E. Pierce Marshall, 67; Fought Former Playmate Over His Father’s Fortune

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

E. Pierce Marshall, who waged a legal fight with former Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith over his father’s estate and its vast oil fortune, has died, his spokesman said Friday. He was 67.

Marshall died unexpectedly Tuesday evening in the Dallas area from a brief and extremely aggressive infection, the family said in a written statement released through spokesman David Margulies. He declined to provide additional details.

“The family would politely request that their privacy be respected during this extremely difficult time as they grapple with this devastating loss,” the statement said.

It was not immediately clear what Marshall’s death would do to Smith’s legal efforts to gain part of the estate.


“It’s a horrible situation, so condolences to the family, but we have no comment on it at this time,” Philip Boesch, Smith’s attorney, said Friday night.

Marshall’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, did not immediately return a phone call from the Associated Press.

In 1994, Smith married Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, who was then worth $1.6 billion. She was 26, and he was 89. They had been married for 14 months when he died in 1995. Since then, E. Pierce Marshall has been locked in a legal battle over her entitlement to any part of the estate.

The case has had twists and turns. At one point, Smith won a $474-million judgment, which was cut to about $89 million and eventually reduced to zero.

She claimed in court that her stepson had schemed and forged documents to deprive her of a huge gift her octogenarian husband had promised her before his death.

The Supreme Court took up the case after the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco threw out Smith’s award and ruled that federal judges had no right to intervene in any matter involving a state’s probate of an estate.

But the high court’s ruling called the 9th Circuit’s decision a mistake, noting that Smith had sued Marshall over a kind of fraud that deprived her of a gift. She was not contesting the terms of her late husband’s will, which did not include her.

Despite his loss in the high court, Marshall had vowed to fight on.

“I will fight to clear my name in California federal court. That is a promise [she] can take to the bank.”

A native of Dallas, E. Pierce Marshall managed his family’s extensive business holdings and served on the board of Koch Industries Inc., a commodities conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., that operates refineries and pipelines, trades commodities and manufactures pulp, paper and fibers.

“His leadership and loyalty have been instrumental in the success and growth of our company,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Charles G. Koch.

Marshall is survived by his wife, two children and a brother.

Funeral services were pending.