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Richland Student Media

Richland Student Media

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Richland Chronicle 5/07/24
Richland Chronicle 5/07/24

O.J. Simpson dies from cancer at 76

Football legend infamous for ‘the trial of the century’
(Staff Photoillustration/Aislyn Smith)

Former American football player and actor Orenthal James “O.J.” Simpson, also known as “The Juice,” died April 10 after a roughly yearlong battle with prostate cancer. At the behest of his family, he was cremated at the Palm Mortuary on April 17 in Las Vegas, the city where he had been living.

Simpson lived for many of his 76 years without controversy and built a solid reputation as a football star. It looked as though he would have an easy-going life during his later years, but hopes of a promising acting career and luxury retirement were dashed when he sprang into the national spotlight for suspicion of murdering his ex-wife and her friend. In the years since, Simpson became one of the most controversial figures in American history.

Simpson was born on July 10, 1947 in San Francisco. Throughout his youth he was in and out of trouble and served time in juvenile detention. After being in trouble for much of his youth, Simpson started playing football in high school and graduated in 1965. In 1967 he enrolled in the University of Southern California and played two seasons with the Trojans as a running back. He earned the Heisman Trophy in 1968 during his senior year and was selected by the Buffalo Bills the following year as a running back. In all, Simpson played in the NFL for 11 seasons, primarily with the Bills. He is the only player in NFL history to have more than 2,000 rushing yards in a 14 game NFL season. Despite the controversies, he is still regarded as one of the greatest running backs of all time.

Simpson left the NFL in 1979 and began pursuing a career as an actor and TV personality. He starred in advertisements and acted in films such as “The Naked Gun” series (1988- 1994) with Leslie Nielsen “No Place to Hide” (1992), and the TV movie “Cocaine and Blue Eyes” (1983), among others.

In June of 1994, an arrest warrant was issued for Simpson by the Los Angeles Police Department for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. After attempting to flee, Simpson was arrested and held in jail until the end of his trial. The trial lasted from January to October 1995 and was watched on live TV by 150 million viewers, according to an article posted by The Los Angeles Times.

Simpson was ultimately acquitted largely due to the jury’s acceptance of the defense arguments about planted evidence and racism on the part of the LAPD. His trial polarized the country. Many of those who wanted him to win hated the LAPD more than they believed him to be innocent. Many of those who wanted him to lose only wanted justice for the murders.

Even though he was acquitted of double murder, Simpson was disgraced in the eyes of the American public.
In 1997, Simpson was found liable for the slayings in a civil trial and ordered to pay a sum of $33.5 million to the families of Simpson and Goldman. Simpson never paid the full amount, only a small fraction of the money was awarded to the families of the victims. Simpson later served almost nine years in federal prison between 2008 and 2017 for kidnapping charges related to a 2007 robbery he was involved in.

Upon his death, Simpson’s estate was placed in a trust with longtime attorney Malcom LaVergne as its executor. LaVergne is promising to fight the over $33 million payout awarded by the jury to the Brown and Goldman families for the murders.

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