- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 1, 2007

NASSAU, Bahamas — Anna Nicole Smith will be buried in a custom-made gown next to her 20-year-old son after an “over the top” memorial service with a tightly controlled guest list, said a friend helping to organize the memorial.

Mrs. Smith’s body will be flown to the Bahamas by private plane early today, and the funeral will take place hours later, said lawyer Richard Milstein, the court-appointed advocate for Mrs. Smith’s 5-month-old daughter, Dannielynn.

The memorial service, with about 300 guests at an undisclosed church, will feature many pink flowers, her favorite color, and songs from a well-known paerformer whose name organizers aren’t ready to disclose, said her friend, Patrik Simpson of Beverly Hills, Calif.

“It will be a very beautiful, Anna Nicole send-off,” Mr. Simpson said in an interview Wednesday night in the Bahamian capital of Nassau. “Of course it will be over the top because it’s Anna Nicole.”

Mrs. Smith, 39, died in a Florida hotel on Feb. 8 — setting off a battle over her burial and for custody of Dannielynn among her partner, Howard K. Stern, her mother, Virgie Arthur, and ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead.

Mrs. Arthur had wanted to bury Mrs. Smith in her native Texas. But Mr. Stern insisted that the former Playboy playmate wanted to be buried next to her son, Daniel, who died of apparent drug-related causes as he visited his mother three days after she gave birth to Dannielynn in the Bahamas.

The wrangling over Mrs. Smith’s body ended Wednesday when a Florida appeals court upheld a judge’s ruling that allowed Mrs. Smith to be buried in the Bahamas and Mrs. Arthur decided not to appeal that decision.

A Bahamian court has scheduled a hearing in the custody dispute for mid-March.

Mrs. Smith married Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II in 1994 when he was 89 and she was 26. She had been fighting his family over his estimated $500 million fortune since his death in 1995, and her baby daughter could inherit millions.

Mr. Simpson said each “faction” — Mr. Stern, Mrs. Arthur and Mr. Birkhead — had to submit a guest list in advance and each would be limited to 100 persons at the church service.

The burial at Lakeview Memorial Gardens & Mausoleums will be much more intimate, with about 30 people, he said.

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