MIAMI – The steps of the former Versace Mansion on Ocean Drive in Miami.

Bungalow 3 at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Los Angeles.

With hundreds of slot machines, a tropical lagoon pool, restaurants and nightclubs, a celebrity death spot may not be the type of tourist attraction the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino wanted to become.

Like it or not, though, Room 607 at the lavish resort will now be known to legions of Smith’s fans and followers as The Place Where Anna Nicole Smith Died.

Smith was found unconscious Thursday afternoon in the two-bedroom suite at the 12-story, 500-room Hollywood, Fla., hotel. She was pronounced dead at Hollywood Memorial Regional Hospital soon after.

“It gives that room a street credibility that you couldn’t have made through a PR department,” said Robert Thompson, a professor of popular culture at Syracuse University in New York.

“When a celebrity dies in a hotel room,” Thompson said, “that space becomes kind of sacred in a profane kind of way in that it’s at the center of attention whenever you read the books.

Room 105 of the Highland Gardens Hotel in Los Angeles is such a place.

Rock “n’ roll icon Janis Joplin died of a drug overdose there on Oct. 4, 1970. Her fans still make pilgrimages to the room, said assistant manager Jim Baklayan.

Baklayan said the Highland Gardens, which used to be named the Hollywood Landmark Hotel, does not advertise itself as the place where Joplin died. But nearly 40 years after the fact, the hotel is still synonymous with the tragedy.

“People do request the room on occasion: her birthday, her death,” said Baklayan, who added that people keep taking the room number off the door. “A lot of them are musicians. They seem to feel like they get an inspiration by the room. On her birthday Jan. 19, I’ve actually had people throw little parties for her in the room.”

The Chateau Marmont, also in Los Angeles, has its own celebrity death room: Bungalow 3, where comedian and actor John Belushi died of a drug overdose on March 5, 1982.

Representatives for the hotel did not return calls for comment, but a clerk who answered the phone at the popular resort said there is no marker memorializing the event though the room is often requested.

Of course, South Florida already has a celebrity death spot: the steps of the former Versace Mansion, where fashion designer Gianni Versace was gunned down on the morning of July 15, 1997.

The Mediterranean-style palazzo, renamed Casa Casuarina, still attracts the morbidly curious.

Representatives for Casa Casuarina did not immediately return calls for comment. But spend some time near the mansion and you’re likely to witness someone pose – perhaps even prostrate on the steps – for a picture.

To be sure, the public fascination with the places where the famous died is not limited to Hollywood celebrities, said Thompson of Syracuse University.

“We do this with our historical figures every bit as much as we do it with celebrities,” he said. “It just has a much more classy patina to it. But still, when people go to D.C., to this day, they want to see where Abraham Lincoln was shot.”


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