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|Also Known As:||Orenthal James Simpson,O.J. Simpson||Died:|
|Born:||July 9, 1947||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||San Francisco, California, USA||Profession:||Cast ... sports commentator actor football player|
Arguably one of the best running backs in NFL history, Simpson gained celebrity carrying the ball for the Buffalo Bills. With a broad handsome face and winning smile, his transition from sports hero to performer was a natural one. Simpson began his off-field assignments by hosting segments of ABC's "Wide World of Sports" and popping up in movies such as "The Klansman", opposite Richard Burton, and "The Towering Inferno" (both 1974), opposite everybody. He became less enchanted with football and more interested in showbiz though he continued to play the game until 1979. Simpson became best known to the general public as the spokesman for the Hertz car rental company in a series of popular TV ads which began airing in 1975. He was featured performing his patented broken-field running style--in a business suit--en route to a departing plane. These commercials soon became the hallmark of the company and kept Simpson in the public eye.
After his retirement from football, Simpson ventured fulltime into broadcasting and acting, working as a commentator for ABC's "Monday Night Football" and NBC's "NFL Live" pre-game show. In 1986 he joined the cast of HBO's football sitcom, "1st & Ten" as fictional former running back great T.D. Parker, a part he played for five years. Simpson returned to features with a supporting role as the accident-prone officer Nordberg in "The Naked Gun--From the Files of Police Squad!" (1988) and its two sequels.
In June 1994, Simpson was detained and questioned by the LAPD regarding the murder of his estranged wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman. This occurred five years after Simpson pleaded no-contest to beating his wife, serving 200 hours of community service and paying a nominal fine. On July 17, 1994 Simpson was arrested and charged with two counts of murder after leading the LAPD on televised car chase throughout Los Angeles. On the Monday following his arrest Simpson pleaded not guilty to both murders, and the subsequent murder trial received a staggering amount of international publicity from the news and mass media. After a brief deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of "not guilty" on October 3, 1995. Two years later, however, a civil jury found him liable for damages in the murders.
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