by Paul Heidelberg
A Canyon Lake resident has a special connection to Anna Nicole Smith and her death last Thursday in Hollywood, Fla.
Lyle, who said he wants to keep his last name confidential, so he is not swamped with crowds of the curious, had used a broker to sell his 39 foot yacht to Smith last month. That is the reason Smith was in South Florida, staying at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, where she died.
South Florida television station Channel 39, a news partner of South Florida's Sun-Sentinel newspaper, reported Smith had come to South Florida to close a deal on a yacht.
"It was amazing, just about the time we finished up all the business on selling the yacht," Lyle said, "I heard she had passed away. It's really sad."
Lyle said he bought the yacht four years ago.
"It was an older yacht," Lyle said. "My broker told me she liked the interior. He said she had installed two large-screen HDTV TVs."
According to the Sun-Sentinel, Smith had planned to sail the yacht back to the Bahamas, where she gave birth to her daughter Dannielynn last fall, three days before her son by her first marriage, Daniel, died. Authorities in the Bahamas reported that drugs, including methadone, had stopped his heart.
While dealing with his broker during the sale of his yacht, Lyle said the broker asked him during a telephone conversation, "You know who this person is, right?"
Lyle said he did not, as Smith had used her real name for the yacht purchase – Vickie Lynn, as she was known growing up in Mexia, Texas.
Often compared to Marilyn Monroe, Smith, dead at 39 and rumored to be a drug abuser, will now certainly get some of the mythic status that Monroe garnered after her death at age 36 from a barbituate overdose.
Like Smith, Monroe also used a pseudonym, having been born Norma Jean Baker.
Smith's rise to fame began in 1994, while she was working as a stripper, when she met and married Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall, 67 years her senior.
After Marshall's death a year later, Smith became a Playboy magazine Playmate and had her own reality television show.
Many witnesses have reported they had seen her while she was obviously under the influence of drugs.
Lyle said he is not worried about having problems in the spiritual realm after Smith's death right after the purchase of his yacht – as in being visited by ghosts, or experiencing other strange happenings.
"No, I'm not worried about anything like that," he said. "It's just sad that she passed away so young. What is a little eery is that I still have to pick up my possessions that were taken off the yacht after she bought it. I had my boat captain do that. I have to go down to Florida Saturday and get all that stuff."