Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: Simpson, O(renthal) J(ames) (1947– )
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US football player, film and television actor, and sports commentator. Known to sports fans as ‘The Juice’, Simpson was one of the greatest running backs in US football history, and became, in 1973, the first NFL player to rush for over 2,000 yards in a single season. On his retirement from professional sport, he started a new career as a television commentator (1979–86) and also appeared in several films. He became notorious, however, for murder charges of his wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1995, and while he was cleared of criminal charges, a civil jury held him responsible for their deaths.

Career highlights

Rushing 11,236 yards (average 4.7); 61 touchdowns

Receiving 2,140 yards (average 10.5); 14 touchdowns

He led the University of Southern California's Trojans to a Rose Bowl championship and the top ranking in the country in 1967, and in 1968 he set records for the most ball carrying and the most yards gained in a single season. He won several trophies for his record in college football, including the Heisman Trophy. He played as halfback for the Buffalo Bills 1969–78 and the San Francisco 49ers 1978–79. He was named National Football Player of the Decade in 1979, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

Acting career He retired from football in 1979 and acted in several television commercials and the Naked Gun spoof films (1988, 1991, 1994). He was also a popular commentator for Monday Night Football (1983–85).

Arrest and trial Simpson was arrested following a dramatic car chase shown on live televisio, and his court appearances attracted unprecedented media attention. After a nine-month criminal trial the jury deliberated for less than four hours before finding Simpson not guilty. The civil lawsuit, brought by the families of the victims, began in 1996, and in 1997 he was ordered to pay them over $20 million in punitive and compensatory damages.


Simpson, O(renthal) J(ames)

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.