The body is still warm and already the comparisons begin between Anna Nicole Smith and Marilyn Monroe. This is a denegrating insult to our American film heritage and to the legacy of Marilyn Monroe.

Let’s put the idea back in the cupboard now. While Anna Nicole Smith was an accomplished hussy who also attempted acting in bad movies, Marilyn Monroe was an accomplished actress who needed men. There is no comparison on their accomplishments. None at all.

Let’s grant that there are some interesting but entirely superficial similarities between Anna Nicole Smith and Marilyn Monroe. Both “talked stupid” as part of their public persona to project the consummate “dumb blonde” image. And both used their sex appeal to further their careers. Both apparently died of self-inflicted overdoses, although whether they were technically suicides is still an open question.

Both ran around “the block,” so to speak, although in Anna Nicole Smith’s case her block was a marathon. Both Marilyn Monroe and Anna Nicole Smith were in Playboy magazine, although in Marilyn Monroe’s case the photos were “acquired” by Hugh Hephner and she did not consent to their publication. She did not “pose” for Playboy.

But the comparison ends on these superficial points.

More substantively, Marilyn Monroe was a legitimate Hollywood Star. She was at one time the highest paid actress in Hollywood, a spot now reserved for the likes of Julia Roberts or Demi Moore. She was recognized as a great comedic actress, the most rare of all Hollywood commodities. And she was a good singer.

Marilyn’s list of cinematic accomplishments is practically endless. She was nominated for four Golden Globes and won two. Her filmography lists 31 major motion pictures including arguably the greatest comedy of all time. Some Like it Hot is the rare comedy that still stands the test of time.

She starred in blockbuster movies like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire and All About Eve. She co-starred in these movies with other legendary Hollywood actors such as Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Jane Russell, Bette Davis, and Clark Gable.

What is Anna Nicole Smith’s similar accomplishment? Nothing. She was a celebrity without portfolio like Paris Hilton. And yes, she had appearances in some B and C movies, apparently some role in 6 movies that nobody ever saw. They have titles like Wasabi Tuna and Illegal Aliens.

Once Marilyn Monroe was asked what she wore in bed, and she hilariously and extemporaneously replied “Chanel No. 5.” Does Anna Nicole Smith have any comparable quote worth remembering 50 years from now?

Marilyn Monroe was a superstar who had problems. Anna Nicole Smith was a hussy and apparent drug-addict, made more famous only because of her problems. May Anna Nicole Smith rest in peace, but may our culture not disentegrate to the point where Anna Nicole Smith is as revered a personality as Marilyn Monroe.