Saturday, February 10, 2007

Cui Bono? 

There's an old saying in politics, organized crime and conspiracies. "Follow the Money". Now, I was a big fan of Anna Nicole Smith. I admired what she did, know people who knew her, and understood how she brilliantly turned her beauty and her "dumb blonde" act into a career, going from small town Texas WalMart girl to international superstar. But... I don't think her death is the "STOP THE PRESSES!" newsworthy event the media are making it out to be. At least, not for the reasons the media is touting because, as usual, they're missing the real story.

The real story, what is of importance here, is the elephant in the living room that has been left unmentioned in every single second of overblown coverage I've seen of the event.

It's this: Anna Nicole's was not the second unexpected death over the course of events. She was the third. And there have actually been four deaths, if you include J. Howard Marshall, Anna Nicole's 89 year-old husband. Her marriage to him was the instigating event in this entire Greek tragedy. Now, he was older than dirt when he died, so no surprise there. But -- all the other deaths? Untimely, sudden and suspicious as hell.

The forgotten third death, the elephant in the living room? E. Pierce Marshall. The son of J. Howard, he's the one who sued Anna Nichol originally in order to keep her from inheriting any of his father's estate. Now, J. Howard died on August 4, 1995 (one day shy of the 33rd anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death), and the lawsuit dragged on. It dragged on for nearly eleven years. Then, On May 1, 2006, Smith won in her appeal to the Supreme Court; rather a landmark, since that body rarely deals with probate cases. In effect, they gave the nod for her to go back to the California courts and claim her fortune.

One month and nineteen days later, on June 20, E. Pierce Marshall died suddenly, of an "aggressive infection". He was 67. He left one survivor, his widow. No children. Not to be too cynical, but an "aggressive infection" is exactly the kind of thing best administered by an accidental cut or a hidden hypodermic; a swift load of nasty bacteria that will do the majority of its work unnoticed, then present symptoms when it's too late. Look up how Jim Henson died and it's the same thing. Sudden sepsis is almost impossible for doctors to treat.

Two months and sixteen days later, on September 7, 2006, Anna Nicole gave birth to her daughter, Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern, with her attorney, Howard K. Stern, listed on the birth certificate as the father. (Incidentally, Stern was admitted to the California bar in the same year that Smith married Marshall. I haven't been able to determine when exactly Anna Nicole acquired him as counsel. But note that, if he is the father of her baby, she was fucking him at least four months before the Supreme Court victory.)

Keeping track of the money, at this point, with the death of E. Pierce, the likely heirs to Marshall's estate are E. Pierce's widow, and Anna Nicole and her children: her 20 year-old son Daniel, and her newborn daughter. However, in all likelihood, E. Pierce died intestate (who'd have time to draw up a will with all the other crap going on, and who'd expect to die suddenly at 67?), and his widow would not have the strongest claim to anything.

Then, three days after Dannielynn is born, September 10, 2006, Anna Nicole's son Daniel dies suddenly and unexpectedly, officially OD-ing on prescription medications. The second mysterious death in the series, but now the likely heirs of half if not all of J. Howard's billion dollar estate are Anna Nicole and Dannielynn, and no one else. Anna and Howard are both around when Daniel dies.

Follow the money.

Two weeks and four days later, on September 28th, Anna Nicole and Stern have a commitment ceremony on a boat in the Bahamas -- a non-binding oath taken before a Baptist minister.

And then, out of nowhere, two days shy of the five-month anniversary of her son's sudden death, Anna Nicole becomes the Marilyn Monroe of the new millennium -- leaving little Dannielynn as sole heir to her mother's share of the Marshall estate.

Half a billion dollars is a mighty incentive. As it stands, we now get to watch the battle royale between Howard K. Stern and Larry Birkhead -- both of whom claim to be Dannielynn's father. (Zsa Zsa -- or was it Eva? -- Gabor's husband briefly claimed to be the father, but that may have been a misrepresentation by the press, blowing Prinz von Anhalt's "what if, 'cause I screwed her too" into a claim he never actually made. Although one has to wonder why a married man would publicly admit to his wife that he'd been banging an international star many years her junior -- unless those silly Europeans are just sort of into that kind of thing.)

I'm not going to offer any theories here -- although I do have my own. I just thought I'd toss up the time-line and facts for anyone else interested in playing the "follow the money"/"cui bono? (who benefits?)" game.

This will not be the last act of this Greek Tragedy, of course. Anna Nicole's death was only the end of Act IV. Act V is yet to come, and it's going to get very, very messy. Expect very interesting revelations, accusations and arrests around about May, 2007. If Birkhead wins custody, put him in your death-pool. If he doesn't, then toss your chips Dannielynn's way. And re-read your Shakespeare.

In June, watch for Congress to suddenly realize that hefty inheritance taxes on ridiculous estates are actually a very, very good thing; along with one of the many players in this drama to be the most hated public figure since... ever.

But, in the meantime -- the stink of murder is heavy, and the murderer should be obvious to anyone with half a brain.

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