Ralph Notaro Reflects on Anna Nicole Smith’s Last Moments
Ten years after her death, photographer Ralph Notaro opened up about the final moments of her life.
Notaro, who was scheduled to shoot Anna the day she died, February 8, 2007, was at the scene when panic set in. He saw her boyfriend, Howard K. Stern, and her bodyguard run through the lobby of the Hollywood, Florida, hotel.
In a Mega Agency video obtained by “Extra,” Notaro says, “At that point, I knew something was wrong with Anna, but I had no clue what it might have been.”
Ralph decided to “pack up” his stuff and shoot video of the chaos at the request of the photo agency he was working for at the time. He says, “I went outside the doors and I just waited. The ambulances, two of them, were out front… Within a few minutes, they came walking out with a person on a gurney… a couple of paramedics pushing the gurney, one on the step of the gurney administering CPR to the person, who was Anna Nicole. As they passed by in front of me, I knew there was something drastically wrong because there was nonstop compressions.”
Notaro also describes the physical state of Anna Nicole. He reveals of her "lifeless" body, “The color in her face and her body just wasn't there. It was more a bluish color, it wasn't white, it wasn't tan… they put her in the ambulance. At that point, I jumped into my car and followed the ambulance to the hospital, where I found out not long afterwards, like the rest of the world, that Anna Nicole had passed.”
He goes on to say, “I couldn't fathom the fact that I was watching somebody as she was passing.”
Along with taking one of the last photos of Anna alive, Ralph was also on hand to snap photos of the transport of Anna Nicole's body for burial. He said, “I took pictures of the whole procession of Anna Nicole's body being moved from the coroner's office to the airport, [and] the plane heading off to the Bahamas, her final resting place."
A few weeks before her death, Notaro worked with Smith on a photo shoot in Florida. At the time, he says, she was “outgoing," but “a little sluggish."
Notaro had met Anna Nicole in 2003 at a TrimSpa event in Florida. Smith was a spokesperson for the dietary supplement at the time.