LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Larry Birkhead, partner of Anna Nicole Smith and the father of her daughter, Dannielynn, is selling some of the former model’s memorabilia at an upcoming auction for charity and his daughter’s future.
Birkhead, a photographer who became a key figure in the media circus surrounding Smith’s tragic death in 2007, said he doesn’t need the money, but his daughter, now 3 years-old, does have “different needs” such as security and private schools.
“It’s like, do I want to hold on to one of Anna’s dresses, or do I want to try to help Dannielynn’s future?” he told Reuters.
Birkhead said he has spent the last three or four months “buried in storage bins, archiving and cataloging” Smith’s possessions. He created piles of items to be sold, and piles to be held for Dannielynn as keepsakes of her mom.
Up for bid at the event, held by Julien’s Auctions on June 26 in Las Vegas, are big-ticket items such as a 1992 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster and several bronze statues, both given to Smith during her marriage to oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall.
Also on the auction block is Smith’s furniture, as seen on her former E! network reality series, “The Anna Nicole Show.”
Smith’s Marilyn Monroe memorabilia -- items such as a Marilyn cookie jar -- many gowns she wore at red carpet events, and several of her own paintings also go under the hammer.
“You’ll see Anna’s love for the finer things, but you’ll also see the down home girl that would paint pictures and carry little, fun purses,” said Birkhead.
Even a dog bed and bowls belonging to her miniature poodle, Sugar Pie, are up for sale, and a dress worn by Smith in a PETA ad will earn proceeds for the animal rights group she helped.
With the exception of the PETA gown, sales from the items will be tallied and a flat fee will go to the Anna Nicole and Daniel Wayne Smith Foundation.
The foundation, which helps underprivileged children, was founded by Smith after her son Daniel’s death of an accidental drug overdose at age 20, days after Dannielynn’s birth. The rest of the money will go to in to a trust for Dannielynn.
Smith, a former Playboy model and TV celebrity, died in February 2007 in Florida of an accidental drug overdose. At the time, Smith was in a legal battle over proceeds from the estate of her dead husband, Texas billionaire Marshall, and Dannielynn stood to be the key beneficiary.
But just this past March, a federal appeals court ruled Smith’s estate was not entitled to any of the $300 million she sought from Marshall’s estate, and last week, an appeals court denied a request to reconsider the decision.
“We have money,” said Birkhead. “We have more than enough to survive on. (Auction proceeds) would just supplement that.”
Birkhead, who waged a paternity battle for custody of his daughter, said he still occasionally does photography work, but life after Smith’s death has become a circus of paparazzi, fans and court battles “fighting to protect my daughter.”
“Dannielynn has different needs than other kids,” he said. “She has to have security because we have a lot of curious people and it creates a bit of a problem. And now that she’s starting school, she’ll need to go to a private school.”
Birkhead said he raises her as a single father without any outside help or nannies. They divide their time between homes in Kentucky and Los Angeles.
With the auction, “I have come to the realization that you don’t have to have something in your hands for it to be a memory,” said Birkhead. “I think Anna would appreciate that these items are going to help Dannielynn thrive and flourish and continue being the great kid that she is.”
Julien’s Auctions will conduct the auction on Saturday, June 26th at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte