Pop Culture

Family, friends say goodbye to Anna Nicole

Anna Nicole Smith, her coffin covered with a rhinestone-studded blanket and her portrait on the church altar, was mourned by family and friends Friday during a funeral service before a white hearse took her body to the cemetery.

The mahogany coffin was carried into the white-columned Mount Horeb Baptist Church, as hundreds of tourists and fans watched from behind steel barricades guarded by Bahamian police. Some in the crowd cried out “Anna! Anna! We love you!”

Smith’s mother, Virgie Arthur, arrived in a white stretch limousine with an entourage of about 10 people. She wore a black dress and waved to the cheering crowd.

Smith’s casket was closed and the pews were festooned with pink flowers, said Yvonne Gibson, one of the guests. There were fewer than 100 guests, even though an organizer said about 300 — including an “Entertainment Tonight” camera crew — had been invited.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Jessica Rinaldi / X01704

    Celebrity Anna Nicole Smith's photo is seen in a 1985 Mexia High School year book under the name, Nikki Hart, in Mexia

    Anna Nicole Smith

    The short, tragic life of the former Playboy playmate and model.

  • Celebrity Anna Nicole Smith's photo is seen in a 1985 Mexia High School year book under the name, Nikki Hart, in Mexia

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Texas teen

    Anna Nicole Smith's photo is seen in a 1985 Mexia (Texas) High School yearbook under the name Nikki Hart. School officials say Smith went by the name Nikki Hart during her brief tenure there.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Anna Nicole Smith

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    Short, tragic life

    The cover of the June 1993 Playmate of the Year issue of Playboy magazine featured Anna Nicole Smith. Smith, the pneumatic blonde whose life played out as an extraordinary tabloid tale -- jeans model, Playboy centerfold, widow of an octogenarian billionaire, reality-show subject, tragic mother -- died Thursday, Feb. 8, 2007, after collapsing at a Hollywood, Fla., hotel. She was 39.

    Playboy / Playboy
  • Smith & Her License Plate

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    She had drive

    Smith holds a Texas license plate that reads "PMOY 93" (Playmate of the Year).

    Time & Life Pictures / Time & Life Pictures
  • ANNA NICOLE SMITHⓡ HOWARD MARSHALL    after his death, anna nicole smith fights

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Happy husband

    Millionaire J. Howard Marshall II made headlines in 1994 when he married Smith. She was 26 and he was 89. He died Aug. 5, 1995, when he was 90. Smith and Marshall's son, E. Pierce Marshall, battled over Marshall's estate. The boy next to Marshall is Smith's late son, Daniel.

    Sipa Press / Sipa Press
  • NICOLE SMITH

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Daniel's short life

    Smith and her son Daniel, 13, leave a federal courthouse in Los Angeles on Oct. 27, 1999. His body was found in the Bahamas on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2006. A coroner's report ruled the death was caused by an overdose of anti-depressants and methadone.

    AP / AP
  • MARSHALL SMITH STERN

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    Fighting for her share

    Smith listens in court in Houston with her attorneys Tom Cunningham and Howard Stern on Monday, Oct. 2, 2000. Sixteen jurors, four of them alternates, were seated to hear the lawsuit where Smith laid claim to a share of the oil fortune of her deceased husband, J. Howard Marshall II. Smith married the Texas oil tycoon in 1994 and he died the following year. Stern later reportedly married Smith and claimed to be the father of Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern.

    Pool via AP / Pool via AP
  • SMITH

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Back to work

    Smith is surrounded by members of KISS at the conclusion of the Lane Bryant show featuring plus size fashions in New York on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2002. The legendary rock band gave a live performance throughout the runway show, which kicked off New York Fashion Week.

    AP / AP
  • Anna Nicole Smith

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    Activist

    In this handout image from PETA, Smith poses as Marliyn Monroe for a 2004 ad campaign titled, Gentlemen Prefer Fur Free Blondes. PETA's Michael McGraw said in reaction to Smith's death, "She was a great friend to animals and used every opportunity to speak out against senseless cruelty."

    PETA via AP / PETA via AP
  • NYC: Heatherette - Fall 2004 - Runway

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    Hot pink

    Smith walks the runway at the Heatherette fashion show during Olympus Fashion Week in New York on Feb. 12, 2004.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • "G-Phoria - The Award Show 4 Gamers" in Los Angeles

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    Always outrageous

    Smith feigns a "wardrobe malfunction" before announcing Rikku in "Final Fantasy X-2" as the Hottest Character award winner during "G-Phoria -- The Award Show 4 Gamers" in Los Angeles on Aug. 1, 2004.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • ANNA NICOLE

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    Strange behavior

    Smith waves during an appearance backstage during the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia on July 2, 2005. The production company behind the concerts claimed in a lawsuit against Trimspa Inc. that its reputation was damaged by Smith's attire and conduct. Smith, a spokesperson for Trimspa, was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

    AP / AP
  • SMITH STERN

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    Wowing the Supremes

    Smith and her lawyer Howard K. Stern leave the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 28, 2006. In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that Smith could continue her claim for part of her late husband's fortune.

    AP / AP
  • Anna Nicole Smith

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    Home sweet home?

    Smith holds her daughter Dannielyn Hope and poses with Stern and "Entertainment Tonight" co-host Mark Steines at the couple's home in the Bahamas on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2006. Businessman and former boyfriend G. Ben Thompson threatened to evict Smith from her Bahamas home, claiming she wasn't making the mortgage payments.

    Entertainment Tonight via AP / Entertainment Tonight via AP
  • Anna Nicole Smith watches a boxing match from the ringside at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood

    Anna Nicole Smith

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    No sign of trouble

    Smith watched a boxing match from near ringside at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2007. She died Feb. 8, 2007.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Virgie Arthur (C) mother of Anna Nichole

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    A mother mourns

    Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur, center, and her husband James Arthur, left, embrace as the coffin of Anna Nicole leaves a Bahamas church on March 2, 2007, as the former Playboy model headed to her final resting three weeks after her death. A throng of Bahamians, tourists and media crushed behind police barriers as the pink-laced white coffin was carried into the Mount Horeb Baptist Cathedral in Nassau, Bahamas, for a funeral ceremony closed to all but 300 invited guests.The church was reportedly filled with pink roses, and sources close to the funeral said Smith's body was clad in a gown and tiara.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Locals stand before the grave of Anna Ni

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    Laid to rest

    Locals stand before the grave of Smith at the Lakeview Memorial Gardens in Nassau, Bahamas, on March 2, 2007.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
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    'I told you so!'

    Larry Birkhead rejoices after hearing in a Bahamian court on April 10, 2007, that he has been proven to be the legal father of Smith's baby, Dannielynn. Birkhead later hugged Howard K. Stern, who had been acting as the baby's father.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Larry Berkhead, Dannielynn

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    Derby day with daughter

    Birkhead and Dannielynn feed a pony at the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, Ky., on Wednesday, April 28. 2010. Birkhead, a Louisville native, first met Anna Nicole at a 2004 party around the famous horse race.

    AP / AP

The TV program reported on its Web site that guitarist Slash, formerly of Guns N’ Roses, was among the guests, and country singer Joe Nichols had been expected to sing two songs requested by Smith’s boyfriend, Howard K. Stern: “I’ll Wait for You” and Dolly Parton’s “On the Wings of a Dove.”

Smith’s body was then taken to the Lakeview Memorial Gardens for a private burial with a smaller group of invited guests, said Richard Milstein, the court-appointed advocate for Smith’s 5-month-old daughter, Dannielynn. Onlookers, mostly Bahamians, spontaneously broke out into the hymn “When Peace Like a River” as the white hearse arrived.

Boos for Smith's mother
Arthur, who had been cheered earlier at the memorial, was booed as she arrived at the cemetery. The guests disappeared under a green tent covering the gravesite amid tight security. Smith was being buried in a tiara and custom-made, beaded gown, said organizer Patrik Simpson of Beverly Hills, Calif.

Smith’s grave is next to that of her 20-year-old son, Daniel, who died in September of an apparent drug overdose while visiting Smith in the hospital after she gave birth. “Entertainment Tonight” said Smith would be also buried with an urn containing some of the ashes of her late husband, Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II.

Simpson’s partner, Pol Atteu, has designed more than a dozen gowns for Smith, including the one in which she was to be buried, he said. Simpson said Wednesday the ceremony would reflect Smith’s buoyant personality.

Gazing at the ranks of TV cameras and security outside the memorial service, Christie Rathgaber, a tourist, was amazed.

“She’s got a presidential kind of media frenzy going on,” said the 59-year-old nurse from Columbus, Ohio, who happened by the scene while waiting for nearby shops to open. “I’m just incredulous at all the fuss. She was not a world figure. She was not a queen. She was not a president. She was not anything ... It’s just way over the top.”

Legal wrangling to continueThe legal wrangling that began with Smith’s unexpected death at age 39 won’t end with the funeral: There is pending legal action on the custody of Smith’s daughter, who stands to inherit a fortune, and on ownership of a Bahamas mansion Smith used to establish residency in the islands last year.

In a last-minute bid to halt the burial, Arthur sought to have Supreme Court Justice Anita Adams grant her custody of Smith’s body, but the Bahamian judge denied it, according to Lilliemae MacDonald, the justice’s secretary.

“Her soul is at rest now. I am satisfied,” said Tanisha Grant, a local restaurant owner who was friends with Smith and attended the funeral.

An official inquest into the death of Daniel Smith in the Bahamas is also pending.

Dr. Joshua Perper, the Broward medical examiner, said he will announce Anna Nicole Smith’s cause of death next week. She died on Feb. 8 in a Florida hotel room. “This was a complex case,” Perper said. “It was an unusual case from a medical point of view.”

Smith’s mother had wanted to bury her daughter in her native Texas, and fought last week’s court ruling that gave control of the body to Milstein, who agreed with Stern that the former Playboy Playmate wanted to be buried next to her son, Daniel.

Smith married Marshall in 1994 when he was 89 and she was 26. She had been fighting his family over his estimated $500 million fortune since his death in 1995.

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