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OJ Simpson, legendary footballer and actor dejected by murder trial, dies at 76 | Natlnewsap

OJ Simpson, legendary footballer and actor dejected by murder trial, dies at 76 |  Natlnewsap


LAS VEGAS (AP) OJ SimpsonThe soccer star and Hollywood actor was acquitted of charges he killed his ex-wife and her friend in a trial that fascinated the public and exposed divisions over race and policing in America, is dead. He was 76 years old.

The family announced the Simpson's official X account that he died Wednesday of prostate cancer. He died in Las Vegas, officials said Thursday.

Simpson gained fame, fortune and adulation through football and show business, but his legacy was forever changed by the knife murders of June 1994 of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and his friend Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles. He was later found responsible for those deaths in a separate civil case and then served nine years in prison on unrelated charges.

Goldman's father, Fred, and sister, Kim, released a statement acknowledging that hope for true accountability has ended.

The news of Ron's killer's death is a mix of complicated emotions and reminds us that the journey through grief is not linear, they wrote.

Live television coverage of Simpson's arrest after a famous low speed chase scored a superb fall from grace.

He had seemed to transcend racial barriers as a star defender for the powerful University of Southern California Trojans in the late 1960s, as a car rental advertising pitchman rushing through airports in the late 1960s. 1970s and as the husband of a blonde and blue woman. was the high school prom queen in the 1980s.

I'm not black, I'm JO, he liked to tell his friends.

His trial captured America's attention on live television. The affair triggered debates about racegender, family violencecelebrity justice and police misconduct.

The evidence found at the scene seemed overwhelmingly against Simpson. Drops of blood, bloody footprints and a glove were there. Another glove, stained with blood, was found at his home.

Simpson did not testify, but the prosecution asked him to try on the gloves in court. He struggled to squeeze them in his hands and uttered his only three words of the trial: They're too small.

His attorney, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., told jurors: “If you don’t like it, you must acquit.”

The jury found him not guilty of murder in 1995, but a separate civil trial jury found him responsible in 1997 for those deaths and ordered him to pay $33.5 million to Brown's relatives. and Goldman.

A decade later, still in the shadow of the wrongful death verdict in California, Simpson led five men he barely knew into a confrontation with two sports souvenir sellers in a cramped hotel room in Las Vegas. Two men with Simpson had weapons. A jury convicted Simpson of armed robbery and other crimes.

Imprisoned at 61, he served nine years in a remote Nevada prison, including a job as a janitor at a gym. He was not contrite when he was released on parole in October 2017. the parole board heard it insists once again that he was only trying to recover memories and family heirlooms that were stolen from him after his criminal trial in Los Angeles.

I've pretty much had a conflict-free life, you know, said Simpson, whose parole completed at the end of 2021.

Public fascination with Simpson never faded. Many wondered if he was punished in Las Vegas for his acquittal in Los Angeles. In 2016, he was the subject of an FX miniseries and a five-part ESPN documentary.

“I don't think most Americans believe I did it,” Simpson told the New York Times in 1995, a week after a jury determined he did not kill Brown and Goldman. I received thousands of letters and telegrams from people who supported me.

Twelve years later, following a wave of public outrage, Rupert Murdoch canceled a planned book by News Corp.-owned HarperCollins in which Simpson offered his hypothetical account of the murders. It was to be called If I Did It.

The Goldmans family, always pursue stubbornly the multi-million dollar wrongful death judgment, took control of the manuscript. They renamed the book If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer.

It's all blood money, and unfortunately I had to join the Jackals, Simpson told the Associated Press at the time. He raised $880,000 in advance for the book, paid through a third party.

This helped me become debt free and secure my property, he said.

Less than two months after losing the rights to the book, Simpson was arrested in Las Vegas.

Simpson played 11 seasons in the NFL, nine of which were with the Buffalo Bills, where he became known as The Juice and ran behind an offensive line known as The Electric Company. He won four NFL rushing titles, totaled 11,236 rushing yards in his career, scored 76 touchdowns and made five Pro Bowls. His best season was 1973, when he rushed for 2,003 yards, the first running back to break the 2,000 rushing yard mark.

I was part of the history of the game, he said years later. If I did nothing else in my life, I would have left my mark.

The Simpsons' rise in football occurred simultaneously with a career in television. He signed a contract with ABC Sports the night he won the Heisman Trophy in 1968. The same year, he appeared in the NBC series Dragnet and Ironside. During his professional career, Simpson was a color commentator for a decade on ABC, followed by a stint on NBC. In 1983, he joined ABC's Monday Night Football.

Simpson became a charismatic pitchman. In 1975, Hertz made him the first black man hired for a national corporate advertising campaign. The ads show Simpson running through airports toward the Hertz office and young girls chanting Go, OJ, go! were omnipresent.

Simpson made his big screen debut in 1974 in The Klansman, an exploitation film in which he starred alongside Lee Marvin and Richard Burton. The film was unsuccessful, but Simpson went on to appear in several dozen films and television series, including 1974's The Towering Inferno, 1976's The Cassandra Crossing, 1977's Roots, and 1977's Capricorn One.

Most notable, perhaps, was 1988's The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad and two sequels. Simpson played Detective Nordberg in the slapstick films, opposite Leslie Nielsen.

Of course, Simpson gained other fame.

One of the items from his murder trial, the tailored beige suit he wore during his acquittal, was donated and displayed at the Newseum in Washington. Simpson had been told the suit would be in the Las Vegas hotel room, but it wasn't there.

Orenthal James Simpson was born July 9, 1947, in San Francisco, where he grew up in government-subsidized housing.

After graduating from high school, he enrolled at City College of San Francisco for a year and a half before transferring to the University of Southern California for the spring 1967 semester.

He married his first wife, Marguerite Whitley, on June 24, 1967, moving her to Los Angeles the next day so that he could begin preparing for his first season with USC which, thanks in large part to Simpson, won the national championship in this year.

The day he accepted the Heisman Trophy, his first child, Arnelle, was born.

He had two sons, Jason and Aaren, with his first wife; one of these boys, Aaren, drowned as a child in a swimming pool accident in 1979, the same year of his divorce from Whitley.

Simpson and Brown married in 1985. They had two children, Justin and Sydneyand divorced in 1992. Two years later, Nicole Brown Simpson was found dead.

We don't need to go back and relive the worst day of our lives, he says. told AP 25 years later double murders. The topic of the moment is the topic I will never return to again. My family and I have moved into what we call the non-negative zone. We focus on the positives.

Biographical material for this story was written by former AP Special Correspondent. Linda German.




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