O.J. Simpson biography
O.J. Simpson was born on July 9, 1947, in San Francisco, California. After a successful college football career at USC, winning the Heisman Trophy, Simpson went on to star in the NFL as a running back. He left football in 1979 to pursue what would become a relatively successful acting and commentating career. However, Simpson is now best remembered for his arrest and trial in the 1994 murder of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, of which he was found not guilty.
Orenthal James Simpson was born on July 9, 1947, in San Francisco, California. His aunt gave him the name Orenthal—supposedly the name of a French actor she liked.
At the age of 2, Simpson contracted rickets, leaving him pigeon-toed and his legs skinny and bow-legged. He had to wear a pair of shoes connected by an iron bar for a few hours almost every day until he was 5 years old. Simpson's parents separated in 1952. Along with a brother and two sisters, he was raised by his mother (his parents separated in 1952) in the rugged, largely black Potrero Hill district of San Francisco. At age 13, he joined a gang called the Persian Warriors. One fight landed him at the San Francisco Youth Guidance Center for nearly a week in 1962.
Simpson played football at Galileo High School. And after breaking junior-college records at the City College of San Francisco, he was heavily recruited. He gained fame as a two-time All-American halfback for the USC Trojans, setting NCAA records and winning the Heisman Trophy.
Simpson joined the professional Buffalo Bills in 1969, but did not excel until the offense was tailored to showcase his running. Nicknamed "The Juice," Simpson topped 1,000 yards rushing over five consecutive years (1972–76) and led the National Football League four times. In 1973, he became the first NFL player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a single season.
Acting and Commentating Work
After completing his career with the San Francisco 49ers and retiring from professional football in 1979, Simpson moved on to a profitable career as a sportscaster and an actor. He played a man framed for murder by the police in the film The Klansman—a role that would later prove ironic for Simpson.
Simpson also appeared in the Naked Gun film comedies, playing a dim-witted assistant detective, and regularly appeared in TV commercials for the Hertz rental-car company, where he was seen leaping over luggage and other obstacles in an effort to catch a flight. Additionally, he worked as a commentator for Monday Night Football and the NFL on NBC brand.
Nicole Brown Simpson, Ronald Goldman Murders
Simpson married Marguerite L. Whitley on June 24, 1967. They had three children, including Aaren Lashone Simpson, who was born in 1977 and died in 1979—just a month before her second birthday—when she drowned in the family's swimming pool. That same year, Simpson and Marguerite divorced. While still married to his first wife, Simpson met a waitress, Nicole Brown, then just 17 years old.
Simpson and Brown married in 1985 and had two children together.
Nicole Brown Simpson often complained about her marriage to friends and family members, telling them that O.J. was physically abusive and frequently beat her, though he denied ever hitting her. She filed for divorce in 1992.
On June 12, 1994, the bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were found stabbed to death outside of her condominium in Los Angeles' Brentwood area. When evidence led police to suspect Simpson of the murder, he fled (with a disguise and a passport) in his Bronco in a nationally televised slow-speed chase seen. Simpson finally surrendered voluntarily at his mansion, located on L.A.'s Rockingham Avenue.
Later, Simpson pleaded "absolutely, positively, 100 percent not guilty" to the murder charges. His criminal trial, often characterized as "the trial of the century," ended on October 3, 1995, with a jury finding him not guilty of either murder.
Trouble with the Law
Despite his aquittal in a criminal court, in 1997, a civil jury found Simpson liable for the wrongful death of his Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, and ordered him to pay $33 million in damages.
Simpson was planning to publish If I Did It—a hypothetical account of how he would have committed the Brown Simpson/Goldman murders—in late 2006, but after a publishing deal fell through, a federal bankruptcy judge awarded the book's rights to the family of Ronald Goldman. The Goldman family added commentary to the work and re-titled it If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer; the book was published on September 12, 2007.
In October 2008, O.J. Simpson was convicted on 12 counts of armed robbery and kidnapping, along with Clarence Stewart. The two men were found guilty of robbing two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2007. Simpson, who was immediately taken into custody, told police that he had just been trying to reclaim his possessions.
In December 2008, Simpson and Stewart were sentenced to 33 years in prison, with the possibility of parole after nine years. The sentencing came exactly 13 years to the day after Simpson was acquitted of the Brown Simpson/Goldman murders. Simpson is currently serving his sentence at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada.
In May 2013, it was reported that Simpson was seeking a new trial to reinvestigate his robbery/kidnapping charges, claiming that one of his attorneys, Yale Galanter, had given him poor advice during his 2008 trial. "It was my stuff. I followed what I thought was the law," the former running back testified on May 15, 2013, in a Las Vegas courtroom. "My lawyer told me I couldn't break into a guy's room. I didn't break into anybody's room. I didn't try to muscle guys. The guys had my stuff, even though they claimed they didn't steal it." Whether Simpson will be granted a retrial is reportedly the decision of Judge Linda Marie Bell, not of a jury.