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10 Things to Remember about O.J. Simpson
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By Associated Press
Published 1 month ago on
April 11, 2024

A look back at the life of O.J. Simpson, from his NFL career to his infamous trial, and his impact on American culture. (AP File)

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LOS ANGELES — Ten things to remember about O.J. Simpson, the NFL running back-turned actor who was acquitted of murdering his wife and her friend. The family announced on Simpson’s official X account — formerly Twitter — that Simpson died Wednesday after battling prostate cancer. Simpson’s attorney confirmed to TMZ he died in Las Vegas.

O.J. Simpson, acquitted murder suspect and football star, died at 76. He and wife Nicole attended the Harley-Davidson Cafe opening in New York in 1993. (AP File)

How He Met Nicole Brown

She was a waitress at the trendy Beverly Hills restaurant, The Daisy. They met when he dined there and they quickly became inseparable. They married in 1985, had two children, Sydney and Justin, and divorced in 1992.

His Son’s Early Death

Simpson had three children by his first marriage to Marguerite Whitley: Arnelle, Jason and Aaren, who drowned at the age of 2 in a family swimming pool in 1979.

Buffalo Bills running back O.J. Simpson leaves the New York Jets defense behind as he breaks loose for a touchdown in the second quarter of the Bills 34-14 win at Shea Stadium in New York, Dec. 16, 1973. (AP File)

NFL Career Highlights

At the University of Southern California, Simpson won the Heisman Trophy in 1968 and was the first player chosen in the 1969 NFL draft. As a pro, Simpson was the first player to rush for more than 2,000 yards. He was NFL Player of the Year in 1972, 1973 and 1975 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985. Simpson played for the Buffalo Bills for nine years and for the San Francisco 49ers for two years.

His Overwhelming Fame

At the height of his football fame, polls indicated he was one of the top three most recognized faces in North America. In 1977, he became the first pro football player to make the cover of “Rolling Stone.” In 1978, he became the second professional athlete to host “Saturday Night Live.”

Actor Simpson’s Movies

He had roles in “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!” (1988), “The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear” (1991) and “The Towering Inferno” (1974). He was considered for the title role in “The Terminator,” but producers feared he was “too nice” to be taken seriously as a cold-blooded killer. He was working on a film called “Frogmen” shortly before the killings.

Commercials Had Him Running Through Airports

He made a series of commercials for the Hertz rental car company, including the juggernaut ad that had him jumping over counters at an airport.

The Bronco Chase

The infamous Bronco chase caused one television station to rearrange coverage of an NBA Finals game, featuring the chase on the main screen and the game as an inset. Nearly every network was broadcasting the chase as it headed toward the cemetery where his ex-wife was buried, then wound back to Simpson’s house. Cameras in helicopters showed Simpson holding a gun to his head as his friend Al Cowlings drove. Because the chase was so slow, huge crowds had time to gather on overpasses, where they cheered wildly when he drove by.

Mother’s Moment

Simpson’s frail 73-year-old mother left her wheelchair, hobbled to the witness stand and told jurors how her son had rickets as a child and had inherited rheumatoid arthritis from her, suggesting he was too crippled to kill anyone.

Two Books He Wrote for Money

While in jail during his criminal trial, he wrote a book called “I Want to Tell You” with a collaborator. It helped finance his defense. In 2008, he collaborated on a hypothetical confession called, “If I Did It,” which stirred up so much controversy that it was withdrawn from publication. Simpson said he needed money to pay for his children’s education. He called the proceeds “blood money.”

Johnnie Cochran

Attorney Johnnie Cochran was not his first attorney. That was Robert Shapiro. Cochran was reluctant to take on the case but was eventually convinced after praying with his pastor. He had been a commentator on the trial before becoming a part of it. He instantly went from being a well-known local attorney to being world famous.

 

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