O.J. Simpson

O.J. Simpson, the renowned football icon and Hollywood actor, known for his achievements on the field and screen, has passed away at the age of 76 after a battle with prostate cancer. The announcement came from Simpson’s family on his official X account, with his attorney confirming the news to TMZ, stating that Simpson died in Las Vegas.

In a post on Simpson’s X account, the family shared, “On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren. During this time of transition, his family asks that you please respect their wishes for privacy and grace.”

While Simpson gained fame and fortune through his successful football career and acting endeavors, his legacy was forever altered by the tragic events of June 1994. The brutal murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman shocked the nation. The bodies were discovered outside Brown Simpson’s condo in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles.

Following the discovery, Simpson became a person of interest in the case. Instead of surrendering to authorities, he embarked on a widely televised low-speed chase through Los Angeles as a passenger in a white Ford Bronco driven by former NFL player Al Cowlings. The dramatic chase captivated an estimated television audience of 95 million, with live coverage interrupting regular programming, including the NBA Finals.

Simpson gained widespread popularity across society as the Heisman Trophy-winning tailback for the University of Southern California in the late 1960s, as a rental car ad pitchman rushing through airports in the late 1970s, and as a commentator for “Monday Night Football” and an actor in movies such as “The Naked Gun” series in the 1980s.

The public was mesmerized by his “trial of the century” on live TV. It featured lead prosecutor Marcia Clark against a “legal dream team” for Simpson led by Johnnie Cochran, who famously pleaded to the jury during closing arguments, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” a reference to a glove matching one found at the scene of the murders. His case sparked debates on race, gender, domestic abuse, celebrity justice and police misconduct.

A criminal court jury found Simpson not guilty of murder in 1995, but a separate civil trial jury found him liable in 1997 for the deaths and ordered him to pay $33.5 million to family members of Brown and Goldman.

A decade later, still shadowed by the California wrongful death judgment, Simpson led five men he barely knew into a confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers in a cramped Las Vegas hotel room. Two men with Simpson had guns. A jury convicted Simpson of armed robbery and other felonies.

Imprisoned at age 61, he served nine years in a remote northern Nevada prison, including a stint as a gym janitor. He was not contrite when he was released on parole in October 2017. The parole board heard him insist yet again that he was only trying to retrieve sports memorabilia and family heirlooms stolen from him after his criminal trial in Los Angeles.

“I’ve basically spent a conflict-free life, you know,” said Simpson, whose parole ended in late 2021.

O.J. Simpson earned fame, fortune and adulation through football and show business, but his legacy was forever changed by the June 1994 knife slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles. 

Simpson remained a captivating figure in the public eye, with ongoing debates about whether justice had been served in his acquittal in Los Angeles. In 2016, he was the focus of both an FX miniseries and a five-part ESPN documentary, reigniting interest in his controversial saga.

Reflecting on public perception, Simpson told The New York Times in 1995, just a week after his acquittal, “I don’t think most of America believes I did it. I’ve gotten thousands of letters and telegrams from people supporting me.” However, public sentiment shifted over time, leading to backlash against plans for a book by News Corp-owned HarperCollins titled “If I Did It,” in which Simpson offered a hypothetical account of the killings. After public outcry, Rupert Murdoch canceled the project, and control of the manuscript was handed over to Goldman’s family, who retitled it “If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer.”

Speaking about the controversial book, Simpson acknowledged the financial aspect, stating, “It’s all blood money, and unfortunately I had to join the jackals.” He received $880,000 in advance money for the book, which helped him alleviate debt and secure his home.

Despite the legal battles and controversies surrounding him, Simpson’s athletic achievements remain noteworthy. He enjoyed a successful NFL career, playing 11 seasons and earning acclaim as one of the greatest running backs of all time. With the Buffalo Bills, he won four NFL rushing titles, rushed for over 11,000 yards, and set numerous records, including being the first running back to surpass 2,000 rushing yards in a single season in 1973.


ears later, reflecting on that season, he remarked, “I was part of the history of the game. If I did nothing else in my life, I’d made my mark.”

Following his football career, Simpson found himself in the spotlight for other reasons. One notable artifact from his infamous murder trial is the tan suit he wore when he was acquitted, which was later donated and displayed at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Simpson had expected to find the suit in his Las Vegas hotel room, only to discover it wasn’t there.

Born on July 9, 1947, in San Francisco, Simpson grew up in government-subsidized housing projects. After a brief stint at City College of San Francisco, he transferred to the University of Southern California in the spring of 1967. Simpson married his first wife, Marguerite Whitley, on June 24, 1967, just before beginning his successful football career at USC, where he helped secure the national championship for the team.

In 1968, Simpson clinched the Heisman Trophy, accepting the award on the same day his first child, Arnelle, was born. He and Marguerite also had two other children, Jason and Aaren, before divorcing in 1979, the same year their daughter Aaren tragically drowned in a swimming pool accident.

Simpson later married Nicole Brown in 1985, with whom he had two children, Sydney and Justin, before their divorce in 1992. Brown’s tragic murder in 1994 marked a turning point in Simpson’s life, thrusting him into the media spotlight once again.

Reflecting on the events years later, Simpson expressed a desire to move forward, stating, “We don’t need to go back and relive the worst day of our lives… My family and I have moved on to what we call the ‘no negative zone.’ We focus on the positives.”

By Jammy

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