March 3, 2007 in Nation/World

Smith buried after lavish funeral

Ben Fox Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Howard K. Stern reacts after seeing Anna Nicole Smith’s casket pass by following her funeral service Friday.
(Full-size photo)

NASSAU, Bahamas – Her coffin covered in a pink rhinestone-studded blanket, Anna Nicole Smith was buried Friday as she lived: extravagantly dressed in a designer gown and surrounded by a small cadre of competing admirers.

The reality TV star was mourned at a lavish memorial service, but while her body was laid to rest, the fight over the former Playboy Playmate’s baby daughter – and a potential multimillion-dollar inheritance – remains very much alive. Her companion Howard K. Stern, her mother Virgie Arthur and her former boyfriend Larry Birkhead are battling for custody of 5-month-old Dannielynn.

Smith’s mahogany coffin, topped by the pink blanket with rhinestones spelling out her name, was carried into Mount Horeb Baptist Church as hundreds of tourists and fans watched from behind steel barricades guarded by police. Some in the crowd cried out “Anna! Anna! We love you!”

Inside the church, Smith’s favorite color was on display. Pink roses and flower arrangements lined the aisle and adorned the altar, where organizers placed two photos of the blonde bombshell – including one showing her in a shimmering white gown and striking a Marilyn Monroe-like pose.

There were fewer than 100 guests at the service, even though an organizer said about 300 – including an “Entertainment Tonight” camera crew – had been invited. Rock guitarist Slash, formerly of Guns N’ Roses, was among the guests, and country singer Joe Nichols performed two songs, guests said.

Arthur, Birkhead and Stern took turns eulogizing the 39-year-old Smith, who died last month in a Florida hotel.

Smith was later buried next to her 20-year-old son, Daniel, who died in September of a drug overdose while visiting Smith in the hospital after she gave birth.

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