O.J. Simpson (1947-2024)


By Erik Pedersen, Greg Evans | Deadline

O.J. Simpson, the college and NFL football legend, Hollywood actor, broadcaster and pitchman, died Wednesday of cancer, his family has announced. He was 76.

“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. -The Simpson Family.”

Simpson was accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman outside her West Los Angeles apartment in June 1994 that led to the infamous slow-speed pursuit that captivated the nation and much of the world.

Gavel-to-gavel coverage on TV and radio transfixed millions and introduced many to the concept of DNA evidence. The jury of 10 women and two men, who had been sequestered for many months, took less than three hours to return its not-guilty verdict in both killings.

Simpson was among the greatest football players ever, winning a Heisman Trophy and national at USC before moving to the NFL in 1968. He became the first player to rush for more than 2,000 yards, in 1973.

His amiable personality and good looks made Simpson a natural for show business. He guested on late-’60s TV series including Dragnet, It Takes a Thief, Medical Center and Ironside and went on to star in commercial for Chevrolet and Hertz — famously running through airports and leaping over benches for the latter — before becoming a broadcaster. He was a commentator for ABC’s juggernaut Monday Night Football from 1983-85.

Simpson continued to guest on popular TV shows into the 1970s before co-starring in the 1974 disaster epic The Towering Inferno opposite such huge names as Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden and Faye Dunaway. He went on to appear in an episode of Roots and several films through the ’70s, culminating in a star turn in the 1979 pic Capricorn One, which depicted a faked mission to Mars. He played an astronaut along with James Brolin and Sam Waterston. Elliott Gould and Hal Holbrook also starred.

But Simpson’s most famous screen role would come nearly a decade later. He was cast opposite Leslie Nielsen in David Zucker’s 1988 comedy gem The Naked Gun. Based on the short-lived 1982 CBS series Police Squad!, the pic featured Simpson as the accident-prone Detective Norberg, and he would reprise the role in two sequels: The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991) and The Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994).

Note(s): I removed some text from this article. The full article can be found at the link at the top (under the picture).