The bubbly bedroom farce that had been Professional Blonde Bombshell Anna Nicole Smith’s life thus far, took a series of surreal, ultimately tragic turns over the last week.
Thursday, September 7, she joyfully announced the arrival of a “healthy 6 pound, 9 ounce baby girl,” born at Doctor’s Hospital in Nassau, Bahamas, only to have her son, Daniel Wayne Smith, 20, die suddenly and mysteriously in his sleep while visiting her in her hosptial room three days later.
Today, the coroner termed Smith’s death “suspicious,” and Reginald Ferguson, assistant commissioner of the Royal Bahamian Police Force, heightened the mystery surrounding the tragedy by stating that a third person, who was not a member of the hospital staff, was in the room when the young man died.
Her Majesty’s Coroner Linda P. Virgill added, “I can confirm that there was definitely a third person in the room at the time of death and I do know who that person is, but I am unwilling to reveal that information at this time for various reasons,” she said cryptically.
Virgill said authorities believe they know what killed Smith, but she left that hanging also. She did indicate there was no sign of physical injury to Smith, and police spokesman Ferguson said no drug paraphernalia or traces of illegal drugs were found on Daniel Smith, nor in or near the hospital room.
The coroner scheduled a public formal inquest for the week of Oct. 23, and indicated autopsy and toxicology reports will not released until then. “It would not be fair to the Bahamian public simply because we need to take our jurors from that pool and you do not wish to contaminate them,” she said.
An announcement on Anna Nicole’s site said she is “absolutely devastated by the loss of her son. He was her pride and joy and an amazing human being.” Diet supplement company TRIMSPA’s CEO Alex Goen, for whom Smith has been a spokesperson since 2003 — losing a reported 80 pounds in the process — said in a statement that Daniel “was a great kid, quiet and unassuming, and very bright. When Daniel walked into a room, Anna would literally light up – he was the apple of her eye. It’s just an incredibly sad time.”
Daniel Smith was born to Anna Nicole and Bill Smith in 1986, the couple were each 17 at the time of their marriage in 1985 and divorced two years later. Daniel had small roles in his mother’s movies Skyscraper and To the Limit, and appeared regularly in her ’02-’04 reality series, The Anna Nicole Show, as well.
His now painfully poignant profile from the show’s website:
Just the Facts: Anna Nicole’s 16-year-old son is a quiet, straight-A student.
Identifying Characteristics: Sweet, handsome, smart
Funniest TV Moment: Winning the eating contest
Choice Comment: “I’m going to my room.”
Former exotic dancer, model, 1993 Playboy Playmate of the Year, actress, reality TV star, diet pill pitchwoman, Anna Nicole, 38, has been a figure of outsized sexuality for over a decade, though now she is best known for prodigious weight gain and loss, outlandish behavior, and marrying 89-year-old billionaire J. Howard Marshall II in ’94 when she was 26.
She has been battling her former “stepson” Pierce Marshall to win a portion of her late husband’s $1.6 billion estate since he died in ’95 – she won a $474 million judgment, which was cut to $89 million, then reduced to zero, but in May the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had been wrong in ruling that federal courts could not handle Smith’s case, allowing her to carry on the fight.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s opinion includes a hint of the nastiness of the case, referring to accusations that Pierce Marshall “engaged in forgery, fraud, and overreaching to gain control of his father’s assets”; and, on the other side, that Smith had “defamed” her former stepson.
And then Pierce Marshall, 67, died of an infection in June.
You couldn’t make this stuff up, but until this weekend, Smith’s rather viscous trail through the culture had stayed firmly on the side of comedy. Now it’s something else entirely. “This is her son who was in her room in the hospital,” said Reginald Ferguson. “I would imagine that would be pretty traumatic.”