I'm a big fan of unusual career paths, and we seem to have an all-time winner in this department.
That's right, the story of Anna Nicole Smith.
Let's see if bulletpoints do some of her life's highlights any justice:
* Was an unknown stripper in the Southwest who vaulted into a small level of fame when she became a Playboy Playmate of the Year.
* Appeared in the third "Naked Gun" movie with, among others, O.J. Simpson. Not sure if that was his last film, but it was close.
* Married a man of incredible wealth who, by the way, was more than 50 years older than she was.
* When said wealthy 89-year-old guy died, took a case involving the estate all the way to the Supreme Court.
* Starred in a reality show that at least a few dozen people watched, and also did a few soft-core pornographic videos.
* Had a baby a few months ago, and no one seems to know who the father is. (Old school NBA fans can insert a Shawn Kemp joke here; more recent NFL fans can use Willis McGahee for target practice.) The birth came around the time her 20-year-old son died.
If you are playing "Six Degrees of Separation" at home, Anna is the connection from O.J. Simpson to William Rehnquist.
Add all of this up, and it's a lot of incidents in 39 years of living. This puts her ahead of someone like Paris Hilton, who is well-known for no apparent reason. Smith's weight has done an impression of an accordian over the years, and she may have had some other personal addictions. So when the end came for Smith, it seemed only appropriate that it came in a hotel under odd circumstances.
It would have been easy to guess that Smith's demise would be overcovered by certain parts of the media, and it would have been right. Nancy Grace responded with her usual tactful modest coverage (BREAKING DEVELOPMENTS!). My particular favorite came when MSNBC pulled Rita Cosby back from, well, somewhere -- Had she been sent to the minor leagues? Made part of a witness protection program? Given a show on the CW? -- to anchor segments on the story.
Granted, the news machine runs 24 hours a day, and it needs constant feeding. And, no one expects people to watch hours of coverage on all-news channels about the federal budget -- that's why we have C-SPAN (among other reasons). Still, Smith seemed to have a desperate need to be famous. She seems to have succeeded more now than she did when she was alive.