FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – If the accent of the Florida judge handling the Anna Nicole Smith custody battle sounds right out of "Taxi Driver," that's because it is: Broward County Court Judge Larry Seidlin is a former Bronx cabbie.
"I used to drive a yellow cab," Seidlin told The New York Daily News. "It was dangerous, but I loved making conversations with people. I love my roots. It's part of my character."
And there was plenty of evidence of his tough-talking New York attitude in the courtroom on Wednesday.
"This body belongs to me right now," he said of Smith's corpse.
Seidlin, 56, grew up in the Pelham Parkway section of the Bronx. In 1972, he graduated from Hunter College. He spent two years at St. John's University Law School, then moved to Florida in 1974. He got his law degree from the University of Miami.
No matter how heated the proceedings may become, Seidlin, who has a 6-year-old daughter with his wife, Belinda, says a prayer every night when he leaves the courthouse.
"I thank God every day," he told The News. "I thank Him that it's all running smooth."