Numb Blonde

| April 07, 2005

California trucker Mark Norris shared two dates with Anna Nicole Smith on her E! Networks reality show.

Trucker and part-time actor Mark Norris had what some truckers would consider a dream date – a ride-along and overnight outing with bosomy reality show personality Anna Nicole Smith, a former stripper and Playboy Playmate of the Year.

But dreams don’t always live up to expections, even when your date is broadcast on Smith’s reality television program on E! Networks.

Smith, 35, selected Norris, 43, a divorced father of two daughters, for a second date after he was one of five blind dates on a previous episode. Their most recent date, titled “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,” has aired repeatedly on the network.

Smith married at 17, had a son and then a second marriage to an 89-year-old oil billionaire at age 26. She became a widow the following year. Last May, a federal judge awarded her $88.5 million following an extended battle with one of her late husband’s sons over his estate.
When Norris, a Californian and a trucker for two decades who drives a dedicated route for retailer Neiman Marcus, arrived for their second date, Anna Nicole greeted him in a white evening gown. She dressed down when she saw what he had rented for their date – a glossy red Peterbilt 379 that outshone her lipstick.

On the ride from California to Laughlin, Nev., Smith complained that her butt, the former canvas for Guess? jeans advertisements, became numb, winced over the sound of air brakes and found her date’s conversations “too deep.”

“She had mentioned in the first season that she was interested in trucks,” says Norris. “She may have meant a four-wheel drive.”

As Norris drove down the highway, his cab – lit for the TV cameras – drew the attention of a California highway patrolman. The officer asked Norris what he was hauling. “Just Anna Nicole,” Norris replied.

The patrolman showed no reaction to seeing the tabloid queen in the passenger seat, but he did get a laugh out of the contents of Norris’ trailer. What neither Smith nor viewers got to see was Norris’ practical joke: his load consisted of two Anna Nicole bobble-head dolls.
Norris dropped Anna Nicole at her Laughlin hotel room. The next morning he pushed a food-laden table to her door, and they ate breakfast together before taking in a rodeo. Smith, slathered in her trademark blue eye shadow and mascara, shrugged off a rodeo clown who asked who did her makeup.

Norris said he encouraged Smith, who loves horseback riding, to take up the rodeo cowboys’ offer to ride the rodeo horses. Smith later tearfully told Norris she wanted to party with her newfound friends and cut the date short. Norris took the news gracefully, and Smith ended her evening in a hot tub with one of the cowboys.

Norris says when he auditioned, he only knew it was a blind date on a reality television program. As the selection process continued, he underwent a two-hour grilling by Smith’s attorney Howard K. Stern and took a lie-detector test.

Norris describes her as “very misunderstood, a very sweet girl.” Since then, his auditions have included trying out for “Star Dates,” where he would be paired with a yet-to-be-identified celebrity.

He has had parts in movie and television projects as well as appearances in music videos and advertising campaigns. “I may be America’s most famous truck driver,” he said.

His guest star roles include recently portraying Burt Reynolds in E! Entertainment’s “True Hollywood Story” about the actor’s life, and co-starring in films.

Norris has appeared opposite several well-known actors in movies, including Eddie Murphy, Nicholas Cage, Annette Benning, Tim Allen and Jesse Ventura. These movie appearances include “The American President” and “The Distinguished Gentleman.”

Norris has had several stage roles and music video appearances. He is featured in a recent advertising poster for Mitsubishi Outlander and has been in a Chesterfield cigarette advertisement in Spain.

Norris says the edited version of the dates eliminated some of their warmer moments. As for himself, he wanted to keep the image of truckers positive. “A lot of truck drivers are hard-working people,” Norris says. “I wanted the profession to look good.”

More information about Norris is available at www.marknorrisactor.com.

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