Controversial life of OJ Simpson: From NFL star to murder suspect in 'trial of the century'

11 April 2024, 18:49 | Updated: 11 April 2024, 18:51

OJ Simpson, the controversial former NFL star who also pursued an acting career, has died of cancer at the age of 76.
OJ Simpson, the controversial former NFL star who also pursued an acting career, has died of cancer at the age of 76. Picture: Getty

By Emma Soteriou

OJ Simpson died aged 76 on Wednesday following a short battle with cancer.

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His family announced that he had died in a statement on Thursday, saying: "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 former NFL star was controversially cleared of double murder in the 'trial of the century' in 1995.

Read more: Former American footballer OJ Simpson who was controversially cleared of double murder dies age 76 after cancer battle

OJ Simpson has died at 76

Simpson first rose to fame as a college footballer before playing in the NFL.

He was chosen first in the draft by the Buffalo Bills and played for them for nine seasons before joining the San Francisco 49ers.

He became one of the most successful and popular sports stars of his generation, being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

After Simpson retired from the NFL in 1979, an acting career beckoned, with him becoming one of the TV glory boys as a commentator and then an actor in films.

A young Simpson was among the supporting cast of 1976 thriller The Cassandra Crossing, making his way from American football star to movie hero.

He got the part after it was turned down by James Coburn.

Simpson went on to feature in the 1989 comedy film The Naked Gun: From the Files Of Police Squad! - starring alongside Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley and George Kennedy.

He revisited his role as a detective sidekick in the Naked Gun follow-ups The Smell Of Fear and The Final Insult.

Simpson also appeared in 1974 drama The Klansman, disaster film The Towering Inferno and starred in his own hidden-camera prank TV show Juiced With OJ Simpson.

Motorists stopped to wave as police cars pursued the Ford Bronco
Motorists stopped to wave as police cars pursued the Ford Bronco. Picture: Getty

Simpson was acquitted of the murder of his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1995.

The pair were found stabbed to death outside Brown's home in LA in 1994, with Simpson quickly emerging as a suspect.

He was ordered to surrender himself to police but instead fled in his white Ford Bronco.

The car chase that led to Simpson's arrest and the subsequent trial were televised live and were media sensations.

Famously, Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian's father Robert Kardashian was a member of his defence team.

An estimated 100 million people nationwide tuned in to watch or listen to the verdict.

Simpson was later found responsible in a civil trial and ordered to pay more than $33m in damages to the families.

He went on to be jailed following an armed robbery in Las Vegas in 2007 and served a lengthy sentence before being released in 2017.

He was discharged from parole in December 2021.

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