By now, you probably consider yourself an expert on all things O.J. Simpson murder trial-related thanks to FX’s instantly addicting miniseries The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. But we think what you might have forgotten — or maybe never even knew — could fill an article, so… here’s that article.
1. In May 1994, a month before the murders, O.J. Simpson filmed an NBC drama pilot called Frogmen, about a group of former Navy SEALs who operated an A-Team-like business out of a surf shop in Los Angeles. In one scene, Simpson’s character, John “Bullfrog” Burke, holds a knife to a woman’s throat — he thought she was an intruder, but she turned out to be his daughter — and one of his co-stars confirmed the cast had received some knife training. Because Simpson was charged with two murders that June, the project was scrapped, and the two-hour drama was never aired in public.
More interesting facts about Frogmen: For at least one day, the show filmed in front of a cutlery store in Los Angeles, and one of Simpson’s co-stars, Todd Allen, confirmed he visited the store with Simpson… who police suspected later returned to the store and possibly purchased the never-found murder weapon. Another of Simpson’s Frogmen co-stars was Sex and the City alum Evan Handler, who’s currently playing Simpson Dream Team defense attorney Alan Dershowitz in American Crime Story. Handler recently talked to Vulture about working with Simpson. “O.J talked a lot about wanting to get back together with his ex-wife,” Handler said. “He very much played the role of the big brother in the locker room and said to us all, ‘The one piece of advice I’d give you fellas is don’t let your ego f–k up your relationships.’”
2. We might have a clue to who Simpson would back for president (if he still had voting privileges, of course): He was a friend of Donald Trump’s, and even attended Trump’s celeb-packed wedding to Marla Maples in December 1993. Of course, future Trump enemy Rosie O’Donnell was among the 1,000 wedding guests, too.
3. The O.J. trial was good news for true crime TV, but bad news for daytime soap operas. Court TV — relaunched as truTV in 2008 — was a niche network until it broadcast the 1993 Menendez brothers murder trial, and the Simpson trial in 1994, and its resulting popularity led to the proliferation of true crime dramas and news programs on TV today, including the all-true crime cable network, Investigation Discovery. As for soaps, because they were so frequently pre-empted by Simpson trial coverage, viewers got out of the habit of watching them. The Los Angeles Times reported that ABC, CBS, and NBC lost 10 percent of their soap audience during the trial.
4. O.J. Simpson owned a white Ford Bronco. But the white Ford Bronco, the one Simpson rode around in during his infamous slow-speed chase on June 17, 1994, belonged to his friend, and the driver during the slow-speed chase, Al “A.C.” Cowlings. Ford discontinued production of the Bronco in 1996.
5. June 17th, 1994 is an entry in ESPN’s fantastic 30 for 30 series that details Simpson’s Bronco chase and how it overshadowed coverage of several major sporting events that were also happening that day, including Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the FIFA World Cup, Arnold Palmer playing his final U.S. Open round, and the New York Rangers celebrating their Stanley Cup win with a ticker tape parade in New York City.
6. In June, another O.J. Simpson-themed 30 for 30 entry — O.J.: Made in America — will air as a five-episode miniseries. The documentary, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, goes into depth about Simpson’s childhood, college and professional sports careers, and relationships, including details on his father, who came out as gay later in his life and died of AIDS in 1986.
7. When the verdict in the Simpson criminal trial was announced on October 3, 1995, 57 percent of the country — roughly 150 million people — watched the coverage on TV. Among the groups who watched it together: the audience of the Oprah show and New Yorkers gathered in Times Square.
8. Simpson’s house — at 360 North Rockingham in the wealthy Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles — was a major part of the trial, but when new owners took possession in 1998, they demolished everything but the estate’s tennis court. The estate, where Kato Kaelin had lived, where O.J. had lived with his first wife, Marguerite, and second wife Nicole Brown Simpson, and where his nearly two-year-old daughter, Aaren, had died in an accidental drowning in 1979, was sold to Simpson in 1977 by the same real estate agent who leased to actress Sharon Tate the house in which she was murdered by Charles Manson and his “family” in 1969.
Related: The O.J. Simpson Trial: Where Are They Now?
9. Kato Kaelin is best remembered as being O.J. Simpson’s houseguest, but he was actually Nicole Brown Simpson’s friend and tenant first. Kaelin rented her guest house, and sometimes got a discount when he babysit for Nicole’s children with O.J., Sydney and Justin; the kids liked him so much they named their Akita dog after him. But when Nicole moved to a smaller home — the 875 S. Bundy Drive townhouse, where she and Ron Goldman were murdered — Kaelin’s rental space was inside her home, and O.J. reportedly was so unhappy with the living situation that he offered to let Kaelin live on his estate, for free… which not only kept Kaelin away from Nicole, but also deprived her of some rental income. P.S. After the murders, the condo’s address was changed to 879 S. Bundy Drive.
10. From The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson, the book from New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin that serves as the source for FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Simpson Dream Team attorneys Johnnie Cochran and Robert Shapiro were open with their belief that O.J. Simpson was guilty of murdering his ex-wife and Ronald Goldman.
11. Cochran, of course, was the inspiration for Seinfeld’s fast-talking attorney Jackie Chiles. And Chiles portrayer Phil Morris had an up-close-and-personal view of Cochran, because he and his father — Mission: Impossible star Greg Morris — went to the same Los Angeles barber as Cochran. “Initially, Johnnie Cochran was really flattered. I’d see him at the barber shop, [and] he was like, ‘Oh, young man, good job, blah, blah, blah.’ Then after about the fourth time I was on, I get a letter from his law office, basically telling me to cease and desist. I don’t know if I have that letter. I wish I’d kept it,” Morris said in a 2012 interview. “’We appreciate the humor, but it’s getting a little beyond the pale at this point, and we would really appreciate it if you would cease’… well, he had already signed off. They had already gone to him and said, ‘You know, we’re going to use a character that’s very similar, so would you sign off on this?’
“But yes, when I got a letter from Johnnie Cochran, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m doing something right!’”
12. Less than a month after the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, and O.J. Simpson’s arrest, an Arizona company released a set of O.J.-themed trading cards titled “In Pursuit of Justice.” The 10-card set included photo cards (and “stats”) on Simpson’s career, the Bronco chase, and creepiest of all, O.J. and Nicole’s relationship. And yes, there are sets available on eBay.
13. The first famous (or infamous, your choice) Kardashian was O.J. Simpson pal Robert, the man who became an instant celebrity when he read Simpson’s “suicide note” on TV the day of the Bronco chase. Eventually, Kardashian would come to doubt that his friend was innocent of the murders of his ex-wife and Ron Goldman. But in The Run of His Life, Jeffrey Toobin writes that immediately after the murders and O.J.’s arrest, Kardashian was so convinced Simpson wasn’t guilty that he took out a full-page ad in Hits magazine proclaiming his innocence, titled “Justice for The Juice.”
14. Though Kris Kardashian — by then remarried to Bruce Jenner — was angry that her ex was defending O.J. Simpson (who she thought was guilty of the murders), she was also close to O.J. herself at one time. In a surreal music video sung to the tune of Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” and created to celebrate her 30th birthday, Kris Kardashian’s “I Love My Friends” finds her driving around Los Angeles, singing about how much she loves her friends and their lives, which includes Cheesecake Factory noshes and Judith Lieber bags. And one of the friends who pops up in the video to sing along: O.J. Simpson.
15. Real Housewives of Beverly Hills frequent guest star Faye Resnick was a close friend of Nicole Brown Simpson, and she wrote a book about their friendship shortly after Nicole’s death. In Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted, Resnick wrote about another current RHoBH star, Kathryn Edwards, claiming Edwards knew her husband — football star and O.J. close friend Marcus Allen — was unfaithful to her. Edwards’s unhappiness with being name-checked in the 1994 book is a current topic of (heated) discussion on the Bravo reality series, but the Simpson connections to the RHoBH stars gets even weirder. Resnick also wrote in her book that Nicole Brown Simpson had a running affair with Allen, and that O.J. knew about it. In spite of that, he not only wrote a message for Allen in his June 17, 1994 “suicide note,” but he also opened his Rockingham estate to Allen and Edwards for their 1993 wedding. Simpson’s suicide note message to Allen: “Marcus, you’ve got a great lady in [Kathryn], don’t mess it up.”
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.