Anna Nicole Smith and Public Culpability


Anna Nicole Smith died last Thursday at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. She was 39 years old. Did you know she was 5’11”? For some reason, this irrelevant trivia has stayed with me since the CNN announcement late last week. But then, so much of Anna Nicole Smith’s life seemed a little like irrelevant trivia, didn’t it? I mean if Hollywood had produced her life as a film it would have flopped because of unrealistic plot lines, hyper drama, and bad acting. But it, and she, was real. It makes you wonder who loved that woman that they didn’t stop her, get her the help that she so obviously needed. I’m no shrink or forensics expert, but it seems pretty clear that this was one disturbed woman; she needed help, whether it was emotional or psychological help or both.

I was watching something or other night before last (one of the news channels, forget which), and Danny Bonaduce was on, commenting on Anna Nicole Smith. Now before you poo poo this, as was my initial instinct, as one train wreck commenting on another, let me just say that although Bonaduce has his problems, he’s pretty smart and very savvy. He’s also doing what Anna Nicole Smith would or could not do: controlling the head turners and neck craners who pass by his life at a snail’s pace, and he’s making a good bit of money doing so. Anyway, at one point he said that (and this is a paraphrase) everyone was culpable in the tragedy of her life; everyone from the handler who let her on stage drugged out of her mind and unable to talk to the people around her who got her drugs or looked the other while she took them to the viewer who didn’t turn the channel. Thunk.

Maybe he’s right. Maybe all of us had something to do with her life’s decline, her tragedy. Maybe by watching that reality show, by buying those magazines, by tuning in to the Hollywood “news” shows . . . maybe by doing all these things and more we enabled her plight. Obviously, not all of us watched or bought–even I, who love reality television, just couldn’t watch the “Anne Nicole Show”–but, hey, I’ve watched plenty of shows with her on them, and I know exactly what’s gone on with her and her life, and never once did I think seriously that she needed help or that she was a sad, tragic figure. Well, okay, I did feel sorry for her a few times with the public humiliations and press attacks on her weight, but I never . . . well, I never took her seriously. She was a human being, and I didn’t really think of her as one. At least not until she lost her son Daniel last fall.

Now I know that we are all responsible for ourselves, that ultimately we cannot blame anyone for anything (or at least this is how I feel, what I believe), so I know that there is more than enough blame to go to the woman herself. But if she were mentally unstable? Or incapable of rational decisions because of drug use? Or a combination? Well, someone somewhere should have done something, no? And just how culpable are we, the viewing public?


Apart from the circle of greedy enablers–there was a lot of money to be had from letting her crash and burn like that, primping her and propping her up for the camera–you have to wonder . . . well, don’t you? I mean how likely is it that a 20 year old just dies? And then five months later a 39 year old just dies? Judge Judy was on Larry King and was asking this same question when he asked if she thought there might be foul play, and it brought into focus something that had been floating inchoate in my mind . . . what if someone killed them? Wouldn’t that be the final plot twist in a larger than life Hollywood tragedy?


30 thoughts on “Anna Nicole Smith and Public Culpability

  1. i kind of wondered the same thing. so much mysteriousness surrounding first her son’s death, and now hers. it does make one suspicious. i’m wondering if anyone will be taking a close look at her husband.

  2. Great post Fuzzy, again you are the only one writing about such topics, which is serious and should be talked about here. Keep writing it.

    “I mean if Hollywood had produced her life as a film it would have flopped” I think they may already have started planning and try to make money out of this tragedy.

    It is sad she went through that course, but I think it is more self induced than anything else. She saw her son die like that and yet she didnt’ take any precautions, she seemed to have followed exactly the same course in mixing medicines and taking a cocktail of medicines and didn’t follow doctor’s orders. One of the culprits who saw this is her lover or husband? that guy bought medicine for both of them. And now everybody is clamoring for her baby that they are their father, where the hell where they before. It is because of the wealth of the baby. I hope someone takes the baby and puts them in a Foster parents who can love it more, but they may also be lead greed’s way. Tough future for the kid. And you are right they should just ignore outside opinion who either praise too much or abuse with words too much. Her seems to be like Marilyn Monroe’s death, but I hope they don’t drag it, find it quickly so she can rest in peace.

  3. Actually, I thought the same thing. Something doesn’t sit right regarding the events that unfolded at her son’s death, and now her own. Perhaps I’m wrong, but Howard K. Stern doesn’t strike me as someone to be trusted in this scenario, several convenient tragedies all in a row it seems and if things fall into place he will be the trustee of that infant’s fortune. Call me suspicious… @@ hugs, G. xo

  4. Since I avoid all news, getting the rare citing from Yahoo! or The Daily Show, I’m glad you brought this up. Culpability. Hmmmmm. I started thinkig about it when I first saw your headline, and I have to completely agree on your assessments of how we guide others to both fame and decline through how we focus our attentions. Rarely are we conscious of this! Thank you, once again, for a most enlightening view, however sobering it is.

  5. Hey Fuzzy,

    Great blog topic, thought about doing it myself but then realised that I don’t know a hell of a lot about Anne Nicole Smith. I did think it was weird that her son just dropped dead at 20 years old and then her! Then I thought that perhaps they had a generic disese that ran in the family maybe, and I still haven’t heard why they did die but I gather its from drugs overdose. Is this why her son died too then? I don’t understand why everyone wants the other child though as far as I knew that the fortune row was still on and that she hadn’t inherited any money as yet and never will now so why will it automatically go to the child that child wasn’t the billionaire’s was it? I also heard that she had frozen his sperm as well. Not sure really how true any of the things are I heard about this. I do feel sorry for the kid though with no Mum, Dad or brother now though. She deserves a loving home thats for sure.

    Hugs to the clan and you of course. x

  6. This is something that I am going to have to disagree with you on. Anna Nicole Smith chose her path, from the decision to become an exotic dancer, to the decision to agree to post for Playboy, to the decision to marry a man who could be her grandfather – each decision pretty much guaranteed to put her in the public eye. Was she unstable?

    Well, eventually she became that way, but at first she was a savvy individual who did what she needed to do to become rich and famous without being able to sing or act or do anything but be decorative.

    The phrase “handlers” makes me feel that she is being described as a small child who was taken advantage of by the big bad adult world…..and she may well have ended up like that – but its not how she started her life.

    Are we culpable? I don’t think so – she asked the world to watch her, and many did. We are no more responsible for her death than we are for John Belushi or Jim Morrison or overdose or any of the other celebrities that have met tragic ends. I think that perhaps its the most creative among us that tend to be the least stable….but I’m not sure that she should be counted among them.

    She was simply a woman who found that fame and fortune doesn’t guarantee happiness. Her son was a drug addict with a heart condition – something that I think happens all too often when young people who believe they are immortal are given few if any limits in their lives.

    Its a sad story – but one that is not dissimilar to many other ones – the difference being that she was a celebrity.

  7. Fuzzy, great post. I , like Kerry, wondered about the husband. He was around when the son died, and there he was again when Anna died. As for all of us having something to do with her demise due to our watching her shows, or buying magazines with her on the cover, and things of that nature, I’m not too sure there is anything any of us “little” people could have done. And one of my first thoughts when i read that in your blog was your post a week or so ago that was all about “Live and let live”. I guess that is exactly what her handlers. managers, family, and those close to her did.

  8. Great post Fuzz, I will have to agree with The Divine Ms Em on the topic. She has chosen her own path-as we all do-and I do not think any of us should be held responsible for what happened.

  9. I go with Ms. Em….you can’t help someone till they are ready to help theirself, and she obviously wasn’t. If watching your son die of drugs doesn’t stop you, you can pretty much hang it up, unless like you theorize in your blog, she was murdered, which could very well be the case. The whole thing has been crazy and may get even more so still. Great Blog, I love this one!

  10. Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments! There seem to be two threads of discussion here, the culpability and the possibility of murder.

    On the latter, I’m with you, Kerry and Gloria, it does seem rather fishy that she’s dead so few months after her son’s still mysterious and decidedly unresolved death. I think you’re on to something, Snuggles, when you ask about the money and I agree with everyone who voiced their concerns about Howard K. Stern. I’m not clear on the money thing, but it does seem that the money, if awarded, will indeed go to the daughter, and as of now, HKS is the executor of ANSmith’s will, so he’ll have control of it until the baby comes of age. There seems to be some legal issues with the Bahamas and keeping her there; again, nothing I’m clear on, but it seems that his keeping the baby there is designed to keep her in his control (the money, anyway). It all stinks to high heaven to me, but again, I know nothing more than you guys do.

    As to the culpability, I didn’t say that no responsibility goes to Anna herself, to my mind, it’s not an either / or. I do think, that had the public been uninterested in her train wreck of a life, it might not have been quite such a train wreck. She wasn’t famous for anything but Playboy and some modeling, and she’s certainly not the first starlet to marry a dying billionaire, nor is she the first starlet on the arm of an aging actor, businessman, or anyone else with money. So why are we so fascinated with HER? And doesn’t that fascination have some part to play in the continuation of her destructive lifestyle? She got attention when she was off the rails, so . . . off the rails she went.

    It seems as though (barring any murder plot that involved getting her to the Bahamas, or maybe even including one) she went there to begin a new life with her new baby; maybe she was going to straighten up and things went horribly wrong for her with her son’s death? We don’t know. But I do have to wonder if our morbid curiosity didn’t help; she was essentially famous for having slurred speech and being socially and sexually outrageous, so our continued interest in that commodity must have meant the supply had to keep up with the demand, no? It’s not quite like other people who drugged to death; they weren’t doing it to please their fans . . . their talent or artistic contribution pleased the fans, the drugs and outrageous behavior were ancillary AND people tried to get them in rehab; who ever heard of Anna Nicole going to or contemplating that? Or thinking about seeing a mental health professional? Wouldn’t that have destroyed her only claim to fame? Anyway, I find it all very tragic and sad, whatever the public’s role, be it major, minor, or nonexistent.

  11. Her life was tragic, pitiful…..but somehow we liked her. We liked to look at her and and say OMG I would never to that, we would look at her and ridicule. Did we look at her in that way to make ourselves look/feel better? She was pitiful, tacky….all that money and no class. Would we really be any different?

    And then we continued to look at her….to watch her. Why? Because she came from a meager background, much like most of us. Because she was a fighter, perhaps stronger than most of us. She gave us hope…..that if someone like her could fight and win, perhaps we could too. Because we could associate with her…..her lowliness making good. Is there then a possibility for the rest of us?

    We liked to ridicule her…….but suffice it to say……she represented hope.

  12. What I thought was very strange was the media attention that she got after her son died. She seemed to be in the spotlight every single evening. I remember commenting “who really cares?” . . .pretty callous, I know. However, she seemed to me to be a media whore. Maybe I am wrong but I kind of thought she was one of those people who was addicted to attention. She also seemed to have some sick fantasy of being Marilyn Monroe.
    During Roger’s surgery, CNN was on in the waiting room and that was the only news on. There was one photo that the news showed of her looking like a normal person. It was after seeing that photo that I realized that she was just a person trying to be loved.
    I agree that the deaths seem kind of fishy especially since the baby girl is worth so much money. Hmmmm. . .

  13. Anna was on the hard road from the beginning . She could have stayed in school or stayed a waitress but she wanted more just like everybody else. She used the only thing available to her to get ahead. When she reached the fame and riches she found out it was full of scum suckers and users. Hollywood is full of pimps and is only going to use people up. If you falter they’re first to suck your life out of you. The road she chose has no one that cares and when she needed love it wasn’t there. I think that’s why many turn to drugs. I’ve seen picts of Anna without the makeup and glitz of the cameras, she was a beautiful woman with a broken heart who was trapped in a world she could never have imagined. The worst part is the child. With all the hyenas at the door what possible chance does she have.

  14. I wrote on this this morning, but Yahell ate it somehow. Anyway, again I will try to remember what I wrote. I feel Anna Nicole was always wasted. I dont know how much she was on yur screens, but out here, if there was a camera around, so was she. I never even knew she was pregnant though. I do know she took some kind of drugs, you could tell by seeing how she acted in fro0nt of the camera. Now as far as who is responsible, she was. So was her insignificant other, Howard K. I feel ever time she poppoed on of her little pills, he should have stopped her. I f he loved her, he would have. he wasnt wasted every time we saw him, she was. He could have prevented her death by preventing her drug habit, he was her attorney also. I think he had a lot to do with her sons death, and her death. I dont have proof, but we will see in the near future.
    In my previous post to this comment, I stated that John confesed to me to being the father of Dannilynn. Yes, my heart is broken, but I realise that onece a blood test is done, and it is proven, I will remake my sewing room into a nursery. We will see.

  15. Poor girl…some people can handle the pressure and some can’t. I have always been amazed by Anna. I think she was really down to earth and just wanted to be something and have something in life. Allbeit, it seemed too much for her to handle.

    I think people want the limelight till they have it. But when they get it they can’t do without it and that is a drug in itself. As we all know, one addiction just leads to another! Her weight went up and down, her bank balance followed suit.

    What a crap life it must have been to have to rely on so many drugs just to get by in what we would all except to be the best that life can offer!

    After her son died in front of her, I figured it wouldn’t take long for her to do herself in.

    Her legal/no legal husband behind it all? Who knows. I hope he would have more sense then bump her off before she got her millions, especially with the paternity of her daughter up in the air…or is that heir? LOL!

  16. Hey Wendy, wow, that’s almost poetic; thanks for the great comment.

    Naw, Nancy, “who really cares?” isn’t callous; I think we’ve all thought that from time to time, or at least I have. I didn’t get why the press was all over her after her son died/daughter was born, either. Doesn’t seem like we heard anything much before that from her in the Bahamas, I didn’t even know she was IN the Bahamas until that happened. I tried to find some normal looking pics of Anna Nicole and this was the best one I could find (granted, I didn’t look long or far), but yes, when she was normal looking, she was endearing, I think.

    Beautifully put, Heyman, I think you’ve really nailed her experience; she was just a country girl after all, and didn’t have the best start in life, and she really didn’t have any talent for acting or singing or whatever . . . it’s just a crying shame all around.

    Yes, Claudia, I think that Howard K. Stern has a lot more to answer for than does the public. And LOL on the sewing room becoming a nursery; if John’s the dad and you guys get that baby/money, your whole house can be a sewing room! :))

    Hey Amber, yeah, you’d think he’d be smarter, but it’s looking more and more like he was pretty wily in getting her to the Bahamas for the birth and to set up residency. Who know? Maybe Anna Nicole decided she didn’t want to marry him? Maybe when the Bahamian officials started asking about Howard’s role in Daniel’s death and asking him to come in for questioning, etc., maybe she figured something wasn’t right and told him she didn’t want to marry him? Maybe she cut him off at that point, and he killed her in desperation? It’s all speculative, the poor girl didn’t seem to have any friends besides Howard, let’s face it THAT screams abuse right there, cutting her off, taking her to another country, isolating her.

    I know I talk about my country a lot, Azad, but weird things keep happening here. I’ll try to do something a little less country-specific soon and just for you, okay? :))

    Thanks to everyone who commented!! Huggs to each of you. :))

  17. Hei Fuzz.

    Several of the bloggers who are connected to me did write about her.
    You raise some very valid points on her and also on her son’s deaths. So strange the whole thing to me. I have never really followed her life and the whatnot of her but nevertheless, intriguing to see the ‘what’ and the ‘who’ in this story…

    Keep us posted. Do take care and have a grand day. Rii xx

  18. You know, I didn’t mind her. There are non-entity “celebrities” that I literally loathe (please stand up, Ms Lohan and Ms Richie), but Anna Nicole…I kinda din’t mind her. She didn’t seem to take herself too seriously. I feel very sorry for her daughter who will never know her mother. And I do sort of wonder if her son’s death just tipped her over the edge. She seemed pretty fragile mentally at times.
    I couldn’t not laugh a little at the transcript of the phone call to emergency services though. Just something about the wording got me:
    She’s not breathing, and she’s not responsive. She’s, um, actually Anna Nicole Smith,” the woman from the Seminole Police is heard saying in asking for help in Room 607.

    “Oh, OK,” a woman at the Hollywood Police Department responds.

  19. No, I didn’t know that she was 5’11”. On the other hand, I thought she was the woman O.J. didn’t kill. Rough, to potentially die of overall heartbreak when you have so much.

  20. I agree with those commenters who say that all of this was brought on herself. She chose her path, like we all choose our path. I think The Divine Ms Em nailed it perfectly with her comment, and I endorse it fully.
    Now, please Fuzzy…..don’t start down the ‘conspiracy theory’ road. You are an intelligent blogger, don’t get dragged into that way of thinking. Next you’ll be blogging about how the moon landings didn’t happen and Kennedy was assassinated by KGB-trained midgets.

  21. Hey Rii, thanks for your great comment! I doubt, though, that I’ll be keeping you guys posted on this one; unless something really bizarre happens, it’s unlikely to catch my interest again, I’m afraid!! Huggs to you Diggy Rii! :))

    Yeah, I know what you mean, Tally, and I hadn’t heard that about the 911 call. How strange and kind of funny, in an I really don’t want to but can’t help laughing way. :))

    LOL, funny stuff Gregg!!

    Hey there Mitch, well, you surprise me in a way because I was rather impressed with your sense of the role the media plays on anorexic young girls and on the modeling world in general. This comment seems to fly in the face of that stance, but maybe it’s different if it’s just one woman being negatively influenced instead of many thousands? Or are people less responsible for their eating disorders than for their drug abuse? Anyway, I can assure you that I’ll not be blogging on any conspiracy theories in the way you use the term! LOL @ the midget thing. :))

  22. oops, and that’s NOT to say that I don’t think she’s at all responsible, of course she is, as I wrote in the post itself: “Now I know that we are all responsible for ourselves, that ultimately we cannot blame anyone for anything (or at least this is how I feel, what I believe), so I know that there is more than enough blame to go to the woman herself.” But I think that there is a lot of responsibility to go to the press and the general public, as well.

  23. I think you’ve misinterpreted what I wrote. Em’s comment, and in endorsing it, my own view, at no point mentioned anorexia, size-zero debates or media coverage of models. It was to do with her self-chosen path to the ‘Cult Of Celebrity’ and that in so doing, was the architect of her own eventual downfall. This is something different to those issues you mentioned that I had blogged about.

  24. I see it as somewhat related, though; I mean models aren’t modeling because they want to live a “normal” life, they want fame and fortune and all the “perks” that go along with it. The media tells them (and us) that they have to be a size 0, so that’s what they become. I don’t quite see how that same media telling Anna Nicole that she needs to be a doped up train wreck and her complying is all that different. It’s all influence and ambitions and trying to fast track to big money and celebrity, no? That it damages people (women in particular) is nothing to sneeze at; young girls emulate these “party girl” stars just as much as they do these skinny models. If people weren’t buying all these magazines with the skinny models or financing the trend, it wouldn’t be there . . . I think it’s similar.

  25. Oh the whole thing had me fired up. I think Stern was largely to blame. He could have gotten her help, but was more worried about money. I think her death struck me hard because she is close to my age AND the FL office from my former company is close to that Hard Rock Casino. I had driven by it several times when there on business. OH and the judge in the trial to decide what to do with her body?!? OMG! What a pitiful example of the judicial system. IMHO, he should have been disbarred!!!

  26. omg, wasn’t it all just the worst? That judge!! Ugh!! And I so agree with you on her death hitting home because of her age; she’s only a few month younger than me. Or was. Sigh.

  27. Anna Nicole was a drug addict and gold-digger.Daniel Smith’s inquest proved that Daniel stole his mother’s drugs and died.The inquest also proved Anna Nicole gave Ecstasy, Methadone and other drugs to her own son.Daniel’s death was declared accidental drug overdose.No foul play.Howard K. Stern was totally cleared and exonerated.

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