Who was Daniel Wayne Smith?
Daniel Wayne Smith was an actor and the son of the American model and actress Anna Nicole. He appeared as himself in the popular television series, ‘The Anna Nicole Show.’ Since his mother Anna Nicole was a famous actress and model, Daniel started hogging the limelight right from his childhood. After making his television debut in his mother’s reality series, Daniel went on to appear in a couple of Hollywood flicks like ‘To the Limit’ and ‘Skyscraper.’ Unfortunately, Daniel Wayne Smith died at the age of 20, when he had gone to visit his mother at ‘Doctor's Hospital’ in Nassau, Bahamas. An investigation and inquest ensued and it was later announced that Daniel died due to drug overdose. Nevertheless, confusion over his death failed to die down, which led to an independent autopsy. On October 19, 2006, Daniel was buried at New Providence, Bahamas.
Childhood & Early Life
Daniel was born on January 22, 1986, in Mexia, Texas, United States of America. His parents, Anna Nicole Smith, and Billy Wayne Smith, separated just a year after his birth. Hence he was raised by his mother and his grandmother.
He had a troubled childhood because of his parents’ separation. The constant transposition of schools did not help his cause either. Famous American businessman and attorney J. Howard Marshall became his stepfather when his mother married Marshall in 1994 after meeting him at a strip club.
Daniel attended the ‘Los Angeles Valley College’ (LAVC) in Los Angeles, California. His mother once told the tabloids that he was an honor student and that he was brilliant when it came to academics. He was also described as ‘shy and sweet’ by many of his mother’s colleagues and friends.
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Television & Film Appearances
When he was just 16 years old, he was cast in his mother’s television series, ‘The Anna Nicole Show.’ Though he was shown extensively during the opening credits of the show, his actual appearances were rather nominal. During the show’s second season, Daniel stated that he didn’t want to be a part of the show anymore.
He then appeared in the famous American documentary series, ‘E True Hollywood Story.’ The show, which throws light on celebrities and public figures, was aired on ‘E Entertainment Network,’ and he appeared alongside his mother.
In 1995, he played a minor role in the action thriller film, ‘To the Limit.’ The film, which was directed by Raymond Martino, starred his mother Anna Nicole Smith and other famous actors like Joey Travolta and Michael Nouri.
In the following year, he once again played a minor role in the direct-to-video film, ‘Skyscraper.’ The film starred his mother in the lead role and was directed by Raymond Martino. Though he only played trifling roles in these movies, his acting skills were appreciated by many.
On September 10, 2006, Daniel Wayne Smith had visited his mother, who was admitted at ‘Doctors Hospital’ in Bahamas, where she had given birth to Dannielynn Hope Marshall, his half-sister.
After taking a look at his just born half-sister, the 20-year-old Daniel had sat on a chair next to his mother. When his mother woke up from her sleep, it appeared as if her son was fast asleep. But she received the shock of her life when her attempts to wake him up failed.
She then raised an alarm, and the doctors rushed to her ward, where they found Daniel, who appeared to be lifeless. When their attempts to resuscitate him failed, they declared him dead and broke the news to his mother.
Anna Nicole Smith was devastated upon hearing the news and simply refused to believe that her son was no more. In fact, she refused to let go of his corpse, which gave the doctors no other option but to sedate her in order to take her out of the hospital.
On September 12, a coroner named Linda announced that the cause of the death was unnatural. She also said that an investigation would soon ensue and that witnesses, including Daniel’s mother would have to testify.
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On September 20, Daniel’s death certificate was issued. However, the reason behind his sudden demise was not mentioned as the authorities claimed that the results of the toxicology tests were yet to be revealed.
A Bahamian law firm called ‘Callenders and Co’ hired Dr. Cyril Wecht to conduct an independent autopsy, so as to determine the actual cause of Daniel’s demise. After the second autopsy, Dr. Cyril Wecht told the reporters that drugs like Methadone, Zoloft, and Lexapro were found in his system.
While Methadone is an analgesic, Zoloft and Lexapro are antidepressants. According to Dr. Cyril Wecht, Daniel’s death was caused as a result of the interaction of these drugs. He said that some drugs when mixed inappropriately could prove lethal.
Dr. Cyril Wecht said Methadone is known for altering the cardiac rhythm of its users, which could lead to cardiac dysrhythmia. He also said that the presence of Lexapro and Zoloft in Daniel's system could have intensified the effects of Methadone, making it worse.
Though Dr. Cyril Wecht suggested that there was no foul play involved in Daniel’s sudden death, he also said that he could not find any natural causes like stroke or cardiac arrest that could have caused the 20-year-old’s death.
The investigation turned murkier when officials could not determine why Daniel was using Methadone when he was not prescribed any. However, his mother Anna Nicole was prescribed Methadone when she was pregnant with her daughter, Dannielynn Hope Marshall.
But there was no clarity on how and why Daniel had ingested Methadone just before his death. Dr. Cyril Wecht said that he had no information on why Daniel was using Methadone and hence refused to draw his own conclusion.
In an episode of the famous documentary television series ‘True Crime with Aphrodite Jones,’ Anna Nicole’s former partner Larry Birkhead stated that Anna’s security had witnessed Daniel stealing his mother's Methadone. Interestingly, another report suggested that Methadone was found in abundance in Anna’s refrigerator.
Drama at the Funeral
On October 19, 2006, Daniel was buried at New Providence, Bahamas. At his funeral, Anna Nicole had his coffin opened and tried getting into the coffin. She said that she wanted to be buried along with her son as she had lost the desire to live. Anna's attorney Howard K. Stern later said that she was devastated after her son's demise and that she had died emotionally when her son passed away.
On October 7, Daniel's relatives and friends gathered at a church in Mexia in order to conduct a separate memorial service. Daniel's biological father Billy Wayne Smith and his maternal grandmother Virgie Mae Arthur were present at the memorial service. His mother Anna chose to stay back at the Bahamas with her attorney Howard K. Stern.