Anna Nicole Smith has died at thirty nine.
I am struck by how truly poignant I believe her death is — and how accurate was my gut feeling, upon hearing of the death, that the cruel media would go after this sad story big time if given only a toehold.
And they are already presented with many: a baby whose father is supposedly unknown, a mother who speaks dastardly ill of her daughter, a family that curses their dead relative, a lawyer-cum-putative husband, a phony Prince, and a band of others claiming to be the sire of Anna Nicole's baby daughter who might, or might not, inherit a fortune from her mother's dead billionaire octogenarian husband.
Arthur Millier could not have concocted such a story as this.
Ms. Smith’s autopsy, even in Florida, might open another door. [Note: 27 March 2007 – The Florida coroner shed no further light on he death but to say it involved an overdose. The media, callous as always mentioned nothing about the fate of Anna Nicole's baby as they reported the coroner report in 4 seconds yesterday.]
One thing is certain; Anna Nicole Smith was someone whom I might have predicted could very well end her own life if nothing more than as an escape from the vermin that suffocated her from birth.
I would also lay odds that her late elderly husband's family had the most to lose should she remain alive, and are the happiest that she is dead.
I assume that her claim against the estate of the naughty old billionaire who had his way with her may not pass to her heirs. Sometimes the legal claim dies with the plaintiff. I expected that a fight would ensue over the paternity of her daughter because if anyone inherits the right to Anna Nicole's own inheritance it will be through this tiny unknowing baby, still innocent but assuredly to become the victim of the media later in life.
This piece is not about how Anna Nicole died or who might have killed her, or who will inherit how much. It is about the damnable meanness of so many people, specifically the press and the pundits who are taking full advantage of her death — including me.
It is about American society as it exists, in all its hell, today.
All of us — from our ghoulish President to the nightmarish Greta Van Susteren to a smarmy has-been prosecutor and television social Gestapo agent Nancy Grace to the elderly Larry King, who should know better — — are guilty. We all watched her, amused, from the corner of our eyes, but denying her in public.
Now we can add to the list that abomination of a man, "Prince" Frederic von Anhalt who is not a prince at all, but apparently the son of a policeman who married a woman much like Anna Nicole, Zsa Zsa Gabor. This piece of parasitic non-royal Eurotrash claims he had an affair with Anna Nicole Smith for more than ten years, that she begged him to “make her his princess,” and that he may also be the father of Anna Nicole's baby — and therefore would be next in line for the fortune the courts in Texas might or might not award her dead mother.
This "Prince," it appears, was born in 1933 and then adopted — in 1980, at 47 years of age — by Princess Marie Auguste von Anhalt, who died in 1983. Upon his "adoption" he changed his name from Hans Lichtenberg to Federic "Prinz" von Anhalt — but the dimwits on American television continue to refer to him as a true Prince.
Freddy von Anhalt supposedly, if you can belief it, decided at some point in the past decade, to adopt Anna Nicole and make her alleged dream come true — but Ms. Gabor reportedly refused to sign the papers. I would wager dollars to donuts that Anhalt, if any of this is true, had a long-term affair with Smith to make certain he could cash in on oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II's fortune when the old man finally departed this earth.
The "Prince" Anhalt formerly known as Fred Lichtenberg is another symptom of our inhuman culture.
If you have seen interviews with Anna Nocole Smith's family, you would be reminded of one of the most heartbreaking Dorothea Lange photographs taken during the dust bowl. Smith raised herself out of rural poverty and into a world made popular by Hugh Hefner and his friends, admirers, and shadowy hangers-on. Ms. Smith was light years ahead of anyone in her clan in terms of success born from absolutely no chance at all. From where she began, it should amaze anyone that she was able to keep alive for thirty-nine years and accomplish much more than bagging groceries at her local Wal Mart.
Yet Ms. Smith expertly consummated deals far bigger than most of us, and was more successful — at least by those measures with which our society measures success.
She was a cover girl — first in Playboy magazine, but then posed for other magazines that were perhaps even more pornographic because of their vampiric interest in celebrated people's scrapes — and although many feminists will cluck their tongues at her first leap into stardom, let them cluck away, for they all secretly pray every day that they might have had such a chance to be wanted. Anna Nicole Smith was a television star, and soon will soon appear. ghostly, in a Hollywood film — although of dubious title.
Just like a Jackie "O" (Kennedy) and a million other society girls fallen on bitter times, Anna Nicole, not a society girl at all, married a rich man — a man so old that he could have been her grandfather. Yet where have we heard this before, someone marrying someone else for money and security?
Only Truman Capote could and would have had the courage to list the names of once and now "celebrated ladies" who sucked onto moneyed men like frenzied octopi the first chance they had. Yes, men too followed in the footsteps of 17th Century courtesans and married for nothing much more than money — in fact the law at the time favored this and their their, not the fair, sex.
So let us not be quick to crucify Anna Nicole Smith for doing what I would guess most second, third, and fourth wives of extremely wealthy man have done for eons, and what a shipload of husbands of wealthy women have done as well.
That's just the way life in the "West": Without money you're zilch, and Anna Nicole knew that all too well. Even when beset by the contemptible greed of her elderly husband's son, she fought on — gaining a disgraceful pack of hangers-on like her dreadful "attorney" and the other dead-on-arrival "close friends" that we all figuratively hissed at when they appeared on her television program.
Am I the only person I know who admits to having eagerly watched "The Anna Nicole Show?" Remember it? It opened with an insane jingle ("Anna, Anna, Anna, Anna, Anna-Nicole!"). Perhaps I am only one of few who now publicly recall just how beautiful she once was — and she was so very striking, a crooked reflection of Marilyn Monroe perhaps, yet far more exquisite, far less talented, far more perfect in face and body – headed down the same lonely road toward a chilling death.
Yet "Anna May" knew that her face and body would not last. She liked to eat. She was getting older. She had a child, then another. She had imbibed loads of drugs by her own admission. No human body or soul could pass all that by and survive unscathed. If she could have endured on her own, her enemies in court, the predators that surrounded her, the media, and just the madding crowd would have killed her off one way or the other.
That is how it is in our tough money worshipping democracy. One need only ask Michael Jackson.
Oh yes, Ms. Smith could be horrid for the video cameras that followed her in her for "reality" television. s Of course, there was no authenticity to it except for the slime that she attracted and allowed to remain with her from fear of being alone. The same greasy gutter snipes that appear next to her cold body to claim the prize.
She reportedly could be a terror off-camera as well. What a surprise for someone who found herself up against the brick wall of social outcast when she thought she had done "it all right."
My God, you couldn't pick a better cast of lowlifes surrounding her or fighting her in court because a billion dollars was not enough.
Before you ridicule Anna Nicole Smith — or say something stupid, as Bill Maher has (that she died because prescription drugs are too easy to get) — think about her as someone who came from nothing, scratching and clawing her way toward acceptability and well beyond — and then, after all that, died being an international household word, without enjoying much of anything at all.
Now it is time to gang up on her. This is the American way. Even in death she has become more of a bloodied punching bag than when alive. God knows, she took so many beatings — so many whacks, stabs, and cruel remarks, sneering asides, smirks and whispers behind starched white linen napkins at fine restaurants.
Some say she asked for it.
I say why did we not rescue her — if not from herself, then from the scum who surrounded her, netted her like a beast, and dragged her back into a rhinestone gutter to die for nothing more than profit?
I once told an acquaintance — who was laughing about, no at, Anna Nicole — that I wished I had the determination and talent to go after her and try to convince her to surround herself with the few good people there are in this world.
I wonder if she might have listened.
Now I'll never know.