A US Supreme Court justice today denied a motion by Anna Nicole Smith’s mother, Virgie Arthur, to halt the burial of the former Playboy Playmate and take her body to Texas, according to reports tonight.
Justice Anita Allen denied the motion filed by Arthur‘s lawyer Deborah Rose, a radio report in the US said.
It was the latest attempt by Arthur, who had been estranged from her daughter, to halt the burial of Smith alongside the reality TV star’s son, 20-year-old Daniel Smith, who died in the Bahamas in September.
Meanwhile in the Bahamas, pallbearers carried Anna Nicole Smith’s remains in a mahogany coffin covered by a rhinestone-studded pink blanket into a church for the funeral.
Hundreds of islanders and tourists crowded behind steel barricades guarded by police as the coffin was borne down a red carpet, lowered onto a cart and wheeled into the white-columned Mount Horeb Baptist Church. Onlookers cried out “Anna! Anna!”
Inside, the pews were festooned with pink roses. The coffin was closed during the service and a painting of Smith decorated the altar, said Yvonne Gibson, one of the guests.
“Today we share our grief with all of you,” said Richard Milstein, the court-appointed advocate for Smith’s baby daughter, Dannielynn, who called for “respect and solemnity” from the media horde and others outside. “Today we come to you to carry out the final, most sacred, solemn act provided to any individual.”
Before the coffin arrived, Smith’s mother, Virgie Arthur, arrived in a white stretch limousine with an entourage of about 10. There appeared to be fewer than 100 guests overall, even though an organiser said about 300 had been invited to the private ceremony.
Gazing at the ranks of TV cameras and police dressed in white-belted tunics with blue trousers, some tourists were amazed at all the security and media.
“She’s got a presidential kind of media frenzy going on,” said Christie Rathgaber, a 59-year-old nurse from Columbus, Ohio who happened by the scene while waiting for nearby shops to open. “I’m just incredulous at all the fuss. She was not a world figure. She was not a queen. She was not a president. She was not anything … It’s just way over the top.”
The legal wrangling that began with Smith’s unexpected death at age 39 won’t end with the funeral: There is pending legal action on the custody of Smith’s five-month-old daughter, who stands to inherit a fortune, and on ownership of a Bahamas mansion Smith used to establish residency in the islands last year.
An official inquest into the mysterious death last September of Smith’s 20-year-old son, Daniel, in the Bahamas is also pending. Smith’s mother will likely try to get the body out of the Bahamas, said her lawyer, Tom Pirtle without elaborating.
The private plane bearing her body left Florida after authorities escorted a black hearse to Miami International Airport, with news helicopters tracking the procession from the medical examiner’s office in Fort Lauderdale.
The church ceremony was closed to all but 300 guests and camera crews from Entertainment Tonight. A smaller group was planned for the burial later at Lakeview Memorial Gardens, Milstein said.
Dr Joshua Perper, the Broward medical examiner, said he will announce Smith’s cause of death next week. She died on February 8 in a Florida hotel room.
“This was a complex case,” Perper said. “It was an unusual case from a medical point of view.”
Smith will be buried in a tiara and custom-made, beaded gown next to her son, said Patrik Simpson of Beverly Hills, California, who helped organise the memorial.
“It will be a very beautiful, Anna Nicole send-off,” Simpson said. “Of course it will be over the top because it’s Anna Nicole.”
Arthur, boyfriend Howard K. Stern and ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead were each allowed to have 100 guests at memorial service, he said, and about 30 people are on the guest list for the burial.
Arthur had wanted to bury Smith in her native Texas, and fought last week’s ruling from Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin that gave control of the body to Milstein, who agreed with Stern that the former Playboy Playmate wanted to be buried next to Daniel, who died of apparent drug-related causes last year.
Smith married Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II in 1994 when he was 89 and she was 26. The reality TV star and Playboy Playmate had been fighting his family over his estimated $500m fortune since his death in 1995.