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She rarely indulged in sweets, but made them by the dozen for family, friends, and colleagues. Those who knew her best say maintaining appearances was key to her many achievements. Because Texas law required married women to receive permission from their husbands for every ature, lawsuit, and bank check, Raggio counted herself among the lawyers, businesswomen, and other female professionals who practiced illegally for much of their careers.
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The romance of Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall II served as the perfect summer replacement series for the O. Simpson courtroom drama and held its own against the tragicomedy that was the Lisa Marie Presley-Michael Jackson nuptials. Since the story was something of an archetypal bombshell, it was natural that Houston, where both protagonists maintained homes, became ground zero in the fight for information.
Pat Walker, the owner of the White Dove Wedding Chapel, where the wedding took place, received calls from reporters as far away as Germany and as early as four-thirty in the morning. This tale had something for everyone: sex and money, grit, gumption, and greed, and love in its most complicated, convoluted, and confounding forms.
But it was also, at its heart, a Houston story—in its gleeful tawdriness, its inspired profligacy, and its passion for self-creation. If you longed fro the old Houston, if you wanted to prove the place had changed little in spit of booms, busts, and wave upon wave of tidy suburbanites, the love story of Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall made the case. It was Saturday, June They wore tired jeans and exhausted T-shirts, but right way they started ordering the best of everything—flowers, cake, you name it—and they wanted it in a hurry.
Monday the twenty-seventh at two-thirty would be the soonest any wedding could take place. On the appointed day, at the appointed time, a very tall, very pretty bride arrived with her blond hair in curlers. A relative immediately began imploring Walker to please, please not call any reporters. But I wanted to get my own career started first.
Sinun tietosi. sinun kokemuksesi.
Have my own money. While the bride dressed, her little son and nephew, who were serving as ring bearers, killed time by tossing their satin pillows into the air—competing to see who could throw his higher. Walking out of the chapel into the sunlight, Anna Nicole turned to a cage containing two white doves. It was the specialty that gave the White Dove its name.
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Together, the bride and groom let the birds go, watching them fly to the freedom that lay just beyond the pines. After a brief reception in a small room adjacent to the chapel, Anna Nicole would do the same: In a disguise consisting of a wig, floppy hat, sandals, and a tight yellow suit, she made for the exit, saying she had a photo shoot in Greece.
The groom wept. At that moment, Pat Walker stopped wondering and started understanding. It is the story that she has carefully shaped and endlessly repeated to journalist after journalist, and the thenyear-old narrates the film like a joyous teenager, tossing her blond hair and dipping her astounding chest, her soft voice carrying the hint of a giggle, her smile rapturous.
We see the treeless plains south of Dallas, the appropriately folksy townspeople, the fabled chicken shack where she met her first husband, Billy Smith, at age sixteen. There is scant mention in the video that young Anna Nicole was shuttled between the homes of her mother and her aunt—and no mention that she began life as Vickie Lynn Hogan—but much is made of a gently orchestrated reunion between Anna Nicole and the father who abandoned her as.
Sitting astride a horse in a pasture, she waves her arms beyond grazing cattle toward a hulking brick mansion in the distance. Howard Marshall; that would change the story, complicate the picture.
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And Anna Nicole smith seems to know absolutely that American men want their sex symbols as pure and simple as the Texas prairie. Indeed, her fans seemed more than willing to accept the fable Anna Nicole fashioned for herself the one that cast her as the prototypical innocent, the Wal-Mart cashier, the Red Lobster waitress, the woman whose merely average breasts grew to a DD cup in a miraculous blossoming after her pregnancy.
She liked to tell reporters that she had quaked before the lens of the centerfold photographer. The truth is a somewhat seamier but far more credible story that reveals an asset Anna Nicole Smith is not widely known for: shrewdness. She was also hetrong and hungry; the young girl who had grown up with every kind of deprivation—physical, emotional, financial—had big but unrefined dreams.
After dropping out of high school and moving to Houston with her six-month-old baby inVickie Smith must have seen quickly that waiting tables at the Red Lobster in Humble was not going to cover her bills. And so, inshe took the path of so many pretty girls with no education but plenty of drive.
The Executive Suite was then the most upscale topless club on the north side, one of those dimly lit, semi-plush places that create the aura of catering to businessmen, offering a limo to and from Houston Intercontinental Airport and various nearby hotels. The manager, a taciturn man with sleepy blue eyes named Terry Allen, sized up nineteen-year-old Vickie Smith and offered her a job.
A photographer who did some work for the club at the time recalls cruising the place for girls to photograph for the brochure. In the corner he spied a shy, delicate blond with a heart-shaped face.
A year or so later, the photographer bumped into her again. She was into the program; she was there for dollars and cents. Even so, she eventually found a way to improve her figure; Allen, among others, recalls at least two operations. On one visit to Mexia, she wowed her friend Jo Lynn. Her body was perfect.
She had filled out. Her good-girl looks made her a natural for club —she posed in fake furs and rhinestones or lounging across a Porsche. But real upward mobility was tougher. That rejection may have been the luckiest break of her life, because one day ina frail, ancient man was sitting in the lunchtime audience. By no stretch of the imagination does J. Howard Marshall II fit that bill. In fact, he began life closer to the reverse stereotype, the Yankee aristocrat. Young Howard put himself through Haverford, a Quaker school known for academic excellence, and went on to the Yale School of Law, where he rose to the top of his class.
He contracted typhoid fever when he was twelve. The doctors said I would never walk again. I staggered, stumbled, and fell—but the more I used my hip, the less it hurt. Though he would always walk with a limp, Marshall grew up supremely confident, essentially fearless, as fierce at soccer and tennis as he was in debate.
He would evolve into a tiny, not unhandsome man with huge ears, a man with a booming voice when angry and with the wicked wit that short men sometimes develop. He was influential and rich enough, and he loved beautiful women and practical jokes. In other words, fate made Howard Marshall wild enough and tough enough for the oil patch. He landed there, in the Oklahoma fields, in while researching an article for the Yale Law Journal. It was the beginning of the great East Texas boom. In his work Marshall stormed refineries, dodged bullets, and made the kinds of contacts, including the vastly rich geologist Everette DeGolyer, that facilitate later fortunes.
Like many classic oilmen, he would become an expert at turning rules to his advantage. In he moved on to executive positions, helping Ashland Oil emerge from independent status to become a major company and, later, greatly expanding the properties and profits of al Oil and Gas. At al in California, in the fifties, he learned to take an ownership stake rather than a salary increase for his expertise in dealmaking, ificantly adding to his wealth. He was lured to Houston in to work on the various mergers that would create Allied Chemical.
Koch, an old friend from his Washington days, had invented a highly efficient gasoline-refining process and owned what would become Koch Industries, the largest privately held energy firm in the country. But the deal was not without its price.
His elder son and namesake, J. Howard Marshall III, who owned the stock with him, sided against his father.
Howard Marshall was not one to let sentiment get in his way. Or so it appeared. But he had no one to enjoy his success with. His relations with his younger son, Pierce, were testy at best. He had envisioned a happy future with his second wife, Bettye Bohanon, whom he had married in He was alone. Then, as Marshall would explain in connection with a lawsuit filed inlove came back into his life after what you might call a hard day in the oil patch. It was a strip t—or as the boys call it now—a titty bar.
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And I walked in and Lady was there. She was one of the strippers. Her real name was Dianne Walker—Jewel Dianne Walker—though most of her friends called her by her childhood nickname, Lady. She, too, was going through a particularly hard time.
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