| ||Born: July 9, 1947 (1947-07-09) |
|NFL Draft: 1969 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1|
|College: Southern California|
|Stats at NFL.com|
|Career Highlights and Awards|
|Pro Football Hall of Fame|
|College Hall of Fame|
Orenthal James "O. J." Simpson (born July 9, 1947) (also known by his nickname, The Juice) is an American athlete 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.
Besides his Hall of Fame career, 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 (see O. J. Simpson murder case). 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 He gained further notoriety in late 2006 when he wrote a book titled If I Did It, withdrawn by the publisher just before its release, which purports to be a first-person fictional account of the murder had he actually committed it (the book would later be released by the Goldman family and the title of the book was expanded to If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer). In September 2007 Simpson faced more legal troubles, as he was arrested and subsequently charged with numerous felonies including but not limited to robbery with a deadly weapon, burglary with a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, first degree kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon (carries possible life sentence), coercion with use of a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and conspiracy to commit a crime.
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.
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 in 1967 when he ran for 1,451 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. 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. Another dramatic touchdown in the same game is the subject of the Arnold Friberg oil painting, O.J. Simpson Breaks for Daylight.
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 consensus All-American.  He also ran in the USC sprint relay quartet that broke the world record at the NCAA track championships in Provo, Utah in June 1967.
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.
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. After the murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman on June 12, 1994, he was acquitted of all criminal charges in a now infamous court case, but was found liable for the wrongful deaths of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman in a civil case in 1997.
Even before 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 with Melissa Michaelsen 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.
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 of the U.S. population, making it one of the most watched events in American TV history. 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. In February 1999 an auction of Simpson's Heisman Trophy and other belongings netted almost $500,000. The money went to the Goldman family. His payment for appearing in the video game All Pro Football 2K8 was also seized. 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. The Goldman family also tried to collect Simpson's NFL pension of $22,000 a month but also failed to collect any money. 
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.
On March 8, 2004, Satellite television network DirecTV Inc. accused Simpson in a Miami federal court of using illegal electronic devices to pirate its broadcast signals. The El Segundo, California-based company later won a US$25,000 judgment, and Simpson was ordered to pay US$33,678 in attorneys' fees and costs.
|This section documents a current event. |
Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.
On September 14, 2007, Simpson was questioned with regard to missing memorabilia at Palace Station Casino. He admitted taking the items, which he said had been stolen from him, but denied breaking into a room, as well as the allegation that he or people with him carried weapons. However, investigators named him a suspect at first and questioned him.
On September 15, one of the alleged accomplices, Walter Alexander, was arrested and charged with two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, one count of conspiracy to commit robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of burglary with a deadly weapon. Alexander was on his way to McCarran International Airport when he was approached by the police. Earlier in the day, police executed a search warrant at the home of one of the men and recovered two handguns: a .22 caliber Beretta and a .45 caliber Ruger.
On September 16, Las Vegas police arrested Simpson, and initially held him without bail. Simpson was charged with robbery using a deadly weapon as well as conspiracy to commit robbery, burglary with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and coercion. Simpson, was listed as inmate number 2648927, and scheduled to appear before a court on September 20, 2007. If convicted of all charges, he could face more than 60 years imprisonment.
On September 18, the Clark County, Nevada District Attorney charged Simpson, Alexander, Clarence Stewart, and Michael McClinton with multiple felony charges, including criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, assault, robbery, and using a deadly weapon.
On September 19, 2007, Simpson, represented by attorneys from Florida and Nevada, was granted a bail of US$125,000. Justice of the Peace judge Joe Bonaventure Jr. who presided over the hearing, stated the Simpson is not allowed to have any contact with any of the co-defendants and that Simpson must surrender his passport. Simpson did not enter a plea.