J. Howard Marshall II was born on January 24, 1905, in Germantown, Pennsylvania. He worked for the U.S. Government after graduating from Yale Law School in 1931, subsequently amassed a private fortune as an executive for several oil companies. Marshall wed Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith just before his passing in 1995, at age 90, which spawned an extensive legal fight over the rights to his estate.
James Howard Marshall II was born on January 24, 1905, in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Despite a crippling childhood bout with typhoid fever, he recuperated becoming a football All American and captain of the tennis team at Haverford College, along with editor of its own school newspaper. While serving as assistant dean of Yale Law, J. Howard Marshall II co-wrote two posts about oil industry regulations.
Following the war, the burgeoning oil magnate took over as President of Ashland Oil in Kentucky. In the 1950s, Marshall became close with Koch Industries founder Fred Koch Sr. They invested in a big percentage of Great Northern Oil Company stock, which Marshall eventually used to buy a share of Koch Industries. He married Bettye Bohannon that year.
When an inner power struggle erupted at Koch Industries in 1980, Howard Jr. sided with a faction that sought to have his dad removed from the board. Angry, Marshall told his older son he would be cut from his will. Along with his wife suffering from Alzheimer’s, Marshall started a relationship with the exotic dancer named Lady Walker, lavishing her with gifts until her departure from complications following a facelift process in July 1991. Two months after, Bettye passed away as well.
The 86-year old Marshall found comfort in the arms of another gentlemen’s club performer, 24-year old Vickie Lynn Hogan. This new girlfriend was about the cusp of stardom; within months, the buxom blond was about the cover of Playboy and known to the world as Anna Nicole Smith. The two consummated the greatest May-December love story with their June 1994 wedding, but Marshall’s well-being took a nosedive and he passed away from stomach cancer on August 4, 1995.
Smith and Howard Jr. sought to have the will overturned in court. Although its veracity was carried on, the nasty legal saga spawned a number of claims and appeals that continued even following the various departures of Pierce and Smith, in 2006 and ’07. In June 2013, the Lifetime Network aired The Anna Nicole Story, with expert actor Martin Landau earning raves for his performance as Marshall.