Blast from the past

OJ on film


The notorious ex football player and actor turned felon, OJ Simpson was released from prison this past weekend. He was released on parole after spending 9 years behind bars for botched hotel-room robbery of sports memorabilia, and back in the mid 90’s he was famously acquitted for the murder of his ex wife Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles.

Born and raised I San Francisco, Orenthal James “O. J.” Simpson was a gifted athete even from his college days. Simpson attended the University of Southern California (USC), where he played football for the USC Trojans and won the Heisman Trophy in 1968. He played professionally in the NFL as a running back for 11 seasons, primarily with the Buffalo Bills from 1969 to 1977.

He also played for the San Francisco 49ers from 1978 to 1979. In 1973, he became the first NFL player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season. Simpson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. After retiring from football, he began new careers in acting and football broadcasting, but also a career in acting.

Even before his retirement from the NFL, Simpson embarked on a film career with parts in films such as the television mini-series Roots (1977), and the dramatic motion pictures The Klansman (1974), The Towering Inferno (1974), The Cassandra Crossing (1976), Capricorn One (1978), and the comedic Back to the Beach (1987) and The Naked Gun trilogy (1988, 1991, 1994).

But what are his best film projects? Let’s take a look back at the short but fun film career of OJ Simpson.

The Klansman (1974)

Director: Terence Young
Stars: Lee Marvin, Richard Burton, Cameron Mitchell…
Fun fact about the movie: The story goes that Richard Burton was almost perpetually drunk on set that many of his scenes had to be shot with him either sitting or lying down as no one could trust him to remain standing on his feet. Listen carefully and you can quite clearly hear him slur in some scenes. Burton was on three bottles of vodka a day.

The Towering Inferno (1974)

Director: John Guillermin
Stars: Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden…
Fun fact about the movie: Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway left strict instructions that they should not be approached by visitors to the set. McQueen also refused to give any interviews. Paul Newman asked only that he not be “surprised”.

Killer Force (1976)

Director: Val Guest
Stars: Telly Savalas, Peter Fonda, Hugh O’Brian…
Fun fact about the movie: Three of the actors appearing in this film has appeared in James Bond moves. Telly Savalas was Ernst Stavro Blofeld in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). Christopher Lee was Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974). Maud Adams appeared in two Bond movies as two different characters: as Andrea Anders in “The Man With The Golden Gun” and as Octopussy in Octopussy (1983). Some sources claim that Adams appeared uncredited in A View to a Kill (1985).

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)

Director: David Zucker
Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, O.J. Simpson…
Fun fact about the movie: The only “Naked Gun” film in which the current president is not impersonated.

The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991)

Director: David Zucker
Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy
Fun fact about the movie: The love scene between Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley involving a pottery wheel is a send-up of a similar, more romantic scene in Ghost (1990) starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. That movie was directed by Jerry Zucker, co-creator of Police Squad! (1982) with his brother David Zucker who directed this movie.

No Place to Hide (1992)

Director: Richard Danus
Stars: Kris Kristofferson, Drew Barrymore, Illana Diamant…
Fun fact about the movie: Despite starring in this movie, Kris Kristofferson himself has scorned it since. When fans come asking about the picture, he often pretends to not remember even filming it.

Naked Gun 33?: The Final Insult (1994)

Director: Peter Segal
Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy
Fun fact about the movie:
Fun fact about the movie: This was O.J. Simpson’s final film role. He won a Golden Raspberry for Worst Supporting Actor for the film, presumably for his role in his murder trial, which started the following year.


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