan of Brunei, a small oil-rich country near China and Indonesia, that is predominantly Muslim and holds a mandatory death penalty for anyone convicted there of importing controlled substances.


Smith knew better than most how trash sells in our world, and she was absolutely masterful in doing so.  Before drugs wore her down, she was calculated and shrewd.  Of that I have no doubt.


Her death comes not at the surprise of anyone, nor is there anyone left in her life of fast acquaintances caring enough about Anna, the person, to pick up any vestiges of what she could have been.    Clearly, no one close to her, namely Howard K. Stern, has made any obvious attempts to actually help Smith in her battles.  Indeed, the truth seems very far away from that.


The circumstances surround Smith’s death tell me volumes as to how she could never have found the love she so desperately sought in her life, and how the means in which she sought and tried to cope without it hastened her demise.  I never thought I could be shocked by anything surrounding Anna Nicole Smith, but the events unfolding since her death have totally eclipsed any stunt she ever pulled while alive.


Smith and Stern arrived last Monday in Hollywood, FL to look for a yacht, while their financial ability to actually purchase one is at question.  After all, Smith’s previous attorney raked up a bill of more than $100,000, that he has practically given up hope of ever recovering.  He was replaced by her present counsel, Ron Rale.


By late Tuesday, an unidentified physician from California was called in to examine Smith and presumably treat her (or direct treatment) for flu-like symptoms.  On Wednesday (when the doctor may actually have examined her), Smith was running a mid-range to high fever and was quite ill.


Traveling with Smith and Stern was Smith’s personal nurse and a personal bodyguard.


(The baby girl, Dannielynn, born just last September, was left behind in the Bahamas with the Immigration Minister Shane Gibson and his wife.  Minister Gibson granted Smith residency, in an unbelievable quick manner, based upon Smith’s claim that the Bahamas mansion she and Stern were living in was a gift to her and therefore owned by her.)


According to Florida authorities’ reports to media, on Thursday, Smith’s nurse was “working” in their room on the sixth floor of the Seminole’s Hard Rock Casino and Hotel and noticed that Smith was not breathing at approximately 1:45 p.m.


What the nurse reportedly did next is rather interesting to me.


According to authorities, the nurse immediately called for the bodyguard, then she tried to reach Stern by telephone.  She was unable to reach him at first, left a message and waited some 5-7 minutes for Stern to call back.  Meanwhile, the bodyguard is administering CPR.  The nurse either received a call from Stern or gave up waiting.  After this 5-7 minute period after calling in the bodyguard to help, she finally called the hotel operator, who called 911.  Emergency personnel reached Smith’s hotel room in approximately 10 minutes, intubated Smith and continued CPR.


Therefore, nearly 20 minutes lapsed between the time the nurse found her not breathing and medical help arrived.  This bodyguard cannot be praised enough for his attempts, which were nothing less than exhaustive.


Upon Smith’s arrival at the hospital there at 2:45 p.m., she was immediately pronounced dead.  A witness at the hospital reports seeing the ambulance arrive and watching Smith being removed from the ambulance already sealed in a bag on the gurney.


While Florida authorities were unable to clearly identify a disease or natural cause for Smith’s death in their preliminary autopsy, Smith’s own mother stated to Good Morning American Friday that she believes drugs will be the cause.  Formal toxicology reports are not due for another five to six weeks for final confirmation of that belief.


What we do know since the weekend is that Anna Nicole was taking up to ten different prescription medications daily.  Most of these meds were used to control pain following the two separate breast surgeries that she has undergone since her infant daughter was born last September.  One was an augmentation, and the second was to repair scars from previous breast implant surgeries.


Several different media reports of hotel workers and authorities near the case have stated that Anna Nicole’s bedside at the Seminole Hotel & Casino was completely littered with a myriad of different pill bottles.  Some of the bottles were empty, some half full, and they contained Vicoden, Valium, amphetamines, antibiotics…and one report insisted that a bottle of Methadone was also found in the hotel room in Florida.  Some six or eight paper grocery bags of evidence were removed by police from her sixth floor hotel room on the day of her death.


Methadone, as you may recall, was the main culprit found in combination with other drugs, namely morphine, that were determined as preliminary cause of the death of Smith’s 20-year-old son Daniel.  Reportedly, witnesses at the Bahamas hospital where Smith’s infant daughter was born have claimed that Smith’s lover and long-time attorney Stern not only supplied Daniel with Methadone, but flushed two capsules down the toilet immediately after they noticed Daniel was dead and found them in his pocket.


Before her body had even cooled from her death last Thursday afternoon, home videos of Smith being taken out of the hotel and placed into an ambulance, with an EMT administering CPR, were sold for a reported $500K.  That same video was leaked for free on German television within hours, drastically reducing the video’s selling price in value.  Anna Nicole Smith memorabilia has sold like hotcakes on Ebay throughout the weekend, selling at strong prices that before her death were without value or interest at all.


Everyone who can wants to cash in.


Less than 24 hours after Anna Nicole’s death, Zsa Zsa Gabor’s octogenarian husband also made a statement to the press professing that he had enjoyed a decade-long affair with Smith and that he was the actual father of the child.


I place this announcement of Prince Frederick’s in the category of sick humor.


Also within the first 24 hours, paternity litigant Larry Birkhead, held an emergency hearing in California courts that has ordered Smith’s body be held for ten days until briefs regarding the California court’s jurisdiction over Smith’s corpse can be presented and heard.  DNA evidence was routinely obtained in Florida during Smith’s autopsy, which will be preserved for use in the paternity case and any other necessary matters.


It is important to note here that the California court clearly established jurisdiction over Smith (alive at the time) (as the location of the child’s conception in this case) to regarding her daughter’s paternity matter filed there.  About six weeks ago, the court had ordered Smith, Stern and Birkhead to submit to DNA testing, which Stern has delayed by virtue of Smith’s residency having been established in the Bahamas.  With Smith’s death now, it seems highly unlikely to me that this California court can retain any jurisdiction in this custody battle, at least not without the expressed permission of the Bahamas courts.  In my mind, Larry Birkhead will have to file a new case in the Bahamas and probably will.


Today we see photographs, probably photoshopped, of a small bedroom refrigerator full of prescription bottles, vials of Morphine, a tall Methadone bottle, TrimSpa products and even Slim-Fast beverage cans that were reportedly taken in the Bahamas mansion where Smith was staying with Stern before and since the baby’s birth, an example of yet another trying to cash in on her death.  Morphine was a notable element discovered, in autopsy, of Smith’s son, Daniel.  So this photo’s intent, other than profiteering, is at question.


Over the weekend, several items have been reported missing from the mansion, including a couple of drawings of Smith. Officials have also reported that a woman has admitted to removing some of Smith’s clothing and jewelry over the last week while Smith and Stern were in Florida shopping for a yacht they planned to live on.


Where will these items surface, and by whom?


Howard K. Stern made his way back to the Bahamas in record time, without ever seeing Smith’s lifeless body, to claim possession of the infant child, as well as the Bahamas mansion that he now claims to own.  He, of course, will claim ownership through his unofficial marriage to Smith and insistent paternity of Dannielynn.  Stern has refused to prove the latter in DNA sampling.  And recall please that Smith’s
Bahamas residency was granted based upon her claim that the mansion was a gift.


Since door locks at the mansion have been changed twice during the weekend, it took Stern obtaining a court order to gain him entrance into the mansion late Saturday with infant Dannielynn and entourage.  A hearing in a Bahamas Supreme Court has been set for February 26th to determine the now “cloudy” ownership of the mansion that American developer G. Ben Thompson, a brief lover of Smith’s, stated to have only loaned to Smith and Stern to live in before and after the baby was born.


You may recall, as I do, how Thompson asked Smith and Stern to leave this very mansion several weeks ago.  Undoubtedly, this request by Thompson to leave his mansion was the impetus for Smith and Stern going to Florida to buy a yacht to live on.


But now Stern claims ownership of the mansion?  Well, of course he does!  His lawyering skills took Anna Nicole to testify before the US Supreme Court – unheard of before! – so he certainly knows how to buy time in the courts on a myriad of levels, including keeping a home to which he has no entitlement to for as long as the courts there will allow.


Stern has had no perceivable source of income beyond his handling of Anna Nicole Smith’s affairs in the mere one year since they have been together as a couple.


Smith’s wn natural mother, Vivian Arthur, has been in the Bahamas since Saturday and is constantly accompanied by a camera crew from Good Morning America.  She continues to be seen in a van at the front gates of the mansion trying to get a glimpse of her granddaughter, for whom she has emphatically stated her fear for the child’s safety.  Stern has adamantly refused the grandmother’s ability to see Dannielynn, stating that he is merely following Anna Nicole’s wishes to keep the child away from her mother.  Well, of course he is!  Vivian Arthur is the only KNOWN blood relative of this child, regardless of her own motivations in being in the Bahamas after years of estrangement from her daughter, Anna Nicole.


Bahamas press has gone overboard in this scandal of their most infamous resident, who has been plastered over front pages there in a fully-clothed embrace between Smith and Bahamas Immigration Minister Shane Gibson lying on her bed. These obviously familiar photos are fueling even more rabidly the speculation as to how Smith was ever able to obtain residency so quickly in the island country – residency that no one else has ever been able to obtain so easily.


Five days after her death, absolutely no one has placed a claim on her lifeless body, and no one can until the courts determine who has a right to make a claim and see that she is buried.


And a five-month-old daughter is to be the pawn in a protracted series of legal battles over money for years to come.  Whoever achieves custody of this child stands to inherit control of her mother’s estate and any future monies that may be bestowed to it at the end of years of court battles yet to be resolved.


The battles now and the myriad to come over paternity and custody of the infant daughter clearly reside in the Bahamas, where no US court has any jurisdiction whatsoever.  Of course, the California court will ask the Bahamas to give it jurisdiction in the paternity matter of the child, but the Bahamas may very well decline.   And while the child Dannielynn was born in the Bahamas, she still has not yet been registered at the Embassy as a United States citizen, to which she is entitled through her mother.  This is no accident or oversight, I assure you.


I believe the quick-thinking brilliance of Howard K. Stern in choosing the Bahamas as the place for Anna Nicole to give birth, placing his name immediately on the child’s Bahamas birth certificate, being able to obtain an unprecedently quick residency for Anna Nicole, and now holing up there to shelter him from the reach of US jurisprudence will be the talk of legal circles for some time to come.  It is almost plausible that he saw the handwriting on the wall, so to speak, and prepared for this very catastrophe.  At very least, Stern has widened his window of control of what happens next as much as could have legally been possible.


Any claims Smith’s estate may pursue against Smith’s claimed near $500M inheritace from her brief marriage to Texas oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall, as well as in answer to the California Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reduction of the inheritance claim to a mere $89M, and also to any royalties and incomes her estate may continue to be entitled to after her death, will all be held in US courts.


I wonder what will be Anna Nicole’s legacy?  Will it be merely summed up as in “looking for love in all the wrong places?”  Will it be defined as the desperate search of a child from a broken home determined to become a modern-day Marilyn Monroe at any price necessary, who found fame and fortune at the hands of decades of heavy drug abuse, excessive alcohol consumption, and rampant sex with anyone who would idolize her heavily enhanced body?


And will those people closest to Anna Nicole, those who had so many opportunities and could have tried to save her, but chose instead to turn constant blind and enabling eyes her way, be held accountable for her demise and that of her son?  Will, in fact, these people who claimed to love her, but never really did, be the very things which allowed and hastened her ultimate young death?


I wonder what will be the findings of the formal inquest in the Bahamas regarding the mysterious death of Daniel Smith to come next month?  I wonder if the Bahamas will find that Stern played any role in Daniel’s death there?  I wonder if Howard K. Stern is concerned about how the world is speculating of his role, vis-à-vis his presence during both deaths of Daniel and Anna Nicole?


I wonder how long it will take either Larry Birkhead or Vivian Arthur to file a claim that Howard K. Stern is unfit, regardless of paternity, to hold custody of this child due to his involvement in the two deaths and his perceived likelihood of trying to take estate funds away from this child, to which only she is legally entitled???


I wonder what will happen in the life of infant Dannielynn?  What if no proceeds whatsoever are received by Smith’s estate, and whatever exists today is consumed in the legal battles for her guardianship?  Twenty years from now, who will be in her life, and will anyone have been there offering only love and compassion from her innocent beginning?  What will the effect of her mother’s life and death, her legacy of decadence, depravity and her even larger media presence since she died have upon this child?  Will she feel all the more loved and treasured by the many voracious legal fights to come?


Only time will reveal its destiny for young Dannielynn.  Time has run out for her mother and her half-brother.


And the pack of wild dogs circle wildly their kill on a Serengeti plain.


2 responses to “Oh, What Tangled Webs We Weave…

  1. Truly the only intelligent article I have read re this fiasco. I normally do not involve myself in this sordid tragedies . Being Canadaian most all our shame as humans tend to be played down, What has fascinated me (as obviously I am naive )is to the lengths people in the USof A will stoop to for money and fame while our world is so impoverished in countries we prefer to caste away our eyes. People like Howard K. Stern make me ashamed I belong to the human race.I can only hope that the hackneyed expression will bear fruit and come alive as to be careful what you are and what you do . it will come back and bite you in the ass. From my lips tp God’s ears. Thank you for relieving me of some of the shame I feel for Howard and the circle of wild dogs.

  2. Eleanor Schilling

    Unfortunately, this narrative showed that Anna Nicole used other people as well as being used by others. Larry became her personal photographer and part-time lover. G. Ben Thompson was used to attempt to wheedle a mansion out of him for sexual favors. Howard K. Smith did all her legal machinations with the expectation that it would all end with unimaginable wealth. The coyotes have gathered, and I hope that somehow there will be a reasonably happy ending for Dannielynn.

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