African-American sports personality O.J. Simpson was forced as a child to wear leg braces because of a severe case of rickets. That he mended well is evidenced by his athletic record: U.S.C. football star, 1968 Heisman Trophy winner, a record-setting 2000 yards gained during the 1973 season with the Buffalo Bills, and installment in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. Like many pro footballers, O.J. had yearnings to act, but swore that he'd remain an athlete until his team made it to the Super Bowl. The team didn't, but O.J. did -- act, that is -- and quite well, in such TV projects as Roots and such films as The Towering Inferno (1974) and the riotous Naked Gun trilogy. He also showed up from time to time in the announcing booth on ABC's Monday Night Football and was the "high-flying" star of a series of Hertz Rent-a-Car TV ads. In the spring of 1994, Simpson, who'd previously starred in several failed television pilots like Cocaine and Blue Eyes, had just completed several episodes of the syndicated TV series Frogmen, when he was arrested and accused of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. After a long and highly publicized trial, Simpson was found not guilty in October of 1995.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- His name, Orenthal, was given by his aunt after the name of her favorite French actor.
- As a child he had to wear braces on his legs because he developed rickets.
- Played football for his high school team, the Galileo Lions.
- Attended City College of San Francisco and with the football team won the Prune Bowl.
- Was an aspiring track athlete and ran with the USC sprint relay quartet that broke a world record in 1967.
- Played professional football with the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers.