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King: Anna Nicole was 'genuine, special person'

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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- CNN's Larry King interviewed Anna Nicole Smith several times on his talk show and said the model and actress lived a short life but one worthy of being told in a feature film.

King talked with CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer on Thursday as news broke of Smith's death.

BLITZER: We're awaiting a news conference to emerge from that hospital in Hollywood, Florida, with some details. We don't know how many details, what they're going to say. But talk a little bit about this woman, Larry, that you've known. I know you're going to be doing a whole hour on this subject tonight.

KING: Yeah, thanks, Wolf. I've always liked Anna Nicole Smith. I first met her many years ago after the Playmate era where she was featured in Playboy. I liked her right away when I had her on the show. I went through the marriage to the elderly gentlemen [Texas oil baron J. Howard Marshall II], the weight gains up and down.

Always a special thing about her, even when she spoofed her on "Saturday Night Live."

She is an extraordinary pretty girl. The unusual thing is she did a painting that we have here in the house. She is kind of an amateur painter. I have an oil painting she has done here.

We've been involved recently in this contest over who fathered [her] little girl [Dannielynn Hope]. In fact, we have the lawyer for the gentleman here, Larry [Birkhead], who claims he is the father and we have [lawyer] Howard K. Stern claiming he is the father. Now we have a little girl who is kind of lost in all this. It's really, really, really sad, Wolf.

I think that, you know, she was a special person; she was an unusual person. She was genuine; she was funny; she had some class. I feel very, very sorry for everybody concerned, but mostly for that little girl.

BLITZER: And [Anna Nicole] went through a real, real personal tragedy with the loss of her grown son [Daniel]. Talk a little bit about that, Larry. Because it came almost around exactly the time of the birth of this little baby girl.

KING: I think it was a day and a half apart, and she loved her son. I met her son once when she came to our studios in L.A. He accompanied her. He was a good-looking boy, handsome young man. What tragedy befell this woman? Can you imagine to lose a boy right after you give birth to a girl? I couldn't fathom that. I could not fathom how she went on.

BLITZER: What do we know about the circumstances of her son?

KING: I think there was a question of a drug overdose. I don't know if it was ever clear because in -- they had a lot of problems with the autopsy and a lot of questions concerning what is the actual cause of the death, who was in the room. I know the story was he was at her bedside. Do you remember that, Wolf?

BLITZER: Right. I'm just reading here he was 20 years old, Daniel Smith and died suddenly on September 10, 2006, in his mother's hospital room while visiting her and his newborn sister. That happened in Nassau, Bahamas, back in September.

KING: Could you imagine anything sadder than that? I can't. I can't. I can't.

BLITZER: This followed several years of litigation involving the money, the millions, hundreds of millions of dollars that was left in the estate of her -- he was well into his 90s by the time he passed away, J. Howard Marshall.

KING: And we forget she won a historic Supreme Court case, turned her down from the bankruptcy court in Texas and the court 9-0, they haven't heard it yet. Well, maybe they've just heard it. Ruled in her favor.

The thinking was that she might have settled this before it went back to the Houston court and an enormous amount of money would have been coming her way.

BLITZER: She was only married to J. Howard Marshall for 14 months. She got married in '94. He passed away in 1995. But left the money, if not all of it, most of it to her as opposed to his other children.

KING: Correct. They are the one that filed the suit. They won in the lower court but [the Supreme Court] ruled in her favor and it went back and it's in Houston. I don't know if they've heard it yet in Houston, if there are settlement hearings, et cetera. What a story.

BLITZER: An amazing story. I know that you can bring some unique insight because you actually knew this woman who was born in very, very humble origins down in Texas and becomes a Playmate, a Playboy Playmate of the year in 1993 and then marries this very fabulously wealthy 89-year-old man.

KING: It's a story for the books. It's a story that will be written about and talked about. I imagine a major motion picture about it.


Anna Nicole Smith also was an amateur painter, Larry King said.


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