The O.J. Simpson trial captivated the nation as 100 million viewers waited on edge for a verdict to come down on that October day in 1995.
The premiere of FX’s ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’ thrust the case back into the spotlight and reopened emotional wounds we’re unable to shake.
The Simpson and Goldman family weren’t the only people directly affected by the heinous murders. It changed the lives of everyone involved. The “Dream Team” was celebrated and unfamiliar faces like Kato Kaelin were thrust into the limelight.
Here’s all the people who became famous off the O.J. case.
Johnnie Cochran was a respected civil rights lawyer before taking on the O.J. Simpson case, but his involvement in the trial of the century catapulted him into the national spotlight. Cochran’s polarizing defense led to the Hall-of-Famer’s acquittal and solidified him one of the most sought-after lawyers of our time.
Cochran died in 2005, but his legacy continues.
The late Robert Kardashian gained notoriety as O.J.’s best friend and one of the core members of the “Dream Team.” Robert reactivated his license and acted as a volunteer assistant on O.J.’s defense team and support system for the former NFL star.
But his friendship with Simpson didn’t mean he blindly believed in his innocence. In fact, reports of his belief that O.J. was guilty have plagued Kardashian since the trial ended.
He reportedly said, ‘I have doubts. The blood evidence is the biggest thorn in my side; that causes me the greatest problems. So I struggle with the blood evidence.‘
Kardashian died in 2003.
Al “AC” Cowlings
Al Cowlings and O.J. Simpson’s friendship dates back to high school when they were teammates on the same football team. Cowlings gained notoriety as the White Bronco driver who led police on a freeway chase while O.J. threatened to take his life in the back seat. AC infamously told police, “My name is AC. You know who I am, God damn it!”
AC is portrayed by Malcolm Jamal-Warner on the ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.’
Kato Kaelin was a minor witness in the prosecution’s case against O.J. Simpson, but became one of the best-known names from the trial. Kaelin lived in a guest house on O.J.’s estate, where he was present the night Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman were murdered. His testimony helped the prosecution pin a timeline for the callous killings. Kaelin was deemed a hostile witness by Marcia Clark. He was later mocked for his “surfer” personality.
Christopher Darden was a Los Angeles County District Attorney for 15-years before being assigned to the O.J. Simpson case. Darden became famous for asking O.J. to try on the bloody pair of gloves.
In a 2009 interview with Opran Winfrey, Darden admitted he still believes O.J. is guilty. He also accused Johnnie Cochran of tampering with the infamous glove in 2012.
Fuhrman was an LAPD detective when he became the lead cop on the O.J Simpson trial. But his long history of racism and jokes of police brutality became one of the cornerstones of the racial debates surrounding the trial. He was forced to leave his work as a cop when he was convicted of perjury for lying about his use of racist language.
But he has since enjoyed fame as a television crime commentator, author of true-crime fiction and radio host.
Judge Lance Ito
Judge Ito quickly became one of the most famous American judges for presiding over the Simpson case. He was criticized for allowing cameras in the courtroom and, according to some, making the trial a media circus. After the trial, he presided over an estimated 500 more cases. He has since retired and has not commented on the case.
Kris Jenner & The Kardashians
The Kardashians became a household name during the O.J. Simpson trial, which the FX series certainly never seems to let us forget. Kris Jenner, ex-wife of Robert Kardashian and former best friend of Nicole Simpson, became a familiar fixture in the courtroom during the trial and has given several interviews about her friendship with Nicole in the years since her death. According to Jenner, she and Robert Kardashian disagreed on O.J.’s innocence, driving a wedge into their relationship and ultimately leading to its demise.
Later, Jenner and her daughters became one of the most famous (and most hated) reality show families (you’ve probably heard the name once or twice).
Marcia Clark reached moderate fame working on the Robert John Bardo trial, but it was her role on the O.J. trial that propelled her career into the spotlight. Clark, lead prosecutor on the case, was decried by critics and the public who nitpicked on everything from her voice and personality to her appearance.
Clark resigned two years after O.J. was acquitted and penned a book Without a Doubt with Teresa Carpenter. She has called the FX series, which she says is very close to fact, a “nightmare” she has been forced to relive.
You may know Star Jones for her role on The View and her personal-life drama, but before she was a household name, she was an unknown lawyer and aspiring host. But it was actually the Simpson case which propelled her into the spotlight. Her career reached new heights when she became the chief legal analyst on Inside Edition during the trial. Jones was also notable for being the only journalist to interview O.J. during his civil trial.
Days before Nicole Simpson was murdered, her friend Faye Resnick stayed at her condo. After Simpson’s murder, Resnick collaborated on two books ‘Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted’ and ‘Shattered: In the Eye of the Storm.’ She’s also been a B-list reality show fixture, appearing as somewhat of a sidekick on shows like The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills and Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
Robert Shapiro became widely-known as one of O.J.’s main defense lawyers. Shapiro is also known for his love for the media that led to him holding many press conferences during the O.J. trial. However, personal conflicts (he reportedly didn’t like visiting his clients in jail) and tensions among the team allowed for Cochran to take his place.
While Shapiro doesn’t like to talk about the trial that made him a superstar litigator, he’s capitalized off his fame and co-founded LegalZoom, and ShoeZazzle with Kim Kardashian. He’s successfully defended athletes such as Jose Canseco, Darryl Strawberry, and Vince Coleman.
DNA expert Barry Sheck became nationally known after helping O.J. Simpson’s defense team win an acquittal. He became the go-to expert in the field and eventually co-founded the Innocence Program that uses DNA to exculpate wrong-convicted criminals.