Feb. 8 marked the 11th anniversary of actress and model Anna Nicole Smith’s death from a drug overdose at the Hard Rock Hotel in Florida. Most of her life was lived amid negativity, rumors and judgment for her taste in rich, older men. However, Smith was a hard worker who lived life to the fullest, loved too much, trusted even more and was someone who had ties to Boulder City.
Born Vickie Lynn Hogan, Smith was the star of a 1995 movie titled “To the Limit.” Her character’s name was Vicky Linn/Colette Dubois. The PM Entertainment Group’s plot for the flick was to have the lead character, an ex-CIA agent, go after dirty assassins who killed her adored husband. And while Las Vegas plays a big role in the film, IMDB.com says Hoover Dam was one of the more notable filming locations.
“To the Limit” is a boring, 93-minute attempt at a Vegas mafia movie that is trying to gain some credibility on the wings of Smith’s then Playmate of the Year fame. The movie doesn’t offer the audience anything more than a flimsy script backed by a beautiful lead actress and familiar scenery by way of a fiery finale at the Hoover Dam for us Boulder City locals interested in all Hollywood’s incorporation of our city, Lake Mead and Hoover Dam.
In “To the Limit,” Smith acted opposite Joey Travolta, the older brother of Academy Award-nominated actor John Travolta. Years later, in 2005, Smith would act alongside John Travolta for the MGM movie “Be Cool,” but it is her role in “Naked Gun 33½: The Final Insult” that is most memorable for me.
Smith did her best to push herself forward. Maybe her movies weren’t box office smashes, but she tried to have a career, and she landed roles — something not everyone can do. She was the face of Guess for a long time and was a spokeswoman for PETA in 2004, where she mirrored her icon, Marilyn Monroe, for a play on the “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” segment for an ad campaign called “Gentlemen prefer fur-free blondes.”
At the end, when the movie roles were wearing out and the endorsements weren’t coming in like they used to, Smith seemed to spend more time supporting the clinger-oners who wanted to be her (or grab a piece of her fame). She showed up on television and radio shows (including her own reality TV show) in various states of what looked like wonderment and confusion.
After her death, it was revealed that the actress suffered from borderline personality disorder, which is an offshoot of multiple personality disorder that shares dissociative symptoms rooted in childhood trauma.
According to the Associated Press, Smith tried to suffocate her emotional pain by developing symptoms of real pain within her body. The loss of her son, Danny, in 2006 seemed to reopen trauma, and the actress couldn’t recover, which eventually led to her untimely death.
The actress was one of the many stars to have graced Boulder City’s backyard, by way of Hoover Dam. And while “To the Limit” is a cheesy mob-style movie, it’s worth the watch for the publicity of Hoover Dam alone, making it my Throwback Thursday recommendation. Further, if you want to laugh, start with “Naked Gun 33½: The Final Insult.”
Tanya Vece is an entertainment and music writer who resides and volunteers in Boulder City. You can follow her adventures on Instagram @hollywoodwriter.