O. J. Simpson



Orenthal James "O. J." Simpson (born July 9, 1947) (also known by his nickname, The Juice) is a retired American football player who achieved stardom as a running back at the collegiate and professional levels, and was the first NFL player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season. He later worked as an actor, spokesperson and broadcaster.

Simpson is infamous for having been tried for the murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1994. He was acquitted in criminal court in 1995 after a lengthy, highly publicized trial (often called the "Trial of the Century" in America). In 1997, Simpson was found liable for their deaths in civil court, but to date has paid little of the $33.5 million judgment. He gained further notoriety in late 2006 when he wrote a book titled If I Did It, withdrawn by the publisher just before its release, which purports to be a first-person fictional account of the murder had he actually committed it.

Simpson was born in San Francisco, California to Eunice Durden (October 23, 1921–November 9, 2001) and James "Jimmy" Lee Simpson (January 28, 1920–June 9, 1986); his maternal grandparents were from Louisiana. His aunt gave him the name Orenthal, which supposedly was the name of a French actor she liked. His parents were separated in 1952. Simpson has one brother: Melvin Leon "Truman" Simpson, and two sisters: Shirley Simpson-Baker and Carmelita Simpson-Durio. In his childhood, Simpson endured a great deal of adversity. From ages three to five, he had to wear homemade braces after contracting rickets. In 1960, he joined the Persian Warriors, a San Francisco street gang, and was incarcerated at the San Francisco Youth Guidance Center in 1962.

At Galileo High School in San Francisco, Simpson played for the school football team, the Galileo Lions. From 1965 to 1966, Simpson was a student at City College of San Francisco, a member of the California Community Colleges system. He played both offense (running back) and defense (defensive back), and was named to the Junior College All American team as a running back. Simpson earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Southern California where he played running back for the University of Southern California in 1967 and 1968. Simpson led the nation in rushing. With 1,451 yards and 11 touchdowns in 1967 he was on his way to becoming the greatest. He was a Heisman Trophy candidate and a star in the 1967 USC vs. UCLA football game. His 64 yard touchdown run in the 4th quarter tied the game, with the PAT the margin of victory. This was the biggest play in what is regarded as one of the greatest football games of the 20th century.

In 1968, he rushed for 1,709 yards and 22 touchdowns, earning the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, and the Walter Camp Award that year. He still holds the record for the Heisman's largest margin of victory, defeating the runner-up by 1,750 points. Simpson also won the Walter Camp Award in 1967 and was a two-time All-American.

There was a regular-season game nicknamed for Simpson; it was the "O.J. Bowl", between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers, because it was thought the loser would get the first crack at drafting him. The Eagles won that game 12-0 (on 4 field goals by Sam Baker); but it turned out that neither of those teams drafted him, although the Steelers did draft future Hall of Famer "Mean Joe" Greene that year with their first pick.

Simpson was drafted by the AFL's Buffalo Bills, who got first pick in the 1969 draft after finishing 1-12-1 in 1968. Early in his NFL career, Simpson struggled on poor Buffalo teams, averaging only 622 yards per season for his first three.

He first rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 1972, gaining a total of 1,251. In 1973, Simpson rushed for a then-record 2,003 yards, becoming the first player ever to pass the 2,000-yard mark, and scored 12 touchdowns. Simpson gained more than 1,000 rushing yards for each of his next three seasons.

Simpson's 1977 season in Buffalo was cut short by injury. Before the 1978 season, Simpson signed with the San Francisco 49ers, where he played two unremarkable seasons.

Simpson gained 11,236 rushing yards, placing him 14th on the NFL's all-time rushing list. He was named NFL Player of the Year in 1972, 1973, and played in six Pro Bowls. Simpson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985, his first year of eligibility.

On June 24, 1967 Simpson married Marguerite L. Whitley. Together they had three children: Arnelle L. Simpson (born December 4, 1968), Jason L. Simpson (born April 21, 1970) and Aaren Lashone Simpson (born September 24, 1977). In 1979, Aaren drowned in the family's swimming pool a month before her second birthday. That same year Simpson and Marguerite were divorced.

On February 2, 1985, Simpson married Nicole Brown. They had two children, Sydney Brooke Simpson (born October 17, 1985) and Justin Ryan Simpson (born August 6, 1988), and were divorced in 1992. O.J. Simpson was found liable for the wrongful deaths of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman in a civil case in 1997, but was acquitted of all criminal charges in a now infamous court case.

After his retirement from football and in the NFL, Simpson went on to a successful film career with parts in films such as the television mini-series Roots, and the dramatic motion pictures The Cassandra Crossing, Capricorn One, The Klansman, The Towering Inferno, and the comedic Back to the Beach and The Naked Gun trilogy. In 1979, he started his own film production company Orenthal Productions, which dealt mostly in made-for-TV fare such as the family-oriented Goldie and the Boxer films and Cocaine and Blue Eyes, the pilot for a proposed detective series on NBC. Simpson was considered for the lead role in The Terminator, before it was decided audiences might not accept him as a relentless villain, due to his "nice guy" image.

Simpson's amiable persona and natural charisma landed him numerous endorsement deals. He was a spokesman for the Hertz rental car company. He would often be shown running through airports, as if to suggest he was back on the football field. Simpson was also a longtime spokesman for Pioneer Chicken and owned two franchises, one of which was destroyed during the LA riots, as well as Honeybaked Hams, the pX Corporation, the Calistoga Water Company's line of Napa Naturals soft drinks, and he appeared in comic book ads for Dingo shoes.

Besides his acting career, Simpson had stints as a commentator for Monday Night Football and The NFL on NBC. He also hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live, but he was the only host not invited to attend the program's 25th anniversary celebration special in 1999.

Prior to being tried for murder, Simpson enjoyed an excellent public image in the minds of the majority of Americans. Wrote Larry Schwartz for ESPN.com:

Off the field, Simpson made a conscious decision to project a positive image, to distance himself from the teenage O.J. who was a troublemaker and spent time in a correctional center. He had an innate way of communicating warmth and charm that lifted him to an almost mythical level and made him the first African-American athlete to be merchandised on a grand scale. His Hertz commercials pictured a dapper O.J. running to catch a Hertz rent-a-car, smiling as he hurdled the airport guardrail and flashed past the cheering old lady. He was an African-American man interacting with white men and women as if this were a natural part of our society, as if other African-American athletes were not protesting the segregation that still existed. Overtly, Simpson sidestepped the entire issue, appearing apolitical, which was how the business community and the audiences accepted him, all of which catapulted him to a level of financial success unknown to most athletes -- black or white -- of his time.

In 1989, Simpson pleaded no contest to a domestic violence charge and was separated from Nicole Brown, to whom he was paying child support. On June 12, 1994 Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman were found dead outside Brown's condominium. Simpson was soon charged with their murders. After failing to turn himself in, he became the object of a low-speed pursuit. The pursuit, arrest and trial were among the most widely publicized in American history. The trial, often characterized as being "the Trial of the Century", culminated on October 3, 1995 in a verdict of not guilty for the two murders. The verdict was seen live on TV by more than half the U.S. population, making it one of the most watched events in American TV history. There has been significant criticism of the prosecution and the police, and many contend that Simpson would have been found guilty had there not been so many mistakes and irregularities made by the prosecution and the police investigation of the case. Conversely, the jury has fallen under criticism for their ruling as well as the defense team for their courtroom tactics. Immediate reaction to the verdict was noted for its division along racial lines.

On February 5, 1997 a civil jury in Santa Monica, California found Simpson liable for the wrongful death of Ronald Goldman, battery against Ronald Goldman, and battery against Nicole Brown. The attorney for plaintiff Fred Goldman (father of Ronald Goldman) was Daniel Petrocelli. Simpson was ordered to pay $33,500,000 in damages. However, California law protects pensions from being used to satisfy judgments, so Simpson was able to continue much of his lifestyle based on his NFL pension. A 2000 Rolling Stone article reported that Simpson also still makes a significant income by signing autographs. He subsequently moved from California to Miami, Florida. In Florida, a person's residence cannot be seized to collect a debt under most circumstances. It was also reported that Simpson's Heisman Trophy was seized as an asset to pay the judgment.

The civil and criminal trials of Simpson were not the only important legal cases that were spawned by the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman on June 12, 1994.

* Gerald Chamales and his wife, Kathleen, bought a house next to Simpson's estate in Brentwood at the corner of Ashford and Rockingham just ten days before the murders of which Simpson was accused. The media circus and hordes of curious tourists tormented them (and the rest of Simpson's neighbors) for the next four years. Their subsequent legal battle with the IRS culminated in the rule that they could not apply the drop in their house's value as a casualty loss deduction on their income tax return, because it was only temporary.

* Simpson's house guest on the night of the murders, Brian "Kato" Kaelin, sued Globe Communications for $15 million after it ran a headline in one of its tabloid newspapers insinuating that Kaelin was the real murderer. The district court granted summary judgment to the defendant, but on appeal, Kaelin convinced the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit that he had a valid claim for defamation. Kaelin settled his lawsuit for an undisclosed amount.

* A New Hampshire intellectual property attorney, William B. Ritchie, challenged the validity of Simpson's trademarks under a federal statute that bars immoral, deceptive, or scandalous subject matter. Ritchie argued that because of the whole sequence of events from 1994 through 1997, Simpson's very name had become immoral and scandalous and thus could not be protected as a trademark. Ritchie convinced the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that he had standing to challenge Simpson's trademarks under the Lanham Act. Simpson has since abandoned his trademarks.

* On September 5, 2006, Ron Goldman's father took Simpson back to court to obtain control over his "right to publicity" for purposes of satisfying the judgment in the civil court case. On January 4, 2007 a federal judge issued a restraining order prohibiting Simpson from spending any advance he may have received on a canceled TV and book deal. The matter was dismissed before trial for lack of jurisdiction. On January 19, 2007 a California state judge issued an additional restraining order, ordering Simpson to restrict his spending to "ordinary and necessary living expenses".
* On March 13, 2007 a judge prevented Simpson from receiving any further compensation from a canceled book deal and TV interview. He ordered the bundled book rights to be auctioned.

Filmography

* Medical Center (TV series) episode The Last 10 Yards (1969)
* Cade's County (TV series) episode Blackout (1972)
* Why (1973)
* Here's Lucy (TV series) episode The Big Game (1973)
* The Klansman (1974)
* O.J. Simpson: Juice on the Loose (made-for-TV) (1974)
* The Towering Inferno (1974)
* The Cassandra Crossing (1976)
* Killer Force aka The Diamond Mercenaries (1976)
* A Killing Affair aka Behind the Badge (made-for-TV) (1977)
* Roots (TV miniseries) (1977)
* Capricorn One (1978)
* Firepower (1979)
* Goldie and the Boxer (made-for-TV) (1979)
* Detour to Terror (made-for-TV) (1980)
* Goldie and the Boxer Go to Hollywood (made-for-TV) (1981)
* Cocaine and Blue Eyes (made-for-TV) (1983)
* Hambone and Hillie (1984)
* 1st & Ten (TV series) (1985-1991)
* Back to the Beach (1987)
* Student Exchange (made-for-TV) (1987)
* The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)
* In the Heat of the Night (TV series) episode Walkout (1989)
* The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991)
* CIA Code Name: Alexa (1993)
* No Place to Hide (1993)
* Frogmen (unaired TV pilot) (1994)
* Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994)
* Juiced with O.J. Simpson (TV pay-per-view) (2006)Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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