For many, the forthcoming The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story is a chance to relive the murders that absolutely captivated a nation twenty years ago. For the younger generation, however, the show will serve as a true exploration of the beginnings of America’s morbid curiosity with tabloid true crime.
It’s been more than two decades since O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the killings of his ex wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman, but the details remain fresh. While the former athlete was later found liable for their deaths in a civil trial, questions still linger over how he was able to walk away. Before Ryan Murphy presents his take on history, here’s how the real players in the “Trial of the Century” have held up.
Simpson wound up where many have long felt he belonged: prison. Now 68, Simpson was arrested in September 2007 after he attempted to steal his own sports memorabilia by holding a group of men at gunpoint. He was subsequently found guilty on four felony counts and sentenced to 33 years in prison at Lovelock Correctional Facility in Nevada. He will be eligible for parole next year.
A year prior to his arrest, Simpson announced plans to write a book called If I Did It, a speculative retelling of Nicole and Goldman’s murders. Publication was ultimately halted, and Goldman’s family was instead given the right to the retelling. It was released in 2007 under the same title, but with a new subtitle: “Confessions of the Killer.”
Johnnie Cochran Jr.
“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” Cochran, Simpson’s lead defense attorney, was colorful and flamboyant, both characteristics he used in the courtroom again and again with clients like P. Diddy, Michael Jackson, Rosa Parks, and Tupac.
Like many other of the so-called Dream Team players, Cochran wrote a book in 2002 called A Lawyer’s Life and appeared on television in an array of guest bits.
Before dying in 2005 at 67 from an inoperable brain tumor, Cochran had built his firm up to include more than 100 lawyers with offices around the country.
Defense lawyer Shapiro initially served as lead counsel for Simpson before Cochran ultimately took over.
Now 73, Shapiro continues to practice law, in addition to penning several books, including The Search for Justice, A Defense Attorney’s Brief on the O.J. Simpson Case, and Misconception. In 2001, he co-founded the online legal technology company LegalZoom, which provides legal solutions in everything from copyrights to wills and trusts.
Shapiro also helped Kim Kardashian, Brian Lee and MJ Eng create ShoeDazzle in 2009.
In addition, the litigator founded The Brent Shapiro Foundation in memoriam for his son, who died after an overdose in 2005. The organization helps fight drug and alcohol abuse through awareness and education.
Before he and Kris Jenner‘s spawn launched their takeover of America, Robert Kardashian was a household name for his association with Simpson and his role as a volunteer legal assistant on the former NFL star’s defense team.
Kardashian famously read Simpson’s note of “innocence” before the athlete began leading the LAPD on a wild goose chase.
The lawyer sadly died in 2003 of esophageal cancer at age 59.
Clark, now 62, was the chief prosecutor during Simpson’s trial. After being thrust into the spotlight (literally – just getting her haircut spawned media coverage), Clark stopped practicing law.
She subsequently began a career as a public speaker, delivering lectures on everything from high profile cases to domestic violence across the country. In 1997, her book on the “Trial of the Century,” titled (appropriately) Without A Doubt became a #1 bestseller, reportedly inking her around $4.2 million.
She served as a legal analyst for NBC, CNBC and MSNBC, and began writing mystery fiction. According to Clark’s website, she’s developed both scripted and reality projects for a slew of networks.
Oh, and she was once on Pretty Little Liars, which is, crazily enough, not about O.J.
Judge Lance Ito
Ito presided over the media-frenzy of a trial (becoming, at one point, its most ridiculous comedic punching bag) and remained in his seat at the Los Angles County Superior Court until he retired just last year.
The 65-year-old presided more than 500 trials since Simpson’s, according to NBC News, and is still married to former detective Margaret Ann York.
Friends told NBC he’s enjoying his retirement and doing lots of BBQing.
F. Lee Bailey
Bailey, 82, is best remembered for cross-examining investigator Mark Fuhrman, who was revealed to have perjured himself during the trial.
In 2001, the attorney was disbarred in Florida for mishandling the stock of a former client convicted of drug smuggling. He was previously disbarred in Massachusetts over the same case. Bailey was later denied his request to practice law in Maine three years ago, despite passing the state’s bar exam.
He also wrote a book — which was published through his website in 2011 — that purported to contain evidence of Simpson’s innocence.
Clark’s co-prosecutor, Christopher Darden, is now a 59-year-old criminal defense attorney.
A father of three, Darden has decidedly avoided the spotlight and told Oprah: Where Are They Now last year that he’s “angry” about the case he’s best known for.
A sometimes legal commenter, he, as well, has authored a bestseller, In Contempt, along with two other crime thrillers.
Fuhrman, a former LAPD detective, was a polarizing figure during the dramatic and lengthy trial after finding the infamous blood-stained glove. The officer was cross-examined by the defense over his use of the n-word and ended up perjuring himself, resulting in a ban from working as a cop.
Despite the ban, Fuhrman has flourished. First writing a book about the case in 1997, the now 63-year-old followed up with six more true crime books covering topics from Terri Schiavo’s death to the JFK assassination.
In addition, Fuhrman serves as a forensic and crime scene expert for Fox News.
Kato Kaelin, the Fabio-haired houseguest (and unspoken freeloader) of Simpson at the time of the murders, was used as a key witness during the trial – and he’s never let it go.
Parlaying his burst in celebrity into small acting parts (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) and various reality television endeavors (Celebrity Boot Camp), Kaelin, now 56, even has his own clothing line.
Kaelin, is, for the record, not a fan of ACS – mainly because they incorrectly portrayed his feelings toward red meat.
Interior designer Faye Resnick, now 58, has recently reemerged as a Bravolebrity.
A close friend of Nicole’s, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star published a book about the late model shortly after her murder called Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted.
The White Bronco
America’s first-ever nationally televised car chase has lived on in infamy. In fact, despite the macabre truth, the White Bronco has even found its place on novelty t-shirts.
So, where did that 1993 two-door hunk of steel end up? At parties across America. Seriously – you can rent it.
The vehicle, which actually belonged to NFL player (and getaway driver) Al Cowlings, was sold for $200,00 to businessman Michael Pulwer after O.J. was acquitted, according to NBC News.
Pulwer, a collector, is described by family as a “porn king,” according to USA Today. The Bronco spent years parked in a garage in Los Angeles, before, in 2012, it was rented to appear outside the Luxor hotel on the Las Vegas strip. Later that year, it wound up at an art exhibit in Greenwich, Connecticut.
While it hasn’t been seen since, that’s likely due to the secrecy surrounding the rental agreements: Pulwer reportedly requires a confidentiality agreement for some time with the relic.
Denise Brown, now 58, served as the voice for her sister during the trial, testifying that Nicole suffered abuse at the hands of the football star.
In the wake of their loss, Brown and her late father Lou established the Nicole Brown Foundation in 1994. The organization helps raise funding for battered women’s shelters, and Denise, who serves as president, travels to speak at shelters schools and hospitals across the country about stopping abuse.
Bob Tur, now Zoey, is the news-helicopter pilot responsible for the lengthy car chase footage that captivated viewers across America.