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As reported by Terry Armour in the Chicago Tribune: We happened to catch up with Bill Maher on Friday--the day after former Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith died in Florida. Maher and other comedians have mined a lot of laughs out of Smith and her status as a self-made celebrity. "I think we should take a moment of silence as comedians and say `Thank you' for this woman because she did give us years and years of material," Maher told us when we caught up with him in Los Angeles.
Then Maher, who begins his fifth season of HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher" this Friday, cut through the circus of the wall-to-wall coverage of Smith's death. Not one to shy away from controversial comments, Maher believes Smith's death highlights the serious issue of the dangers of prescription drugs. Police on Friday confiscated different types of medication from Smith's hotel room, but the cause of her death was not yet known.
"If you want to find something in this that's meaningful, it's a good time to make the point that people in this country die from prescription drugs," Maher told Armour & Co. "I think that's what it was. I think that when you're 39 years old and you turn up dead ... it's probably because of drugs. In this country, as long as your name is on the little bottle, you're cool. Marijuana has been tested exhaustively over the last 30 years--just by me. I don't remember anybody ever dying from that. But that's illegal, and whatever she was doing is cool because it's a pharmaceutical drug."