PICTURE: Anna Nicole Smith Channeled by Agnes Bruckner for Lifetime Biopic

Celebrity News Nov. 28, 2012 AT 6:00PM
Agnes Bruckner as Anna Nicole Smith Agnes Bruckner as Anna Nicole Smith

Happy birthday, Anna Nicole Smith.

The former Playboy model -- born Vickie Lynn Hogan -- would have turned 45 today, Nov. 28. Over five years have passed since her February 2007 death of an accidental drug overdose, but Smith lives on in her daughter, Dannielynn, and in the many tributes that have been written or filmed in her honor -- including Lifetime's upcoming biopic The Anna Nicole Story.

PHOTOS: Dannielynn as a baby

The made-for-TV movie stars Private Practice alum Agnes Bruckner as the late blonde bombshell, who transformed from a small-town Texas girl into a voluptuous pin-up. Bruckner, 27, had to undergo a similar makeover for the role; to get into character as Smith, she needed platinum blonde hair, cosmetics, and even prosthetics.

"The transformation has been amazing," the actress told Entertainment Tonight recently. "I came into this a brunette -- a total tomboy."

Anna Nicole Smith at the
Anna Nicole Smith at the "Be Cool" Premiere on February 14, 2005 in Los Angeles, California.
Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty

Bruckner's resemblance is uncanny, but she says playing the late model isn't just about looking the part. To research the role, she spent hours watching news stories and YouTube videos about Smith.

"It's such a fascinating story to me. There were so many different layers to her, and she was so iconic and so larger-than-life," the actress told ET. "It was just something that I was like, 'This is gonna be really scary, but it's gonna be really awesome at the same time."

PHOTOS: Anna Nicole and other famous Playboy models

"She had so many ups and downs," Bruckner added. "She was messy and crazy, and then she was really put-together at times."

Adam Goldberg, who plays Smith's lawyer/boyfriend Howard K. Stern, says his co-star is perfect for the part. "She's not doing an impression of [Anna Nicole]," he told ET. "I think it's a very difficult role to play, because there is just so much tape on this woman that it [would be] very easy to just do an impression...You have to find something in it that is honest for yourself, and I think that's what Agnes is doing."

PHOTOS: Stars' first modeling gigs

Bruckner isn't the only one channeling Smith these days. Earlier this week, the pin-up's 6-year-old daughter -- with ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead -- made her debut as a model for GUESS kids.

"Dannielynn has the same playful spirit that her mother had on a set," GUESS Creative Director Paul Marciano said in a press release, alluding to Smith's past as a model for the brand. "She is a second-generation GUESS girl, which makes this campaign a first for us."

"Dannielynn has always looked up to her mom's image," Birkhead added during a Good Morning America appearance on Tuesday, Nov. 27. "I think that this is kind of Dannielynn's way of paying tribute to her mom in her own special way."

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