‘Anna Nicole Smith’ Documentary Explained: How Did Anna Die? Who Was Responsible For Her Death?

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Whenever a tragic incident happens in the entertainment industry, we look back at the past and try to find answers, but more often than not, speculation is all we get. There have been a lot of filmmakers who have tried to document the fascinating yet miserable life of the star, the celebrity, who rose to fame in the nineties, but Netflix’s Anna Nicole Smith: You Don’t Know Me tries to go even deeper, to get the hang of who exactly Anna was, behind all that glitter. The rise and fall of the star is shown in a patented manner, but the documentary subtly makes certain deductions based on the scattered information and hints that are present in the general forum that tell us about Anna’s psychology. For those who haven’t heard about Anna Nicole Smith and what happened to her, the documentary will serve as a testament to the fact that life changes overnight in the entertainment industry, no matter which country we are referring to. What makes it fascinating to see a person rise to stardom is that there is no set pattern or rule that you can follow to climb that ladder.

There is no definite answer as to why somebody like Anna shot to fame. No doubt she had a charming presence and an extremely beautiful face, but so did a lot of other women. Anna’s destiny was already written, and the way her career progressed was almost magical. It didn’t make sense how Marilyn Grabowski of Playboy magazine got to know about her or how she was introduced to Paul Marciano, owner of Guess. The thing is, Anna’s quest was in itself quite toxic, and the kind of desires she had made her incapable of feeling satisfied or happy. She was after money and stardom, and there was no problem with that, but she was ready to do anything and go to any extent to attain them. She made certain choices that wrecked her from within, and no matter what anybody said, the reason behind those choices made others question her principles. Life’s a rollercoaster ride, and if you want to survive the lows, then there is no option but to be in better control of your emotions. I believe Anna lacked meaningful partnerships in her life, not because she didn’t have people, but because she always left those behind who were willing to sit down and listen to her and not just use her for their vested interests. In this recap, let’s understand what led to the downfall of Anna Nicole Smith and whether there was any foul play with respect to her untimely demise. 


Did Anna’s Mother Physically Abuse Her?

Anna came from a humble background though her family always had enough resources for a decent lifestyle. But Anna wanted more. She was not happy living in Mexia, Texas, as she had big dreams and knew that staying in that city would get her nowhere. Anna started working at Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken, and soon, she got married to the chef of the outlet, Billy. Anna got a lot of attention from the male customers who used to come there, but Billy was probably the only one who didn’t try to flirt or make any sort of pass at her. Billy’s aloofness bothered Anna so much that she made it a point that he liked her, and once that happened, she decided to get married to him. This was not merely a life event; it said a lot about Anna’s psychology. Anna craved attention to the point that if she didn’t get it, she started feeling restless and didn’t hesitate to be reckless. Anna probably never loved Billy, and I believe that a thing that you start for all the wrong reasons never lasts for long. Billy used to go to work, and Anna felt bored staying in her house. Billy was a jealous man, and he felt that if Anna worked, she would get a lot of male attention and might end up having an affair.

After Anna had her first child, Daniel, she decided to leave Billy in search of greener pastures. Anna worked in a strip club where she met a colleague named Missy, who probably knew her better than a lot of other people who claimed to be a part of Anna’s life. Anna earned a lot of money during this time, and she became the most sought-after performer in the club. Anna got a photoshoot done, and that became a turning point in her life as Marilyn Grabowski was on the lookout for new faces for Playboy magazine during that time, and the photographer asked her to take a look at Anna’s photographs. Anna won the playmate of the year title, and after that, there was no looking back. She started modeling for Guess, and soon, she started getting offers for films. In every interview, Anna always said that she had had a traumatizing childhood. She used to say that her mother used to sexually and physically abuse her. We don’t know how much of it was true and how much she was making up, but Missy, her colleague from the strip club, noticed one time that she repeated Missy’s story in one of her interviews and tried to gain sympathy from the people. Virgie, her mother, asked her why she was spreading lies, and Anna would always reply that a sad story always sold more and worked in the person’s favor.

Missy also confirmed in Anna Nicole Smith: You don’t know me that whenever they used to get into trouble, Anna’s mother always came to the rescue, and she made sure that her daughter was safe. Even Anna’s brother, Donald Hart, said that their mother never did anything of the sort, and Anna only propagated the lies to get sympathy from the people. Had Missy not noticed that what Anna was saying in the interview was, in fact, her life story, then maybe we would have believed Anna for a moment and entertained the fact that the mother and the brother were hiding the truth. This fabricated past life was also another means to get attention from the masses. Anna wanted to be in the spotlight at all times, and her desperation was taking her down a path of no return.


Was Anna Nicole Smith Killed?

Anna married J. Howard Marshall, and the age gap between the two was more than 60 years. Though Anna always maintained that she didn’t do it for money, to any prudent man, her intentions were blatantly clear. After Marshall’s death, Anna fought a case for his property with Marshall’s son, E. Pierce Marshall. Anna lost the case and her husband, but she kept finding love in her life. She was in a relationship with Larry Brikhead and then with her lawyer, Howard Stern. Anna wanted to have another child, and thus, in 2006, she gave birth to a girl named Dannielynn. Both Larry and Howard claimed her daughter, and even Anna’s bodyguard, Alexander Denk, claimed a similar thing, but eventually, it was proved in court that Brikhead was the father. Anna was in the Bahamas at this time, and Daniel, her son, had come to meet her there. Daniel, all of a sudden, died in the hospital room itself, where Anna was staying, and the reports said that he had died due to drug abuse. Approximately two weeks after the unfortunate incident, Anna and Howard Stern got married.

Anna died on February 8th, 2007, almost a year after giving birth to her daughter, and at the end of the documentary, we saw that it was concluded by the experts that there was no sign of foul play and the reason for her death was an accidental overdose of prescription medications. There were rumors in the media that Anna was murdered, but no concrete evidence was found, and it merely turned out to be a baseless conspiracy. In my opinion, in cases of drug overdosing, it is always a question of whether the drugs were administered with the intention of killing the person, but most of the time, it becomes extremely difficult to find any sort of corroborating evidence. There was an official investigation to look into Daniel’s death too, but like his mother, the authorities found out that consumption of a deadly combination of two antidepressants and methadone had led to the demise of the young boy, and there was third-party involvement there.


Who Is To Blame For Anna Nicole Smith’s Death?

Anna idolized Marilyn Monroe, and she aspired to become like her one day. Maybe that is why Anna faked having a very difficult childhood, though everybody who knew her back in the day said that she was lying about it. Anna was solely responsible for whatever happened to her in her life. Whatever repercussions she had to bear and whatever hardships she had to go through were the result of her own actions. After seeing the documentary, we felt that Anna Nicole Smith always had the option of choosing a better life, but her obsession with being in the limelight made her ruin everything. She could have said a million times in the media that she didn’t marry J. Howard Marshall for money, but it is practically impossible to believe that she simply fell in love with the 89-year-old bigshot of the oil industry. The question that we ask here is whether she would have married him if he didn’t have billions of dollars in his bank account.

A lot of people said that she was hounded by the media when she gained weight, and there were all sorts of defamatory remarks made about her in public. It is true that the media is quite harsh and insensitive about a lot of things, but it is also to be noticed that she didn’t mind those negative remarks as long as people were talking about her in public. Anna was the paparazzi’s delight, and they absolutely loved recording her and taking pictures of her because they knew that she would do or say something that would get sensationalized and become the talk of the town. No doubt Anna loved her son, but it is a fact that he felt neglected and lonely, and when he needed his mother the most, she was nowhere to be found. We are not villainizing Anna out of our own personal bias, but facts show us that she was so engrossed in her own life and complexities that she didn’t pay attention to what her son was doing. Maybe he was stealing drugs from her stash, or maybe he was buying them from somewhere else, but the fact that he was using them on a regular basis and Anna was unaware of it was not something that should have ideally happened. In the end, Anna’s name was added to that long list of unfortunate and untimely deaths where the celebrities were unable to handle their stardom and lost themselves while desperately running after fame and money.


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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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