24 Things We Forgot About O.J. Simpson - Wealth of Geeks (2024)

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O.J. authored a Hall of Fame-caliber professional football career, an illustrious run in the entertainment industry, and a larger-than-life profile that rendered every other “O.J.” anonymous. Yet, it was the homicide involving his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, that forever clouded O.J. Simpson's image. That tragic murder will be part of this list, as will intriguing facts about O.J. before and after the moment he became infamous.

This list is not a celebration of O.J. Simpson nor an indication of how we might feel about the man. This list is merely a collection ofoft-forgotten factsabout a man who had an outsize impact on American culture while living one of the more unique lives of anyone in his era.

1. He Wrote If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer

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Much of America needed little additional convincing that O.J. was responsible for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. The Juice gave them more reason to hate him, anyway. In 2006, Simpson announced the impending release of O.J. Simpson: If I Did It, Here's How It Happened. HarperCollins agreed to pay O.J. $3.5 millionfor the book, apparently casting discretion aside.

After learning of the public's disdain for the opportunistic deal, the publisher chose not to release the hypothetical horror show. In an odd twist of fate, the Goldman family received the book rights during O.J.'s bankruptcy process. The family changed the title to If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer and published it with alterations, including the family's rationale for publishing.

2. He Gave A Hypothetical Confession

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As years passed, America's fascination with O.J. Simpson's alleged role in the notorious double homicide remained strong. Financially desperate and clinging to relevance, Simpson continued to juice his dubious connection to the event.

No appearance indicates how far Simpson would go to indulge the public's dark fascination like a television special recorded in 2006 but aired in 2018. FOX televised “O.J. Simpson: The Lost Confession?”nearly two and a half decades after the homicides.The bizarre interviewincludes statements like “I know the facts better than anyone” and “In the hypothetical, I put on a cap and gloves.” Even if O.J. didn't do it, this is a profoundly odd move from Simpson and his advisors.

3. Simpson Was One of the Most Marketable Athletes of His Time

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There was a time when O.J. Simpson was synonymous with marketability.Part of what made Simpson's alleged involvement in two grisly homicides was the Windex-clean image he garnered during and after his playing days.

O.J. became one of the faces of Chevrolet in 1970, led a $12.6 million advertising campaign for Hertz in 1974, and was the chief spokesman for TreeSweet orange juice (O.J., get it?). The Hertz deal alonepaid Simpson $550,000 per yearas late as 1992, long afterhis NFL retirement in 1979. Simpson's charisma and Q score ranged well beyond the typical athlete.

4.O.J. Retained His Hall of Fame Status Until His Passing

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As the first running back to rack up 2,000 yards in a season, Simpson was a shoe-in, first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famerinducted in 1985. The five-time First-Team All-Pro player earned several accolades that qualify him as elite, and his Hall of Fame election came before O.J. was controversial.

Once he became controversial, the Pro Football Hall of Fame faced an impossible decision. The rules are clear: “Once elected, nothing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame's bylaws allows forthe removal ofa Hall member.” Thus, O.J. remained in the Hall of Fame through controversy and misstep after misstep.

5. The Juice Had a Promising Acting Career

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Before 1994, most Americans saw O.J. Simpson as a man with everything going for him — including a promising acting career. Simpson honed his acting chops in collegeand appeared inseveral T.V. episodes and filmswhile playing with the Buffalo Bills.

However, Simpson's most memorable roles came after his NFL retirement, with Leslie Nielsen's The Naked Gun series being the highest-profile roles and films. O.J.'s IMDb listings abruptly halted in 1994, and you know why.

6. O.J. Simpson Was Convicted — Just Not of Homicide

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By the time he faced felony charges for kidnapping and armed robbery in 2008, O.J Simpson's star had dwindled to the faint flicker of a firefly. Utterly notorious, anything seemed possible. Therefore, theallegation that Simpson had led a group of armed men to procure sports memorabilia from a Las Vegas hotel room forcefully was not completely shocking.

However, the image of O.J. mopping floors and cleaning gym equipment during a nine-year prison stint was quite the juxtaposition from an acquitted man roaming free after the trial of the century.

7. Simpson Was Found Civilly Liable for the Brown-Goldman Homicides

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O.J. Simpson dodged criminal responsibility for the Brown-Goldman homicides, but we can't say he was never held accountable. A civil jury in California deemed Simpson responsible in a 1997 wrongful death case. The jury awarded the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson $33.5 million, but O.J.avoided payingthe substantial majority of the judgment before passing away in 2024.

Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson's relatives will be considered during the probate process because O.J. never resolved his civil financial obligation.

8. O.J. Lost His Third Child in a Tragic Drowning

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We can't discuss the story of O.J. Simpson (or even theories involving his son Jason) without examining the tragedy of Aaren Simpson. Conceived with O.J.'s first wife Marguerite, Aaren Simpson was the football star's third child and second daughter. Tragically, a 23-month-old Aarendied by drowningafter being left unsupervised around the swimming pool of the couple's California residence.

There is no way to know the toll Aaren's death had on O.J., Marguerite, Jason (who struggled with anger issues and other demons), and the rest of the Simpson family. Tragedy often manifests itself, and Aaren's death may be relevant to later tragedies within O.J.'s orbit.

9. Simpson Received Knife Training in a Dashed TV Movie

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Circ*mstantial evidence surrounding O.J. Simpson's alleged involvement in the Brown-Goldman homicides is overwhelming. In Frogmen, one of his final high-profile roles before seeing his acting career fizzle, Simpsonheld a knife to the throatof his on-screen daughter.

The prosecution in Simpson's criminal trialexplored the relevance of knife-related trainingthe actor received in preparation for the Frogmen role. Considering the manner of the Brown-Goldman homicides, this is yet another eerie “coincidence” that casts doubt on Simpson's innocence.

10. Robert Shapiro Claimed He Called the Not-Guilty Verdict

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The O.J. Simpson trial did not just produce long-term relevance for O.J. (dubious as that relevance was). The lawyers who defended O.J., including Robert Shapiro, maintained long-lasting relevance due to their role in the trial. In 2016,Shapiro revealedto the public what his freshly acquitted client had whispered to him just after the verdict.

Per Shapiro, O.J. told the high-powered attorney, “You told me this would be the result from the beginning. You were right.” Promises made, acquittals delivered.

11. Speculation About O.J.'s Son's Involvement in Nicole Brown's Murder

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While we don't peddle unsubstantiated theories, a competent criminal defense lawyer would float an alternate theory about Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman's tragic and horrific passing. O.J.'s son Jason, who was a physically imposing 24-year-old when the homicides occurred, hadan alarming history of knife-related violence, apparent mental instability, and a history of making threats.

People have also noted a connection between a knit hat found at the crime scene and photographs of Jason Simpson wearing a similar-looking knit hat.One must consider thisseemingly plausible theory to tell the in-depth story of O.J. Simpson.

12. A Post-Trial Interview Was Almost Pay-Per-View

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Critics accuse O.J. Simpson of being callous towards those most harshly affected by the deaths of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson, and they have ample ammunition. Following his acquittal in early October 1995, reports surfaced that O.J. Simpson and his team were considering doing a post-trial interview.

An interview may have been odd but not egregious. What was egregious wasthe reported possibilitythat viewers would have to pay to watch, and analysts speculated that Simpson might receive a $20 million offer thanks to America's fascination with the saga. Perhaps O.J. sensed (correctly) that his income sources had run dry. Even so, the distasteful idea did not come to fruition (perhapsbecause no network could justify the scrutiny of airing the pay-per-view interview).

13. Simpson Attended Nicole Brown's Wake—and Was Mad at Her

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Remember that O.J. Simpson always maintained his innocence of homicide charges, despite whatcertainactions (like writing a hypothetical confession) might suggest. The idea that he would attend his ex-wife's wake is not surprising. Viewers were shocked, though, by one of the many bizarre statements uttered by Orenthal James Simpson in the wake of the gruesome homicides.

More than two decades after the infamous trial, viewers of the FOX special “O.J.: Simpson: The Lost Confession” heard that O.J. was “angry” with the deceased mother of his children following her death. “I just remember seeing her there, and I still had so many feelings… if you are angry with someone when they die, it's not like that anger disappears.”

14. It Wasn't Just O.J. and Al Cowlings in the White Bronco

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There is ample evidence that O.J. Simpson feared a conviction as the investigation of the Goldman-Brown Simpson homicides closed in on him. In the days following the victims' death, O.J. suddenly disappeared rather than turning himself in to the police by 11 a.m. (as agreed upon).

O.J.'s cell phone call to the policeallowed law enforcement to triangulate his positionto Interstate 5 in Orange County, CA. The most infamous car chase in American history ensued and concluded with police apprehending Simpson at his Brentwood homejust before 8 p.m. local time. The discovery of a firearm, afake beard, thousands of dollars (and checks), and a passport suggest O.J. was seriously considering fleeing prosecution.

15. O.J. Wrote His First Controversial Book While Awaiting Trial

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After ending the white Bronco chase, O.J. Simpson was apprehended on charges of capital homicide. Defendants in such cases arenot usually entitled to bail, and O.J.'s flight did not make his attorneys' pursuit of bail any easier. Relegated to jail before the trial, O.J. spent his time responding to fan mail (of which there was certainly no shortage).

The result wasI Want to Tell You: My Response to Your Letters,Your Messages,Your Questions. Released about one month before the conclusion of his trial, the book was panned by many critics as a hollow, disingenuous P.R. move.

16. Arthritis May Have Played a Key Role in O.J.'s Defense

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Criminal defense lawyers often defend their clients by accusing others of the crime, claiming evidence is tainted, or questioning witnesses' credibility. More rare, though, is the “stop taking your arthritis medication” defense allegedly used by O.J. Simpson during his infamous 1994-95 homicide trial.

One of the most lasting images from the trial shows O.J.'s hands aloft, fingers failing to reach the end of too-small leather gloves. We now know that Simpson's hands may havebeen swollendue to a decision to stop taking arthritis medication. If true, it would be one of the most creative, effective defense strategies in the history of high-profile criminal defense.

17. Nicole Brown Simpson Was O.J.'s Second Wife

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The tragic demise of Nicole Brown Simpson (and Ron Goldman) commands an outsized amount of attention within O.J.'s life story, and understandably so. Simpson's marriage to Nicole Brown was the second chapter of his romantic life, though, as he was firstmarried to Marguerite Whitleybetween 1967 and 1979.

Whitley stood by Simpson throughout his NFL career despite the megastar's well-documented infidelity. Ultimately,an affair with Nicole Brown would be the straw that broke the back of O.J.'s first marriage. Potential resentment from O.J.'s oldest children (specifically Jason) towards Nicole would prove relevant during the public's theorizing about her death.

18. Simpson Was the First NFL Running Back to Top 2,000 Yards

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Before his reputation became synonymous with criminal allegations and a lack of self-awareness, O.J. Simpson was the best running back in the National Football League. He achieved Everest-level professional heights, even becoming the first professional running back to reach 2,000 yardsina season.

The fact that the NFL schedule was only 14 games long in 1973 makes the feat all the more impressive. Though the running game has become less prominent in today's NFL,2000-yard rushers are a rarity despite teams playing 17 gamesyearly.

19. The White Bronco Chase Triggered a Spike in Pizza Sales

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You probably knew that O.J. Simpson's low-speed police chase in June 1994 was a boon for news networks, with95 million viewers tuning in. There were residual benefits of Americans' FOMO on the conclusion of the white Bronco sage, and one of them was a spike in pizza sales.

June 17, 1994, was, at the time,Domino's most productive day in history. The can't-look-away nature of the chase and its proximity to dinner time prompted a boon for pizza deliveries. Though nationwide expansion has since broken the record, Domino's can credit O.J. Simpson with a massive sales spike (though the brand might not want that association).

20. O.J. Penned an Apparent Goodbye Note Before Leaving in the White Bronco

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If he had not called the authorities, it's fair to wonder if O.J. would have passed away much sooner. Armed, prepared to travel, and in violation of an agreement to turn himself in, Simpson's flight in the white Bronco could have ended in one of a few ways.

Once it was clear O.J. had fled, authorities searched his home and founda cryptic note. Among other lines, it read, “I can't go on. No matter what the outcome, people will look and point. I can't take that. I can't subject my children to that. This way, they can move on and go on with their lives.”A smiley face at the end makes the note more confounding than it would have otherwise been.

21.Crime Scene Photos Were Carefully Guarded

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Many details about the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman reached the public, and this was enough forever to tarnish O.J.'s image in many Americans' eyes. However, despite broadcasting the trial, Judge Lance Ito prohibited reporters from showing crime scene photos.

ESPN Film's 2016 documentary O.J.: Made in Americagave the public a disturbing glimpseinto the crime scene. While being convinced of Simpson's guilt is one thing, seeing the crime scene prompted an even more visceral reaction from many.

22. The Facts Were Not the Only Factor in O.J.'s Acquittal

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The O.J. Simpson trial and verdict did not happen in a vacuum. The acquittal followed the 1992 race riots in Los Angeles, and studies revealed that sentiments about O.J.'s guiltbroke starkly along ethnic lines.

While nobody denies that O.J.'s team put forth an effective defense, at least one juror hasadmittedthat the not-guilty verdict was “payback”for perceived wrongdoing by the Los Angeles Police Department (and authority in general). It's hard to imagine this rationale sits well with the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.

23. A Prank Show CalledJuicedWas a Real Thing

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Following his acquittal, O.J. Simpson could never quite strike the balance between his prior stardom and the reality that many viewed him as a homicidal maniac. The results of his attempts to monetize his awkward brand of tarnished fame included Juiced.

A hidden-camera prank show thatleaned into knife-centric humor isn't what the public wanted. In fact, anyone inclined to enjoy being pranked wouldn't want O.J. Simpson to deliver the surprise. Clips of the straight-to-DVD failure included O.J. selling a used white Bronco and pretending to stab someone.

24. O.J. Threw a Party After Being Acquitted

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O.J. Simpson never appeared particularly concerned with contrition. He said he was not guilty, and perhaps you could argue his faux admissions of guilt and other strange actions (like throwing a post-trial party) were indications of a clean conscience — just playing devil's advocate here.

West Los Angeles Police Department reportedlyhad to send officers to the Simpson residencein response to a party involving friends, lawyers, family, and “women in pink pantsuits.”Adding insult to the injuries felt by the Goldman and Brown families always seemed to be what O.J. did best.

24 Things We Forgot About O.J. Simpson - Wealth of Geeks (2024)


How much is OJ Simpson worth in 2024? ›

OJ Simpson's net worth was estimated to be around $3 million according to Celebrity Net Worth and, according to TIME magazine, he still owes a lion's share of the $33.5 million judgment a California civil jury awarded to the families of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

How much did OJ pay in punitive damages? ›

Mr. Simpson was acquitted of the murders of Ms. Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in the 1995 criminal trial, but the civil jury in 1997 concluded that he “willingly and wrongfully” caused their deaths, and the unanimous decision included $25 million in punitive damages.

Where is OJ Simpson's daughter now? ›

Since that time, Sydney Simpson has led a largely private life. She pursued a career in real estate and as of 2016 was living in St. Petersburg, Florida, according to the Tampa Bay Times. OJ Simpson mentioned Sydney Simpson and her brother, Justin Simpson, in a 2004 NBC interview with Couric. “They're doing terrific.

How much does OJ owe the Brown family? ›

In 1997, a jury in a civil trial found him responsible for "willingly and wrongfully" causing their deaths. It ordered him to pay $33.5 million, which has ballooned to $114 million due to unpaid interest charges, a Goldman family lawyer told People.

How much did OJ Simpson pay Ron Goldman family? ›

The family received just over $132,000 of the total liability, according to a 2015 court document filed in the civil case. Ron's sister, Kim Goldman, has said it was never about the money, but about holding Simpson accountable.

Does O.J. Simpson still owe money? ›

“He [still] owes on the current status of the judgment,” Cook said, adding that the judgment with accrued interest is now upwards of $114 million. Cook also said that a legal team would need to determine the value of Simpson's estate and whether it's worth posthumously pursuing his debt.

How did OJ lose his money? ›

Much of Simpson's net worth was lost in his criminal trial and in the civil trial that followed.

How much money did O.J. Simpson lose? ›

The executor of OJ Simpson's estate says he will work to prevent a payout of a $33.5m judgment awarded by a California civil jury nearly three decades ago in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

Was OJ Still Married to Nicole? ›

Nicole Brown Simpson (née Brown; May 19, 1959 – June 12, 1994) was the second wife of American football player O. J. Simpson. Brown met Simpson in 1977 and they married in 1985, five years after Simpson had retired from professional American football. Their marriage lasted seven years and they had a daughter and a son.

What was Nicole Simpson buried in? ›

Nicole Brown Simpson is buried in Ascension Cemetery, Lake Forest, California. She was buried on June 16 1994, four days after she was found stabbed to death.

Did OJ sell his house? ›

Simpson put the five-bedroom home up for auction, selling it back to the bank in 1997 for $2.6 million. A local investor picked it up for $3.95 million in 1998 and razed the mansion. He even changed the home's address to reduce any stigma associated with the former football star.

What is OJ Simpson's net worth as of today? ›

Simpson's networth. According to Celebrity Net Worth, it is estimated that Simpson has a net worth of $3 million.

Who does OJ Simpson owe money to? ›

Simpson, who was famously and controversially acquitted of murdering Ron and Nicole Brown Simpson, owed the Goldman family more than $100 million prior to his death.

When did OJ sell his house? ›

Simpson put the five-bedroom home up for auction, selling it back to the bank in 1997 for $2.6 million. A local investor picked it up for $3.95 million in 1998 and razed the mansion. He even changed the home's address to reduce any stigma associated with the former football star.

Is OJ Simpson's number still retired? ›

The Bills' No. 32 jersey was never one of their three officially retired numbers, but it was always synonymous with Simpson, who was drafted first overall in the 1969 draft by Buffalo and spent nine years with the franchise. Simpson is on the Bills' Wall of Fame. Buffalo has retired Jim Kelly's No.


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