Saturday, February 10, 2007

Nobody does it better...

Than The Telegraph's obituary writers:

Anna Nicole Smith, who died on Thursday aged 39, was a former stripper and Playboy centrefold and became a star of American reality television on the strength of her eye-popping figure and her brief, notorious marriage to one of the richest oilmen in Texas; although she endured tabloid obloquy as "the queen of trailer trash" she revelled in her claim to rank among the best-known widows in the world.

In 1991, as a penniless 22-year-old, she was pole-dancing at a seedy club in Houston when she caught the eye of J Howard Marshall II, a Yale-educated, wheelchair-bound tycoon almost four times her age. He had a reported $1.4 billion fortune in oil stocks and "a strong yearning", as his son later put it, "for large breasts".

By the time Marshall had wooed and won her — they were married in June 1994, the bride absenting herself afterwards with her handsome black bodyguard — Anna Nicole's 42 DD charms had also caught the attention of Playboy magazine; she was a cover girl in March 1992, posed naked for the centrefold (as Vickie Smith) in May and in June 1993 (as Anna Nicole) was named Playmate of the Year.

During their courtship Marshall flew her to New York where, in less than an hour, she spent $2 million on jewellery, charging it to his platinum American Express card; by the end of his life Marshall was said to have lavished a total of $6 million on her — $4 million in jewellery and the balance on property, cars, furs and spending money.

Her marriage to Marshall (or "Poopsie Baby", as she called him) lasted only 403 days and ended with his death in August 1995 from a heart attack at the age of 89; told by her husband's family to stay away from the official funeral, she held one of her own, dressed in her spectacular white wedding gown which struggled to contain her precipitous embonpoint: "It plunged so deep," noted one observer, "it almost struck oil."

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