Friday, May 1, 2009

Sports Stars in Entertainment: OJ Simpson

Last night, the best game (so far) of one of the greatest NBA playoff series of all time took place, when the Durham Bulls beat the Ireland Celtics in triple overtime to force a game 7 (which ya'll are welcome to watch at my place). Now, it's not often that sports and the entertainment industry collide, but when they do, the results are rarely less than magical. So in honor of the NBA playoffs, the summer baseball season getting going, the recent NFL draft, and some sport called "Stanley Cup" that's having it's playoffs right now, here's a new feature I'll probably forget to ever return to:

Sports Stars in Entertainment
This Week: OJ Simpson

Are there any more lovable figures that crossed the boundary between sports and the entertainment industry than OJ Simpson? Forget all you know about OJ the football player, or whatever other capacity you may know him (I'm not one of those types who likes to observe the personal lives of celebrities-- give them their privacy, people!), because as both a dramatic and comedic actor, OJ "Juice" Simpson has ensured himself a legacy as a true American sweetheart. His IMDb profile tells the full true story of how OJ will be remembered.

Dragnet 1967 (1968): OJ's audacious premiere screen role came as a student in an episode of the classic TV reboot. Experience on a procedural detective drama would prove very useful in the years ahead for OJ, as law enforcement became a prominent theme in his life later on. In his acting roles, I mean.

The Towering Inferno (1974): If anyone knows what it's like to be in an impossible situation with no way out, but then to miraculously escape relatively unscathed against all odds and logic, it's OJ Simpson. There his character was, stuck in a burning building, and he somehow got out of it, even though everyone full well knows he shouldn't have. While good, it's borderline unrealistic, because I can't imagine a real life situation like that.

Killer Force (1976) and A Killing Affair (1977): For some reason these just seemed like notable moments in OJ's past.

The Naked Gun (1988): Here's where OJ finally got to use that law enforcement experience I was talking about. This movie gave OJ the chance to flex his comedic muscles, and showed the world that there was more to OJ than just your standard film star. His Nordberg was lovable, kind, and a little goofy, and I imagine it's the killer role he'll be remembered for.

1st & 10 (1985-1991), The Naked Gun 2 1/2 (1991), and The Naked Gun 33 1/3 (1994): More comedic roles for OJ? Love 'em. By the mid-90s, it seemed like America couldn't hear enough about OJ Simpson. It was the sort of publicity that most actors would do anything short of murder for.

OJ Simpson apparently then took a break from entertainment, either for personal issues or otherwise, which is too bad because it seemed like he was at his popularity's peak. Luckily, he returned to significance with his attempt at the novel, with his murder mystery book titled If I Did It. While it didn't sell terribly well, it was a fascinating work of crime fiction where OJ took on the guise of a murderer. It's a credit to OJ the author that he painted for himself such a realistic depiction of a murderer. If you did "it," Mr. Simpson, you wouldn't be the beloved comedy star you are today.

A photo retrospective:


OJ, you big goofball.

1 comment:

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