E. Pierce Marshall was an American oil executive and the son of J. Howard Marshall II, a billionaire who married former Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith. He was involved in a long and bitter legal battle with Smith over his father’s estate, which was estimated to be worth more than $1.6 billion. He died unexpectedly in 2006, at the age of 67, from a rare and aggressive infection. But what was the exact cause of his death and how did he contract it?
E. Pierce Marshall’s Life and Career
E. Pierce Marshall was born on January 12, 1939, in Alamosa, Colorado. He graduated from Pomona College in 1961 and worked as an engineer, an investment banker, and a stockbroker before joining his father’s oil business in 1969. He became the president of Marshall Petroleum and the beneficial owner of 16% of Koch Industries, one of the largest privately held companies in the world. He was also the chairman of Electron Corporation, an iron foundry based in Colorado.
He was married to Elaine Tettemer Marshall, a philanthropist and one of the richest women in America. They had two children, Preston and Elaine. He was known for his conservative views, his charitable donations, and his love of hunting and fishing.
E. Pierce Marshall’s Legal Feud with Anna Nicole Smith
E. Pierce Marshall’s father, J. Howard Marshall II, married Anna Nicole Smith in 1994, when he was 89 and she was 26. He died the following year, leaving his entire fortune to E. Pierce Marshall and excluding his other son, J. Howard Marshall III, and Smith from his will. Smith claimed that her husband had verbally promised her half of his estate and that E. Pierce Marshall had interfered with their marriage and forged his father’s documents.
She filed a lawsuit against E. Pierce Marshall in Texas, where a jury ruled in his favor and awarded her nothing. She also filed for bankruptcy in California, where a judge awarded her $475 million. The case went through several appeals and reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 2006, which ruled that Smith could pursue her claim in federal court.
E. Pierce Marshall’s Death and Aftermath
However, the exact source and circumstances of his infection are not clear. Some sources suggest that he contracted it during a hunting trip in Alaska, while others speculate that he was poisoned by his enemies.
His death did not end the legal dispute over his father’s estate, as his widow and children continued to fight Smith and Marshall III in court. Smith died in 2007, from an accidental drug overdose, and her daughter, Dannielynn, inherited her claim. Marshall III died in 2014, from complications of a stroke. The case was finally settled in 2017, with the Marshall family keeping most of the fortune and Dannielynn receiving $10 million.
E. Pierce Marshall’s cause of death remains a mystery and a subject of controversy. He was a prominent figure in the oil industry and the heir of a massive fortune. He was also a controversial figure who was embroiled in one of the most notorious and longest-running legal battles in American history. He left behind a legacy of wealth, power, and intrigue.