Griffs Notes 2/9/07

What’s the fascination with Anna Nicole Smith?

Is it because Anna Nicole Smith was the Queen of the Celebrity Train Wrecks waiting to happen? Fame, drugs, depression and loss all played a part into a predictable end for an unexceptional person.

I mean, here’s a gal from humble means who makes good on her physical attributes without ever really establishing any discernable “talents.” And yet the cable news coverage of her death at a casino hotel in South Florida appears to be rivaling the air minutes for Princess Diana’s death.

Unlike her frequent comparison to Marilyn Monroe, I think Smith’s apparent drug overdose is sad, but not particularly tragic. Take for example her memorable appearance at the AMA awards presentation in 2004.

"Like my body?" Smith slurred, raising her hands above her head. She stumbled through her introduction of rapper Kanye West and barely got his name out. But the more pathetic it got, the more we couldn’t tear ourselves away from watching the disaster unfold.

At least in Monroe’s case, she was a movie star; a singer (Happy Birthday, Mr. President!) and she kept the company of the likes of Tony Curtis and Humphrey Bogart. And thanks to Andy Warhol, she was immortalized as an American Icon.

Anna Nicole Smith, on the other hand, developed zero entertainment skills, never attracted the company of lowlifes like Kevin Federline and more or less established herself as an American Trailer Park Icon.

I have stayed at the Hotel Del in Coronado, California after watching Monroe’s 1958 classic Some Like It Hot, but I shuddered to think what landmark claim to fame the Seminole Hard Rock Casino and Hotel will offer in memory of Smith…Trimspa Girls Gone Wild??

Consider her short life’s events. At 17, Smith married a 16-year-old fellow fry cook at the restaurant where she was a waitress and had a son, Daniel, who died last year from a drug overdose. After leaving the fry cook, she moved to Houston to support son Daniel by working in Wal-Mart during the day and stripping at night. In the early nineties, she met prehistoric oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, married him and posed nude in Playboy Magazine.

But by the mid-nineties, thing began to go south as she had her first of many brushes with drug use and hospitalization. Following her sugar daddy’s death at the ripe old age of 90, a vicious estate battle began with Marshall’s son, Pierce, ultimately ending a Supreme Court ruling in 2003 that allowed her to pursue her late husband’s fortune.

Today we seem to be intrigued most by the mess that she has left behind. The identity of the father of her newborn baby daughter, Dannielynn, is unknown. And now Smith’s cast of sleazy characters (including Zsa Zsa Gabor’s husband) circle like vultures to cash in on the paternity suit that will play out in the Bahamas.

The story reads like a best-selling Carl Hiaasen novel. But unfortunately, it’s not fiction. It’s a terrible true example how fame and fortune can wreck someone’s life. And now an infant girl will never grow to know her mother or brother – and perhaps even her father.

I hate to speak ill of the dead. But if there’s any tragedy here, it’s that by giving her death this much attention we have conceded as a nation that she was someone worth high acclamation. And a lifetime of achievement through champagne and pills isn’t worthy of praise.

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