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Wednesday, February 08, 2017

February 8, 2007

Wayback Wednesday is here once again, and for today's chosen subject, we're going to look at a woman who divided quite a few people.  Some thought she was a victim, others thought she was a vixen, and some just didn't care one iota about her.  Unfortunately, her story does not have a happy ending, and we'll talk more about that as we go ahead.

For now, let's see what events took place on this day in history...

1587 - Mary, Queen of Scots, is executed on suspicion of being involved in a murder plot to kill her own cousin, Queen Elizabeth I

1837 - Richard Johnson becomes the first Vice President of the United States of America

1865 - Delaware refuses to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and holds onto that position until 1901

1879 - Sandford Fleming proposes the adoption of Universal Standard Time at a meeting of the Royal Canadian Institute

1885 - The first government approved Japanese immigrants arrive in Hawaii

1910 - William D. Boyce incorporates the Boy Scouts of America

1915 - "The Birth of a Nation" premieres in Los Angeles

1921 - Actress Lana Turner (d. 1995) is born in Wallace, Idaho

1922 - Actress Audrey Meadows (d. 1996) is born in New York City

1925 - Actor Jack Lemmon (d. 2001) is born in Newton, Massachusetts

1931 - Actor James Dean (d. 1955) is born in Marion, Indiana

1937 - "Sesame Street" composer Joe Raposo (d. 1989) is born in Fall River, Massachusetts

1948 - Singer Dan Seals (d. 2009) is born in McCamey, Texas

1952 - Elizabeth II is proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom

1963 - As a direct result of the Cuban Missile Crisis, travel, financial, and commercial transactions from the United States to Cuba are made illegal by President Kennedy's administration

1968 - The Orangeburg massacre takes place, sparking outrage within the Civil Rights Movement; also on this date actor Gary Coleman (d. 2010) is born

1971 - The NASDAQ opens for the first time

1974 - Mixed martial artist Kimbo Slice (d. 2016) is born in Nassau, Bahamas

1981 - Twenty-one spectators are trampled to death after a football match in Neo Faliro, Greece

1983 - A massive dust cloud descends over the city of Melbourne, Australia, which blackens the sky and keeps residents indoors

1986 - A train collision in Hinton, Alberta kills 23 people and is Canada's largest train accident until the 2013 Lac-Megantic derailment

1990 - Singer Del Shannon passes away at the age of 55

1993 - News magazine program "Dateline NBC" is sued by General Motors, claiming that the show allegedly rigged two of its cars to crash to demonstrate that the trucks that GM manufactures are unsafe

2013 - A severe blizzard descends over parts of the Northeastern United States and parts of Canada causing power outages and traffic disruption

And now for the celebrity birthday portion of the blog, as these celebs are turning one year older.  Happy birthday to John Williams, Ted Koppel, Nick Nolte, Robert Klein, Brooke Adams, Cristina Ferrare, Mary Steenburgen, John Grisham, Jim Neidhart, Marques Johnson, Dave Meros, Heinz Gunthardt, Dino Ciccarelli, Vince Neil, Joshua Kadison, Trinny Woodall, Sarah Montague, Mary McCormack, Alonzo Mourning, Seth Green, Jim Verraros, Cecily Strong, and Nikki Yanofsky.

Okay.  It's time to see what date we're revisiting this time around.

Ah, February 8, 2007.  Exactly ten years ago today.  I know it doesn't seem like that much of a time jump, but at least I can tell you where I was when this news broke out.  After all, I was 25.  I can remember things from when I was four!

Let's see...I was 25, I was working in the food department at my job (not much of a stretch given that I currently work with fruits and vegetables), and I had finally managed to get basic cable hooked up at my place for the first time in seven years because that was the year that I earned full-time status and could afford to do so.  So, 2007 was definitely a great year for me - at least financially speaking.

Alas, it wasn't quite so lucky for our Wayback Wednesday subject.  2007 was actually the last year that she was alive.  It was ten years ago that she died from an overdose of prescription drugs, and her death was the subject of much media scrutiny for many years.  I remember that "Entertainment Tonight" talked about this story for nearly a year after her death - which nearly made me regret my basic cable subscription and made me avoid the program ever since - and it was such a media circus that it was impossible for the recently deceased to truly rest in peace.

Now, mind you, her life seemed to be one scandal right after another, so I can see why her death was covered so extensively.  At the same time, we have to realize that Anna Nicole Smith was only human just like the rest of us, and while she may have taken the criticism directed towards her in stride, her family members that she left behind did nothing to deserve it.

I think I still remember the first time I saw Anna Nicole Smith.  Back in the early 1990s, I recall getting really interested in popular music, and I would have my eyes glued to Muchmusic to watch the latest music videos.  The commercials that the station aired were naturally aimed at pre-teens, teenagers, and young adults, and one such ad was for Guess Jeans.

Anna Nicole Smith was a Guess model for a couple of years, and I distinctly remember seeing her commercial in between videos by the Stone Temple Pilots and Sheryl Crow.

And of course, her modeling work didn't just stop at Guess Jeans.  She also landed several magazine covers and spreads in such publications as Marie Claire, Italian Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Harper's Bazaar.  And yes, she did pose for Playboy Magazine as well - but this was months before she landed the contract for Guess Jeans.  It seemed as though Anna Nicole was the new "It-Girl" for the 1990s.

But it was right around this time that Anna Nicole started making headlines for all the wrong reasons.  It certainly got tongues wagging when Anna Nicole divorced her first husband in 1993 (with whom she had a son, Daniel), to marry an 89-year-old oil tycoon named J. Howard Marshall.  Many people speculated that Anna Nicole was a gold digger and married Marshall only for his money.  But Anna Nicole defended her love for Marshall and said that her feelings were genuine.  The marriage ended in 1995 with the passing of Marshall at the age of 90, and thus began the lengthy court battle between widow Smith and Marshall's family over who would inherit Marshall's massive fortune - a case that to my knowledge is still active in some manner.

Anna Nicole tried to overcome her financial woes by pursuing an acting career, and one of her first movie roles was in the film "The Naked Gun 33 1/3 - The Final Insult"...but as the acting roles dried up, Anna Nicole turned to the increasing popularity of reality television to create her own reality series.

To everyone's surprise (including me), "The Anna Nicole Show" was initially very popular, with college students becoming instant fans.  It is still considered to be something of a cult favourite in the reality television world.  However, I must state that I wasn't a real fan.  To me, it just seemed to exploit the pain of an already damaged woman, and even though some may argue that she brought it on herself, I still feel that it was very uncomfortable to watch someone who had obviously hit rock bottom.  I suppose it was almost merciful that the show only lasted two seasons before the plug was pulled in June 2003.

Then came the birth of Anna Nicole's daughter, Dannielynn in September 2006...and while it was a considerably happy moment for her, it was overshadowed by the sudden death of her 20-year-old son, Daniel just three days later.  The cause of death was a prescription drug overdose...something that Anna Nicole would understand all too well just a few months later...

...for you see, on February 8, 2007 - Anna Nicole herself died from an overdose of pills.  She was just 39 years of age.

And that's when media outlets such as "Entertainment Tonight" and "TMZ" descended on the story and reported every last detail about it.  It was like the O.J. Simpson trial all over again the way that they went about it.  I can't begin to tell you how much I wanted to throttle Mark Steines and Kevin Frazier every time the came on the air and rehashed Anna Nicole's death and who the father of baby Dannielynn was.

(It's Larry Birkhead, if you are at all curious.)

I mean, sometimes I think it was ALMOST a good thing that the Kardashians came around because if not, I think the media would have continued their unhealthy obsession with her!

Some will say that karma came back to haunt her, and some will say that she did it all to herself.  To be honest, I do think that she ultimately was the one responsible for her own trainwreck...however, we have to also understand why she boarded that train in the first place.  And now that everything is out there in the open, I sort of feel a little bit of pity for her.  All she really wanted was to find her own place in the world, and I don't know if she ever really found it.  I just sort of hope that ten years after her passing, she found the peace that she was trying to find.

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