††††††††††† ANNA NICOLE-SMITH.


††††††††††† Any death is a tragedy, that of Anna Nicole-Smith is no exception, but the level of hysteria surrounding her unexpected and premature departure from the mortal coil is astonishing. Anna was a nightclub stripper who became a Playboy centrefold, and a glamour model, dancer, and an actress in the Pamela Anderson tradition. She had secured a name for herself, and deservedly so within her field of work. She was not particularly gifted however. Her death seems to have created a blaze of comparisons to Marilyn Monroe. In fact, Jane Mansfield would be a better comparison, glamorous, sexy in looks and attitude and generally nothing like as talented as she claimed to be.

††††††††††† Anna Nicole-Smith married a very elderly oil baron, J. Marshall Smith, a man over sixty years older than herself, and worth several millions. Cynics understandably regarded her as a gold (or oil) digger, especially as she didnít seem to even share house with her husband. Upon his death she was drawn into fierce financial battles with his sons over custody of his considerable assets. The media made much publicity of her own considerable assets throughout.

††††††††††† She went on to appear in several movies, including the excellent Coen Brothers film, The Hudsucker Proxy. However, the film called on her to be little more than the beautiful woman and her role was hardly exceptional. Her own starring vehicle, Skyscraper, which she helped finance, featured her (naturally) as a heroine fighting terrorists in a high-rise building was highly derivative of Bruce Willisís Die Hard, and flopped spectacularly with critics laughing all the way to the drain.

††††††††††† Her next venture was The Anna Nicole Show, a reality fly on the wall documentary of her eccentric life, created as enterprising, unoriginal cash in on the success of The Osbournes.Her appearance drunk, or on drugs or both at a US Music industry awards ceremony (where she was to present an award to one of the winners) provoked a great deal of comment and her OTT performance was much imitated for cheap laughs by other celebrities for some time to come.

††††††††††† The death of the actress, aged forty, in a hotel room, after complaints of having a very high temperature, have fuelled strong speculation of her death being drug related. On the whole, it is merely the death of a minor celebrity who gained more media attention from failure and excess than from her talents. The level of hype and media publicity, and the number of web ages, blogs and chat room discussions about her have elevated her to extra-ordinary status. Her death instantly gave her the iconic status she coveted all of her life. There is much hysteria here, on a scale comparable to that following the Death of Diane, Princess Of Wales. Undoubtedly, the fuss will die down as a new sensational story demands media attention, but for now, there is a great deal of publicity given to a woman who tried to live life to the max and died which is undoubtedly a tragedy.


Arthur Chappell