Anna Nicole Smith: The Houston Years
The year is 1987. Vickie Smith has been married to Jim’s Krispy cook Billy Wayne for 2 years. Their son Daniel Wayne is one year old when they separate. Vicki moves to Houston, Texas, taking Daniel Wayne with her.
She starts out working for Wal-Mart, then waiting tables at Red Lobster. It was then that she got into exotic dancing. At this time, Vickie Smith was about 5′ 11″ tall with dimensions 36A-25-37. It was also around this time that she met oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall. The bar she was dancing at was called Rick’s Cabaret and she went by the monikers “Miss Nikki” and “Robin”.
From Yahoo Business News:
“Anna Nicole and Howard Marshall were a fixture,” recalls Robert Watters, a founder of the original Rick’s Cabaret, currently a board member of the company and owner of its licensed club in New Orleans. “Howard would come in during the day and spend money. He’d have a drink and watch Anna Nicole. She would often dance for him with a friend and he seemed to get as much pleasure out of watching her interact with another dancer as anything else. Howard was not alone — there were and are always men who had achieved great things financially and who enjoyed the company of our beautiful entertainers. Rick’s is where they find them.”
In 1989 Smith was arrested for DUI.
(Source: Smoking Gun)
From The Seattle Times :
While in Houston, a friend urged Smith to send photographs to Playboy.
Eric Redding :
When Eric Redding learned about the autopsy report that indicated Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental drug overdose, he wasn’t surprised. “She popped pills so much, you had no idea what she was taking most of the time,” he said. “She was a hypochondriac. Any kind of little pain, she would take a pill. She loved Valium. She loved Xanax. I used to carry a little black bag when we would go on assignments. She had 20 different medications.”
In 1991, Redding and his wife, D’eva, discovered Vickie Lynn.
Eric and D’eva Redding
“She was an insecure, overweight woman who could barely write a sentence. It took her more than an hour to fill out a simple biographical form.” But there was something magical about her when she stepped in front of a camera. “It was like she was sent from God,” Redding recalled. “She never took a bad picture.”
The Houston-based couple wrote about their experiences with Smith in a book called Great Big Beautiful Doll: The Anna Nicole Smith Story. Coincidentally, an updated edition arrived in bookstores the day after Smith unexpectedly died last month.
As longtime scouts for Playboy magazine, the Reddings first met Smith when she responded to their ad seeking women with centerfold potential. Even though Smith wore virtually no makeup and her hair was in pigtails, D’eva took one look and said, “You have the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen.”
Eric photographed Smith and sent the test shots to a Playboy rep. Within a few days, the magazine flew Smith to Los Angeles for more photographs.
Hugh Hefner chose her to appear on the cover of Playboy March 1992, wearing a low-cut evening gown. In May 1992 she was the centerfold. Smith was named Playmate of the Year in 1993.By that time, she had changed her name from Vicki to to Anna Nicole.
Larry king Interview:
KING: Where did Anna Nicole come from?
SMITH: Anna Nicole came from Guess Jeans, Paul Marciano and me and one of his friends we were sitting around coming up with a stage name, and that’s where that came from.
For two years, Redding and his wife managed Smith’s career, although he likens it to being a “baby sitter.” Even then, there was a constant problem with alcohol and drugs. Redding said he tried to get Smith to stop, but she refused.
“I’d go, ‘Honey, you don’t need to be mixing those things,’ but she wouldn’t listen. She was headstrong,” he said. “But you couldn’t help but like her. She was a little girlish.”
“We were concerned,” D’eva said. “But she didn’t want a parent.”
Their business relationship ended when Smith moved to California from Houston in 1993; Redding insists they remained friends until her companion, Howard K. Stern, intervened several years ago. She was actually very insecure, which most beautiful women are. That’s probably why she and Howard got along because he was reassuring to her. He controlled her life,” said Redding. He last spoke to Smith two years ago. “Once Howard Stern came long, he didn’t even let her talk to her own mother. If you were a family member or too close, Howard didn’t want you around,” Redding said.
From Superior Pics:
Her figure changed a bit. In the early 90s, after getting implants, her dimensions were 42DD-26-38. When she was 1993’s Playboy Playmate of the year, they were 39DD-27-39. In the early 90s Smith also modeled for Guess jeans, replacing Claudia Schiffer. Some of her photo sessions were inspired by Jayne Mansfield, as Smith beared a resemblance to her. (Of course, after her death she had more comparisons to Marilyn Monroe, who Smith wanted to be like).
On February 3rd, 1993, Anna Nicole Smith legally divorced her husband Billy after being separated for 6 years. On June 27th, 1994, she marries J. Howard Marshall amidst much controversy.
From ABC News:
“When word got out that the love of Smith’s life was 63 years her senior, many dismissed her as a gold digger.”
“The money he was giving her from $1,000 to $5,000 in cash may have helped. He also showered her with gifts worth nearly $6 million, including cars and a 15-acre ranch outside Houston.”
“After years of pining, Marshall finally got Smith to accept a 22-karat diamond engagement ring and the two were wed just a few days later at a drive-through chapel in Houston.”
Anna Nicole and J Howard Marshall
“The unlikely pair married in 1994. After the ceremony, the bride told her husband — whispered, according to People magazine — “Bye, darling, I’m off to Greece.” Also in 1994, she made film appearances in The Hudsucker Proxy and The Naked Gun 33 1/3 – The Final Insult.
In May of 1994, Maria Antonia Cerrato, 23 at the time and Smith’s housekeeper/nanny, sued her for $2 million, charging sexual assault and sexual harassment. After losing a default judgement against her, she filed for bankruptcy. (the case was later settled)
Maria Antonia Cerrato and Anna Nicole Smith
Thirteen months after his marriage to Smith, Marshall died on August 4, 1995, in Houston. the ensuing court battle over his estate, which involved Smith and James Howard Marshall III (both of whom were not mentioned in the will) and E. Pierce Marshall, who was left the bulk of J. Howard Marshall’s assets. The case has resulted in several judicial decisions that have gone for and against Smith, eventually making its way into federal court. At one point Smith was awarded $474 million, and then $89 million, far short of J. Marshall’s $1.6 billion fortune. (At one point, the US Supreme Court was involved, eventually passing a unanimous decision in 2006 that Smith had a right to pursue a share of the estate in federal court).
“Smith was now spending almost all of her time in California and even though her money pipeline was shut down, her lavish spending continued.”
On June 20th, 2006, E. Pierce Marshall died at the age of 67 from infection. With Anna Nicole now deceased herself, the Marshall fortune is likely to continue in the name of Smith’s daughter Dannielynn.
Note: See Anna Nicole Smith – The Mexia Years