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Anna Nicole Smith Shockingly and Unexpectedly Passes Away

Aired February 8, 2007 - 23:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, shocking breaking news; Anna Nicole Smith dead. What happened? Who was with her? And what happens now to her little baby girl. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is all over this startling developing story.
Hello, I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

BROOKE ANDERSON, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: Hi there. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood, with the shocking death of Anna Nicole Smith.

HAMMER: Now, at this hour, the story is still developing. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is all over it. Late this afternoon came the startling news that Anna Nicole Smith died at a hospital in Florida. We have extensive coverage.

Tonight we will be joined by the attorney who is right in the middle of the nasty paternity battle over her baby, and the man who investigated the mysterious death of Anna Nicole`s 20-year-old son Daniel. And a lot more as well. But first, let`s get you up to speed on this unbelievable story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At 2:49 this afternoon we were advised by hospital personnel that Anna Nicole Smith had died.

HAMMER (voice-over): Shocking and tragic news from the Seminole, Florida police chief outside the hospital where Anna Nicole Smith died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

HAMMER: This press conference coming just hours after news broke that 39-year-old Anna Nicole had collapsed in her hotel room, unconscious and unable to respond to desperate attempts by paramedics to save her life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nurse is the one who discovered her. I don`t know what condition she was in.

HAMMER: Police say Anna Nicole was visiting Florida from her temporary home in the Bahamas, and had checked into the Hard Rock Hotel in Seminole on Monday night. At 1:38 p.m. Anna Nicole`s nurse called the hospital operator. At 1:45 a body guard had entered the hotel room, and administered CPR. By 2:49, Anna was pronounced dead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this being treated as a crime?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not yet. We`re just taking all precautions right now.

HAMMER: Anna Nicole was visiting Florida, but had been living in the Bahamas with her lover and lawyer Howard K. Stern. She gave birth to her daughter, Dannielynn Hope in the Bahamas in September, just three days before the devastating loss of her son Daniel.

CYRIL WECHT, PATHOLOGIST: He died tragically, and I believe quite accidentally.

HAMMER: Pathologist Cyril Wecht said a lethal mix of Methadone and the anti-depresents Zoloft and Lexipro caused the cardiac disrythmia that led to Daniel`s premature death. Just days before her death, Anna Nicole Smith remained in seclusion in her Bahamas home, dealing with a very public paternity battle with her ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead, who claims to be Dannilynne`s father.

"Entertainment Tonight" has Anna Nicole`s very last interview, where Anna addressed Birkhead`s demand that her baby be given a DNA test to prove who was the father.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don`t you want your daughter to take a paternity test?

ANNA NICOLE SMITH, FORMER MODEL/ACTRESS: Why should I? I`m going through the court system. I`m doing what my attorney is telling me. (INAUDIBLE) I mean, it`s crazy to me that it`s even gone this far. I have my rights, and I`m going to -- just because everything (INAUDIBLE) I`m not going to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If local authorities from the Bahamas came to you and said, we feel it`s necessary for you to submit your daughter to this test, would you have a problem with that?



HAMMER: Well, the paternity dispute is just another headline in the tumultuous life of the former Playboy model. For more on that shocking story, joining me from Hollywood tonight, investigative reporter Pat Lalama. With me in New York, Court TV`s Lisa Bloom. I appreciate you both being here.

Wow, what a shocking ant unbelievable day. Pat, let me start with you, when you heard this news, what was your reaction? We were just blown away here.

PAT LALAMA, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: You know, A.J., it`s kind of a yin and a yang, I was shocked, and then I was like, I`m not surprised. Here`s the bottom line, this young woman lived tragically and, with all due respect to her and her family and everyone else, recklessly in so many ways. There weren`t good choices made. I think there was so much hope for her. I think that`s why America kind of loved her. Yes, she was this train wreck, but there was always this sort of sweetheart thing underneath.

But watching and especially covering the latest legal machinations, I was really concerned for the kinds of decisions that she was making, regarding the paternity tests and where she was living and what she was doing with Howard K. Stern. So, you know, I`m sick at heart, but I`m really not all that shocked.

HAMMER: Lisa, I know you`ve been a staunch supporter and defender of Anna Nicole in the past, but I think Pat sort of nailed one aspect of the story, that I think a lot of people will be reacting with very mixed feelings.

LISA BLOOM, COURT TV: Well, you know, I have a different take on Anna Nicole. First of all, she never got a penny, not one single penny from J. Howard Marshall ever in her life. Every dollar that she ever earned, she earned from working at legal jobs, initially stripping; then she was a Guess model; then she was a Playboy Bunny. She had a reality show. She had the TrimSpa endorsement deal.

She is like the Energizer Bunny in Hollywood. She kept on going as a single mom, supporting her son Danny, who tragically died, and then the baby. She`s a beautiful, buxom blonde. Everybody likes to put her down. She did eventually marry the billionaire, after three years of him courting her, and her saying, no. She didn`t want to marry him until she made it on her own as the Guess model. She said he was the nicest man that she had ever met. He was kind to her and her son. Ultimately she married him and she was belittled and made fun of by everyone.

I`m here to say, I always had a little bit of respect for her. Yes, she was a little off-beat. She looked like she might have had some mental problems. Maybe she was on drugs. That`s unfortunate. But she was a hard working woman in Hollywood.

HAMMER: You sort of captulize the big picture there. Let`s break down some of the specifics that we know. And Pat, one of the things that really shocked me today, when this news broke, was what the heck was she doing in Florida? Because, as we all know, she`s been holed up in the Bahamas. She was there to both avoid media scrutiny and really sort of lay low while this whole paternity battle has been going on with Larry Birkhead, who claims to be the father. Howard K. Stern, here attorney/lover, also claiming to be the father.

So what do you know about what she was actually doing at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Seminole, right outside of Hollywood, Florida?

LALAMA: All right, well, I couldn`t say I know for sure, but I`m just putting a few pieces together. She claimed to be there looking for boats with Howard. OK, you know, maybe they were. But was it not just yesterday where there was a ruling? You know, there`s been all these delays in the forced DNA test on Danny, the little baby, and the judge finally moved it to another date. and ordered -- you know, and said, it`s going to be this date. and you`re going to do this.

Also, A.J., where is this little infant? I`m a little concerned. You know, no one seems to know where the infant was. Why did she have a nurse with her. And again, with respect to Lisa, I understand what she`s saying. I still think she made a lot of reckless choices in her life, even though I have respect for the fact that she kept getting up and going, the heck with you guys for making fun of me, but there was a recklessness, and now there`s this little baby hanging in the balance, and we were asking the question, if there`s any money that was owed to the estate of Anna Nicole, will this child get it?

I mean, there`s all kinds of interesting things going on here. One last thing, A.J. If, in fact, the rumors are true that she was on Methadone, and the baby, as Larry Birkhead claims, was born as a Methadone addicted child, why was she doing Methadone? Whey did her son have Methadone in his system? Why are there allegations that she was over (INAUDIBLE) in the hospital when her son died, you did this to him? I mean, there`s just a lot of stuff that`s not coming out, that needs to be talked about without putting her down. These are just legitimate issues that we need to talk about.

HAMMER: Tremendous number of mysteries here. To the question of where is the baby, very specifically, we will be hearing from Debra Opri, the attorney for Larry Birkhead, who is the plaintiff in this paternity battle with Anna Nicole Smith, and now Howard K. Stern. The baby is in the Bahamas. We will be hearing that from Debra Opri in just a few moments.

BLOOM: That`s because if they brought the baby into the U.S., the baby would be subject to DNA tests.

HAMMER: Is that the case?

BLOOM: Yes, absolutely, so they would be keeping the baby in the Bahamas, because it`s beyond the jurisdiction of the United States to order a DNA test for the baby in the Bahamas.

HAMMER: Now Lisa, about the fact that she died -- well, there are mixed reports whether she died actually on the Indian Reservation at the Hard Rock Cafe Hotel and Casino. We are also hearing that she died in the hospital in Hollywood, Florida. If something happened there on the Indian Reservation, does that hamper the investigation? Because obviously anybody who dies at the age of 39, there`s going to be an autopsy tomorrow, and there will be an investigation.

BLOOM: Well, you raise a good point, another jurisdictional issue, like the baby in the Bahamas presents a difficult jurisdictional issue. If she died on the Indian Reservation, typically they have sovereign jurisdiction over their own territory. Now that doesn`t mean that people get to just live and die under suspicious circumstances and nothing happens. There will be investigation by those authorities on the Indian Reservation, but it would not be Florida state authorities. It would be a different set of authorities who would come and take a look at it.

HAMMER: Yet another thing to complicate a very complicated situation. And Pat, there has been speculation about Anna`s health this week. She gave her last television interview earlier this week. Anybody who saw it, knew that she didn`t look well. I mean, she is known for her spaced out antics and sort of looking loopy, but she didn`t look healthy to a lot of people. And now we are hearing that there was a private nurse with her at the Hard Rock Hotel in Seminole. This thing just gets stranger and stranger.

LALAMA: It does. And my understanding is that she also apparently had a fever last night and wasn`t feeling well when she was off looking for boats. I mean, look, this woman has clearly had a history of issues. I can remember many years back at CBS when I believe she was admitted to a hospital here in Los Angeles. We all know it. It`s not speculation. There have been problems with Anna Nicole Smith, I believe, both psychologically and perhaps with substance abuse.

HAMMER: And Pat, I`m going to have to wrap you up there, because we are out of time in this particular segment. But I want to thank you Pat Lalama and Court TV`s Lisa Bloom.

BLOOM: Thank you.

HAMMER: -- as we try to get to the bottom of this very tragic set of events.

ANDERSON: Coming up, much more on the shocking death of Anna Nicole Smith. Next, the lawyer for Larry Birkhead, the guy who has been fighting for a paternity test for Anna`s daughter Dannilynn. The stunning new steps Larry is taking tonight to get custody of the baby he insists is his daughter.

HAMMER: And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is right there at the hospital to which Anna Nicole was rushed to. Dramatic eyewitness accounts, frantic attempts to save her life, all that coming up next.

ANDERSON: And it gave Anna Nicole her big break, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the heartfelt emotional words from Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. All that and much more still to come. Stay with us.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s continuing coverage of the shocking death of Anna Nicole Smith. I`m A.J. Hammer inn New York. Let`s now recap the startling and tragic news. Anna Nicole Smith dead at the age of 39.

Here`s what we know: the actress and former Playboy playmate was found unconscious and unresponsive in her hotel room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida at about 2:00 p.m. today. One of her bodyguards performed CPR. She was rushed to the hospital and later died.

There are some reports that her lover and attorney, Howard K. Stern, was with her, along with some others. Also we are hearing her five-month old baby daughter Dannielynn is still in the Bahamas. CNN`s John Zarella spoke with an eyewitness at the hospital where Anna Nicole was brought in.


JOHN ZARELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we learned just a few moments ago, of course, from the news conference that was held over at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino, is that at about 1:45 a body guard began administering CPR, but it was a few minutes before that when a private nurse apparently discovered Anna Nicole Smith unconscious, and then notified the Hard Rock Casino immediately.

And again, at 1:45, a body guard began to administer CPR. The Seminole Indian Reservation there, they are the ones that ultimately transported her here to Hollywood Memorial Hospital. We are hearing that her family has requested that there be no comment here right now. We are trying to get a little bit more information on that. But I do have with me Carlos Garcia and Michael Gray.

And Carlos, you were one of the first to see the emergency vehicle, the paramedics arrive with Anna Nicole Smith. What did you witness?

CARLOS GARCIA, EYEWITNESS: I witnessed the ambulance come in and I was just looking at it, because I was wondering, because there was only one guy, with one camera, and he was on the phone. Only one guy taking a picture, so I really didn`t know it was her. So, after a while I went back into the waiting room, then I noticed that they said Anna Nicole Smith (INAUDIBLE). So I came back outside and that`s when I seen, but before I seen her, she wasn`t covered.

When should he came out, then he had her covered. There were security officers and everything there in the (INAUDIBLE).

ZARELLA: So at first you saw her in the back of the vehicle.

GARCIA: Right, because they opened it. They opened it. They was helping her. She was uncovered from like her. Her face wasn`t covered and they were doing, I guess, CPR or something on her chest and then they covered her as they were pulling her out.

ZARELLA: Michael, you saw about the same thing?


ZARELLA: And what time was all this?

GRAY: At 2:10.

ZARELLA: Ten minutes after two is when they arrived there?

GRAY: Yes, and then that`s when -- all you see is her inside, and then we came inside, and we were sitting in the waiting room, and we looked at the news, and we saw that she was in Damaggio (ph).

ZARELLA: So you realized at that point that it was her. And she was again, both of you saw, she was covered when they actually removed her?

GARCIA: Right.

GRAY: Yes.

ZARELLA: Thank you both very much for taking some time to join us.


ANDERSON: Our thanks to CNN`s John Zarella. Now, the shocking death of Anna Nicole has thrown the paternity case against her into turmoil. The battle for five-month old baby Dannielynn is taking on an urgent tone. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT continues to be your place to turn for this story. Tonight, Larry Birkhead`s attorney Debra Opri tells me that Larry is beside himself.


ANDERSON: Debra, despite the frustration, you and Larry Birkhead have felt recently with Anna Nicole Smith, I have to imagine that you and especially Larry are just devastated today. What is Larry telling you? How is he feeling?

DEBRA OPRI, ATTORNEY FOR LARRY BIRKHEAD: Larry is inconsolable and we have to get ahold of him now, because the paparazzi, they are surrounding his house and we are trying to get him out of there right now. All I`ll say is a very quick statement that Larry loved Anna. Our number one concern right now is the child, and we are doing everything we can to get immediate orders for the DNA testing so that Larry can take immediate custody of the child.

ANDERSON: What will happen? You`re trying to get orders --

OPRI: We are going in on emergency relief order to order that DNA testing be done from Anna and that we immediately, immediately decide or figure out who is the paternal father. In the meantime, I understand Virgy is heading out there as well, because she is the next of kin.

ANDERSON: Where is the child? Who has the child right now?

OPRI: The child, last I heard, was in the Bahamas with Jane Gibson`s mother. So, I`m very, very agitated. I think this was a tragedy. This could have been prevented, and I`m angry that the judicial system didn`t move quicker, because maybe they could have saved her life. Just maybe they could have saved her life. I`m just very upset about it.

ANDERSON: Debra, her attorney, Ron Rale, said public today that recently she has been feeling very overwhelmed, in part due to this paternity test. Has Larry expressed any sort of regret about the pressure he put on her?

OPRI: Let me respond to Ron Rale. First of all, the 300,000 dollars that Mr. Birkhead had to spend to just get a test, that should have been a 500 dollar test, it`s not Anna`s doing. It`s not anybody`s doing other than Howard K. Stern and Ron Rale, and for him to say she was overwhelmed from the paternity test, it`s ridiculous. This woman, from what I understand, had a drug issue. She was kept away from people, and Howard K. Stern, I hope, I hope he has a conscience, because if I were him, I would be sick to my stomach today.

He should be ashamed of himself for allowing Anna to get to this point in her life, where she`s dead at the age of 39. It`s disgusting and we all tried to help her, all of us, including Larry, and he`ll pay his price at one point in time. I`ve got to go now and I`ve got to take care of my client, Larry, and that child. So I`m on the way. Bye-bye.

ANDERSON: Thanks for joining us.


ANDERSON: So where does this paternity suit stand? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is your one place to turn to get the latest on this. Coming up, we will look into what will happen to Anna Nicole`s five-month old daughter, Dannielynn.

HAMMER: Anna Nicole Smith first came onto the scene as a Playboy Playmate. She was featured on four covers of "Playboy Magazine" over a nine-year period. Her first cover back in March of 1992. Just over a year later, she was back on the cover once again. She became such a big hit for Playboy, as a matter of fact, she did another spread for a third consecutive year. In 2001 Anna Nicole did her last cover for Playboy.

In a statement to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner said, quote, "I am very saddened to learn about Anna Nicole`s passing. She was a dear friend who meant a great deal to the Playboy family and to me personally. My thoughts and prayers are with her friends and loved ones during this difficult time."

ANDERSON: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has much more on Anna Nicole Smith`s shocking death. Coming up, a revealing look at the mysterious relationship between Anna Nicole and one of the guys who claims to be the father of her baby daughter, her lawyer and lover, Howard K. Stern.

HAMMER: And now what happens with the nasty battle to determine who really is Dannilynne`s father? Her ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead filing for emergency custody tonight. Will Anna`s death lead to a decision soon?

ANDERSON: And Anna Nicole the animal lover, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with a very touching look at a side of Anna Nicole you may not have known about. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s special coverage of Anna Nicole Smith`s stunning death continues. Please stay with us.


HAMMER: Tonight, the death of Anna Nicole Smith has caused shock waves across the country. Anna Nicole became a strong voice for the protection of animals. She appeared in two PETA ads. One ad showed Anna as Marilyn Monroe, as a look alike, the copy reading, "Gentlemen prefer fur-free Blondes." A second ad showed Anna with her own dogs. It reads, "For the love of dogs, boycott Iams." In a statement to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, PETA spokesperson Michael McGraw said, "We are so sad about Anna`s death. She did two ad campaigns for PETA and was a true friend of animals."

ANDERSON: Anna Nicole`s family also released a statement to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Her sister, Donna Hogan, said, "on behalf of the Hogan family, we are saddened and heart broken by my sister`s death. No matter what our differences have been over the years, Anna was still our blood and she will be missed terribly. She was a woman who was determined to get out of her small down in Texas and make a name for herself. She became an international star and she was a good mother to Daniel. There was no doubt that her son loved her. They lived out of each other`s pockets while he was alive and now they can finally be together again in heaven. We feel that the death of her son left her deeply saddened, a sadness she hid from everyone. As a mother of three children, I am anguished by this tragic event and the fact that her new baby daughter, Dannielynn Hope, is now without a mother."

HAMMER: And, of course, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has much more on Anna Nicole Smith`s shocking death. Coming up, a revealing look at the mysterious relationship between Anna Nicole and one of the guys who claims to be the father of her baby daughter, her lawyer and lover, Howard K. Stern.

ANDERSON: Also, he is one of the biggest experts in his field, the medical examiner who helped determine why Anna Nicole Smith`s son died. Dr. Cyril Wecht, what he thinks happened to Anna Nicole. We`ll talk to him coming up.

HAMMER: So now what happens with the nasty battle to determine who really is the father of Anna Nicole`s five-month-old daughter, Dannielynn. Larry Birkhead filing for emergency custody tonight. Will Anna`s death lead to a decision soon? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s continuing coverage of the shocking death of Anna Nicole Smith returns in a moment.



HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. You are watching TV`s most provocative entertainment news show.

Tonight, the death of Anna Nicole Smith sends shockwaves across the country.

HAMMER: That`s right, Brooke. The tragic news had us all shaking our heads in disbelief today. This all happened in South Florida earlier today. Anna Nicole was visiting the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino when her private nurse called 911 after 1:00 this afternoon. Anna is said to have collapsed in her hotel room. Police said an emergency medical team arrived within minutes and attempted to resuscitate Anna in the room and on the way to the hospital.

Less than an hour later though, Anna Nicole was declared dead. She was 39 years old.

I want to play for you now what the chief of police on the reservation, Charlie Tiger, told reporters earlier today, giving us more insight as to what happened.


CHIEF CHARLIE TIGER, SEMINOLE POLICE DEPARTMENT: At approximately 1:45 p.m. today, the Seminole Police Department responded to the Hollywood Hard Rock Hotel in reference to a person needing medical assistance.

The person later identified as Anna Nicole Smith was transported by paramedics and transported Hollywood - was treated by paramedics and transported to the Hollywood Memorial Hospital. At 3:49 this afternoon, we were advised by hospital personnel that Anna Nicole Smith had died.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. The cause of the death will be determined by the medical examiner - the Broward County medical examiner. And the Seminole Police Department will continue its investigation into this matter.


QUESTION: Did you respond to a room? Did you respond to a hotel room?

TIGER: The hotel room in - within the hotel.

QUESTION: Who made the call to the police, and can you please tell us what the person reported (INAUDIBLE), as specifically as you can, please.

TIGER: Well the nurse that was in her room at 1:38 called (ph) the hospital operator. And within a few minutes, the operations personnel within her hotel responded to the room.

QUESTION: Was she breathing? Had that call come in as someone who was having breathing? Or how did the call come in?

TIGER: At 1:45, all I know is that bodyguards administered CPR to her.


ANDERSON: Anna Nicole`s death comes just five months after the sudden death of her 20-year-old Daniel.

Cyril Wecht was the private medical examiner hired by Anna Nicole Smith to determine how her son, Daniel, died back in September. And Cyril Wecht is with us tonight in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Cyril, thanks for being with us.


ANDERSON: Good evening.

OK, a shocking development, stunned so many of us. You obviously knew Anna Nicole well. What did you think when you heard she died?

WECHT: Well, I was shocked. It`s a - a tragic piece of news. Any human being - and the younger more so, and somebody that you know and have had some relationship with, you obviously have more sensitivity about that tragic news.


WECHT: I - I - I think that now what will be done is, of course, to explain this sudden, unexpected death. The autopsy will be performed quite competently and thoroughly by the medical examiner`s office. Extensive toxicological studies will be performed.

If there is something of an anatomic pathological nature that is significant, it may be demonstrated tomorrow. And that could include.

ANDERSON: Yes, you.

WECHT: I`m sorry.

ANDERSON: What - what - what do you think happened, Dr. Wecht? Because, you know, first we had the mystery of Daniel`s death. Now we have this mystery. Her attorney said today publicly that she had experienced flu-like symptoms, that she was feeling woozy. She did CPR administrated today - administered today, and she was intibated (ph).

What do you think happened, from hearing all of this?

WECHT: Possibilities include the following: she could have a fulmanent (ph) viral numinitis (ph) - while this is not a common occurrence in an otherwise healthy individual to produce death, it is not rare.

ANDERSON: Yes, what is that, Dr. Wecht? What is that?

WECHT: Well, that`s - I`d say it`s a kind of pneumonia. It`s sometimes referred to as a galloping pneumonia fulmanent. It just knocks out enough of a microscopic-sized air sacks, and leads to an acute respiratory arrest, which then produces cardiac arrest. That`s one possibility.

Another possibility for a sudden, unexpected death in a young adult like Anna Nicole is a pulmonary embolism - a blood clot that comes from the leg or the pelvis. Usually that`s associated with trauma, immobilization, in elderly people who are very obese who have varicose veins. But it can happen even in younger, healthy people. That`s another possibility.

Third possibility is a classical heart attack due to the hardening of the arteries. I doubt that very much, but it could happen. I had a 34-year- old guy last week with no known cardiac history collapse while dancing. He had 95 percent occlusion of a major coronary, and he died.

And so - and then the fourth possibility, of course, will be drugs. We - we won`t know that. That`ll take a week or two for those kinds of analyses to be performed. And you can.


WECHT: .a fifth thing, a - a cardiac (INAUDIBLE) - an abnormal beating of the heart.


WECHT: .that is precipitated by drugs, not necessarily an overdose.

ANDERSON: Yes, we`re going to have to wait and - and find out when those results do come back.

Dr. Wecht, have you - were you in contact with her recently? Had you spoken with her?

WECHT: I had been in contact over the - not with Anna Nicole Smith, but I`ve been in contact periodically over these past several months since I performed the examination with Mr. Stern and with the attorneys and so on. And in fact, I was expecting to be going down to testify sometime when the inquest was scheduled to commence on or about March 15. So now, of course, that is all off.

I - I.


WECHT: .was just absolutely shocked when I heard this.

ANDERSON: As we all were.

WECHT: It`s a tragic piece of news.

ANDERSON: It`s very tragic.

Dr. Cyril Wecht, forensic pathologist, thanks again for joining us tonight.

WECHT: Thank you. Thank you.

ANDERSON: From Pittsburgh, we appreciate it.

HAMMER: Joining me tonight in New York, the senior editor of "People" magazine, J.D. Heyman.

J.D., I appreciate you being with us.

You know, here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT our newsroom erupted when the news first came in of Anna Nicole reportedly collapsing in the Florida hotel. I imagine it sent shockwaves through your place of business at "People" magazine.

J..D. HEYMAN, SENIOR EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Absolutely. I mean, I think people were stunned that this - this had happened. It was - it was sudden.

You know, I think that there was obviously always this sort of air of tragedy around Anna Nicole Smith. She had so much misfortune - larger-than- life misfortune. But it was shocking to hear this so abruptly.

We had heard early on that she wasn`t well. We had gotten some early word that something was going on. And then, of course, the news of her death was - was very sudden.

HAMMER: So you had known actually prior to the news of her collapsing she was in Florida and in ill health.

HEYMAN: Yes. We had heard that she was ill, and we had heard that was in the hospital. And then this happened.

So we had some warning that something was going on. But I think everyone was taken aback at just how quickly these events turned, and that was, you know, officially announced that - you know, she had died.

HAMMER: So much tragedy in her life, as we`ve been discussing, particularly over the last six months, since the birth of her daughter, Danilynn and - and subsequent death three days later of her son, Daniel.

But she was quite a personality, wasn`t she?

HEYMAN: Well, really, larger than life. I mean, after all, this is a person who was famous, really, for being famous. I mean, she was a beautiful woman; she wasn`t a - stick-thin model. She - she sort of took, you know, the world on and - and sort of, you know, presented herself as she was - you know, love her or hate her, here she was.

She seemed to have a good time with whatever she did. She clearly, you know, enjoyed celebrity and - and had all of these really colorful sort of theatrical episodes in her life, whether it was the lawsuits over her - over her former marriage, the situation with her child now - all kinds of things.

And then, of course, everything just taking this horrible, tragic turn. I mean, it really is cinematic. It - you couldn`t have scripted a more tragic arc.

HAMMER: And - and you highlight a - a good point. You know, famous for the sake of being famous. She really was not famous for any particular feat, whether it was in acting - certainly she gained notoriety for being on the cover of so many "Playboy" magazines.

HEYMAN: Right.

HAMMER: And - and - and also for her antics, and her reality show, which lasted for a relatively short amount of time.

HEYMAN: Look, this was a pinup star. I mean, Anna Nicole Smith was sort of a classic pinup star that we don`t really have anymore in this culture. She was famous, really, for being on posters, and, you know, for these sort of things that trickled out through her life. You know, she did reality TV. She - you know, she had her famous battles with all the kinds of things that she dealt with in a very public way.

And she was sort of a polarizing figure. But she was always in the news, and she was always a person of interest.

HAMMER: And things really began to spiral, understandably - spiraled downward for her after the birth of Danilynn, and then three days later, her son, Daniel - not just her son, but her confidant, one of her best friends in her life.

HEYMAN: Absolutely.

HAMMER: .died tragically at the age of 20 in her hospital room.

HEYMAN: You couldn`t have written this.

I mean, there was the birth of this child; there was the death of the son. There was all of these questions around the paternity of the child. There was, you know, the marriage on the boat - the so-called marriage to Howard K. Stern. All of these things happening in quick succession, that really were, you know, larger than life, as she was.

HEYMAN: You guys extensively covered her relationship with Howard K. Stern. What can you tell us about that relationship and the reality? Because a lot of people have speculated that he has been masterminding her entire life and - and really behind this paternity battle - fight.

HEYMAN: Well, certainly, people who - who were not happy with the custody situation as it was sort of painted him as a Svengali kind of figure: somebody who had control over her.

The truth - the reality of that situation, I think, is a little bit more complicated. What we do know is that they were dependent on one another in a very, you know, profound way. She needed him; that was clear on the reality television show. They were uniquely bonded. Those people who attended their - their wedding ceremony in the Bahamas, this sort of pledging-their-souls-if-not-signing-a-legal-document ceremony say that they were quite devoted to one another.

You know, the reality is very complex. And certainly, I assume that Howard K. Stern will continue to vigorously defend, you know, her - her interests in terms of the paternity of Dannielynn - you know, even after her death.

HAMMER: "People" magazine`s J.D. Heyman, I appreciate your insight. You guys certainly have been covering this story as much and as hard was we have. I - I appreciate you being here.

HEYMAN: Thanks a lot.

HAMMER: Anna Nicole Smith also made headlines for her dramatic weight loss. She was, of course, the face of TrimSpa and diet products.

Coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TrimSpa`s emotional reaction to the passing of their most famous spokesperson.

ANDERSON: Also ahead, what happens to the controversial paternity battle involving Anna`s baby daughter? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT goes directly to legal experts for the answers.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s continuing coverage of Anna Nicole Smith`s shocking death. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

The question of who is the father of Anna Nicole Smith`s five-month- old daughter Danilynn is now more crucial than ever before. Anna listed the current - her - the current father as her partner and lawyer Howard K. Stern on the birth certificate. His name`s right there.

But ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead has held all along that he`s the baby`s father. And, of course, he`s been fighting to get a paternity test taken.

Joining me in New York, celebrity Nancy Chemtob.

Nancy, I appreciate you being here.


HAMMER: Just a wild turn of events.

Larry Birkhead`s lawyer Deborah Opry told us, here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, that a paternity test was ordered yesterday by a Los Angeles court. We cannot get the confirmation from the court either way.

What`s the story with that now? Where does that stand, and what are the chances that Danilynn will now still be submitted for a paternity test?

CHEMTOB: Well, everything absolutely has risen to a crisis level. It`s more important who the father is, because if by any chance Howard Stern`s not the father, then this child`s not with a parent at all, or being directed by any parental supervision.

The DNA test has to be moved up.

HAMMER: And - and what is the status of - of whether or not that will actually happen? Do you - do you see this moving forward.

CHEMTOB: Absolutely.


HAMMER: .and with - with certainty.


HAMMER: So if it - if it comes out that Larry Birkhead is the father, as I just mentioned, Howard K. Stern listed as the father as the birth certificate, will he have any parental rights at all?

CHEMTOB: He`ll have absolutely no parental rights. He`ll be out of the picture. He won`t even be able to get access to the child.

HAMMER: So what about Anna`s money? Because the - the big question has been, will whoever is the father of - of Danilynn be entitled to the money? Of course, into question, the - the chance that Anna stood to still win this judgment for somewhere in the neighbor of $400 million. You know, she was suing the estate of - of J. Howard Marshall, her husband, who died back in 1995. A very extraordinarily wealthy man, and she`s been fighting to get a hold of that money.

So will the father of Danilynn be entitled to that, should that judgment move forward in favor of Anna`s estate at this point?

CHEMTOB: Well, the father of the child definitely can go forward. And the U.S. Supreme Court is now allowing them to go forward on this issue.

The father will be the one who can argue on behalf of the child. So this is a huge windfall for whomever the father is. And the one thing that I think is the most suspect thing in this case, is why not allow the paternity test from the beginning?

So the question really comes to be, is Larry the father? Is Howard the father? And that`s something I think that everybody is waiting to hear.

HAMMER: So until that paternity test can actually be effected, what happens now with this young child? She - she`s five months old for goodness sake. And - and from what we hear, she`s down in the Bahamas.

CHEMTOB: She`s in the Bahamas. The law says that whoever`s listed on the birth certificate is the parent. So everything points to Howard being the father. So he`s going to dictate until otherwise told by the court of child protective services that he is the one who is going to be taking care of the child, to saying who`s watching the child.

HAMMER: Let me throw out a big what-if. What if this paternity test takes place and determines Howard K. Stern is not the father; neither is Larry Birkhead.

CHEMTOB: Then I`m sure I`ll be back here.

HAMMER: I`m sure you will. But - but in that case, it`s - it`s anyone`s guess.

CHEMTOB: It is anyone`s guess. And then child protective services or her will or estate would dictate. Because I`m sure that this - that she had a will that left her daughter to one of her relatives.

HAMMER: And thanks for your insight on this.

CHEMTOB: Thank you.

HAMMER: I`m sure we`ll be speaking to you again about this. Nancy Chemtob, I appreciate you being here.


ANDERSON: All right. Now in some other news, Jessica Biel has replaced Lindsay Lohan in a big upcoming movie. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has confirmed that the decision to leave the project, "A Woman of No Importance," came from Lohan`s camp. Lindsay`s people say she wants to focus on getting better; she checked into rehab last month.

The movie, adapted from Oscar Wilde`s play, is tentatively scheduled to come out in 2008.

HAMMER: Also tonight, Eddie Murphy under fir. Murphy just won a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award. And now, he`s actually considered a frontrunner for the Oscar for his supporting role in the movie "Dreamgirls."

But now, it`s his new film "Norbit" that is causing a bit of an uproar. In this film, Murphy plays several characters, including an overweight black woman. It`s branded as a comedy - but, you know, some critics are not laughing. They`re saying that this film only reinforces demeaning stereotypes about black woman.

Here is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Sibila Vargas.


JENICE ARMSTRONG, "PHILADELPHIA NEWS COLUMNIST COLUMNIST": Frankly, I`m perplexed as well as horrified.

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jenice Armstrong is mad as hell. The object of her outrage? Eddie Murphy`s upcoming movie "Norbit."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me, ma`am? We have a 300-pound weight list.

EDDIE MURPHY, ACTOR: I don`t weigh no damn 300 pounds. I weight 175 (INAUDIBLE).

ARMSTRONG: Think about who this movie is making fun of. It`s black women - fat, black women.

VARGAS: In the comedy, Murphy plays several characters, including an overweight, overbearing woman who makes Norbit, also played by Murphy, the target of her affection.

MURPHY: What am I going to do?

VARGAS: The movie`s billboard even features Norbit being squished by a larger-than-life character with these words above their heads: "Have you ever made a really big mistake?"

Some might find it funny, but Armstrong, a columnist for "The Philadelphia Daily News," isn`t laughing. She says it`s a stereotype perpetuated for far too long.

ARMSTRONG: It kind of goes back to the 19th century minstrel shows, where people used to dress up in blackface, and the black woman was always overweight, usually with her head - her hair tied up in a rag. She was sassy, and emasculating the black man.

Old, old image that we`ve had with us for - you know, it goes back to slavery time. You know, "Gone With the Wind," Mammy.

VARGAS (on camera): "Norbit" isn`t the only flick that uses plus- sized, outspoken black women as punchlines. Two other prominent African- Americans have made millions playing these types of characters.

(voice-over): Martin Lawrence, who donned a fat suit in "Big Momma`s House" and "Big Momma`s House 2" ..

MARTIN LAWRENCE, ACTOR: Damn, man. Put on some draws.

VARGAS: .and Tyler Perry as the fast-talking and elderly Media in "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" and "Media`s Family Reunion."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut up, old lady!

VARGAS: But Perry says it`s mort about appreciation than condemnation.

TYLER PERRY, COMEDIAN: I think it`s - it`s been the biggest form of absolute flattery to imitate our women. My mother was a big woman, and one of - her mother was a big woman. And - and all we`re doing is mimicking what we`ve seen and what we know to be - that was so hilarious in our household.

VARGAS: Perry says these characters are just a reflection of some people in the black community that he feels he shouldn`t have to apologize for.

PERRY: I know a couple of women who are taller than I am, and who are heavier than I am. What is the big deal? Relax, people. It`s not that big a deal. I mean, we are just having fun with what we know to be our lives, period.

MURPHY: Mary Mother of God.


HAMMER: A veteran Oscar told "The L.A. Times" that "Norbit" could actually hurt Eddie Murphy`s Oscar chances. That`s because Oscar ballots are due at the end of the month; "Norbit" opens tomorrow.

ANDERSON: Still ahead on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the shocking death of Anna Nicole Smith. The emotional reaction continues to pour in. We`re going to have more on the tragic story, when SHOWBIZ TONIGHT continues in just a moment.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s special coverage of the shocking death of Anna Nicole Smith. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

All day long, we`ve been hearing from celebrities, friends, family and people who worked with Anna Nicole Smith. And one of her most famous jobs, of course, spokesperson for TrimSpa weight-loss products.

Now despite some recent controversy over the pills, Anna claimed that they helped her turn her life around, losing a lot of weight in the process.

Here`s what TrimSpa CEO Alex Goen told us: "Anna came to our company as a customer, but she departs it as a friend. Anna knew both the job of giving life and the heartache of losing a child. We pray that she is granted the peace that eluded her more recent days on Earth, and that she finds comfort in the presence of her son Daniel."

ANDERSON: Now more emotional words from people all over the globe, the many people in Anna Nicole Smith`s life. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has been reaching out to them.

Her Bahamian lawyer, who has been handling the aftermath of her son Daniel`s mysterious death just days after her daughter was born in September, sent us this statement late today. He says, "From my professional exposure to Anna Nicole, I can say she was always personable, down to earth and driven. All in all, a joy to have as a client."

You know, A.J., no matter what people though of Anna Nicole, how she lived her life, the choices that she made, she was a devoted mother who loved her son Daniel, her - her baby girl, Danilynn, and a - a highly motivated and driven individual.

HAMMER: Here was a woman, Brooke, who certainly did live out loud. And we certainly had a lot of fun with Anna Nicole over the years. Particularly in the last year, she started communicating with her fans through her Web site. And - and I`ll never forget some of the video blogs that she was posted, and - and in fact revealing to everybody on her Web site that she was pregnant. Who could have possibly thought it would have led to the tragic events of September, after the - the death of her son, Daniel?

ANDERSON: You know, I`m going to miss Anna Nicole. She had such a good sense of humor, didn`t she, A.J.? Always - always able to laugh at - at herself and her choices. And, you know, it`s such a sad, tragic end to her life, which was very challenging for her in many, many ways.

HAMMER: Tragic. Tragic indeed.

And, of course, tomorrow night on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, we`ll have much more on our continuing coverage of the shocking death of Anna Nicole Smith. The autopsy scheduled for tomorrow morning; we`ll have the very latest details.

And, of course, now the paternity battle. What happens to her baby? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates tomorrow.

And that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Thank you so much for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: Have a good night, everyone. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

"GLENN BECK" is next, right after the latest headlines from CNN Headline News. Take care, everyone.


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