"Fame," O.J. said, walking along, "is a vapor, popularity is an
accident, and money takes wings. The only thing that endures is
"Where'd you get that from?" [Al] Cowlings asked.
"Heard it one night on TV in Buffalo," O.J. said. "I was
watching a late hockey game on Canadian TV and all of a sudden a
guy just said it. Brought me right up out of my chair. I never
--SI, Nov. 26, 1979
Fame is a vapor, and his has evaporated, leaving only infamy for
O.J. Simpson. Still, there is a positive lesson he has drawn
from infamy, and it is this: Chicks dig it.
"I've discovered that infamy is a lot more attractive than
fame," Simpson said with a wry chuckle on a Los Angeles radio
station last week. "Because I've certainly had a lot of offers."
The man gets mountains of fe-mail, of every description. "I got
my share, believe me, of the 68-year-old woman naked in cowboy
boots," he told tittering deejays on KKBT-FM's House Party
morning show. Still, Juice maintained, reports that he is
getting plenty of action of the nonlegal variety are a bit
exaggerated. "I was getting more than any guy in history, from
what I read," he said with a laugh.
Just because he was acquitted of murdering ex-wife Nicole Brown
Simpson, O.J. seemed to say, it doesn't mean he's no longer a
lady-killer. If you catch his drift.
Popularity is an accident, and his has been towed away, leaving
Simpson to see if any of its constituent parts can be salvaged.
Thus he appeared on Black Entertainment Television to talk about
how much he doesn't talk about all those things he does for the
black community. "I'm not looking for people to reward me or to
get accolades for things that I do," he said. "I don't need
people to know that I give a scholarship to black men every
year. I don't need them to know that I buy trophies and uniforms
for my neighborhood, which is predominantly black...."
And so he bites his tongue and remains magnanimous, refusing to
criticize the families of the murder victims, even though, as he
told BET, "there's a side of me that's a little pissed at Fred
Goldman and the Browns."
Who could blame him if he did lash out? TV stations have
obstinately refused to carry ads for his video. The Riviera
Country Club has made it clear that it doesn't want him to
return, just when his golf game was shaping up. When he had a
pair of Los Angeles Times reporters over to the estate last
week--while making a point that he broke up with his ex-wife, not
the other way around, as reported--he said a funny thing. "My
handicap went down a few strokes in May after we broke up," he
said with his trademark chortle. Then his assistant served soft
drinks in glasses embossed with photos of the Juice in full
Money takes wings, and his is flying away like a hawk, which is
precisely what Simpson is doing to recover that cash: hawk. As
you may have heard, he has a video out, and Simpson has spent
the past fortnight flogging it. On the radio (twice), in the
Times, on BET and CNN (also twice), he has put in more plugs
than Sy Sperling.
Of course the true financial beneficiaries of his ex-wife's
murder are members of her family. "Who has benefited most by all
of this?" Simpson asked on his radio House Party. "It's quite
obvious....There are a few members of [Nicole's] family who are
now better off financially and materially."
Yet, somehow it is Simpson who is being sued. So he has given a
deposition in which he testifies that he "never ... slapped,
hit, strangled, choked, beat or hurt" his ex-wife, though he
concedes that the couple had occasionally "rassled." Of course
some of our finest Americans rassled, from Abe Lincoln to Hulk
Hogan, which may be why Simpson told BET, "If all American
families were like my family, this country'd be a lot better
Sure, he cracked the windshield of a Mercedes with a baseball
bat once after speaking with Nicole, but "I wouldn't
characterize this as an argument," he said in the deposition.
"We were having a discussion." For those who think he abused his
ex-wife--such as his ex-wife, who said so in her diary--well,
they're deeper in denial than Moses ever was.
After all, Nicole was "the love of my life" he said on the
radio, while dedicating the Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men duet
One Sweet Day to her. He sniffled as it played and plugged the
video six times. Privately that same week, Simpson gave his
deposition, calling Nicole a liar and linking her to "drugs" and
Fame is a vapor, popularity is an accident and money takes
wings. The only thing that endures is character. "I never forgot
it," said O.J. Simpson.
COLOR PHOTO: ANDREW INNERARITY/AP [O.J. Simpson holding golf club]