While known for a stellar football career and a bizarre high-profile murder trial that gripped the nation, OJ Simpson was also a San Francisco native who attended Galileo High and City College. He died Wednesday of prostate cancer.

Former football star Orenthal James “OJ” Simpson will likely mostly be remembered for a  1994 low-speed chase when he was wanted for murder that CNN described as “one of the most-watched events in TV history,” and the resulting “trial of the century” in which he was found not guilty of the killings.

But Simpson was also a San Francisco native: raised in Potrero Hill, going on to attend Galileo High and SF City College before transferring to USC, and eventually returning for a brief and highly unsuccessful stint with the 49ers (1978-1979).

Simpson's family announced this morning that he died Wednesday of prostate cancer, according to the Chronicle. He was 76.


Simpson’s stellar football career with the Buffalo Bills was highlighted by four NFL rushing titles and five Pro Bowls (though only one playoff game, a loss). He would still become a television and film star through rental car commercials, and his ironic-in-retrospect role as a hapless police detective in the Naked Gun movies.

But Simpson’s legacy will always be tied to the 1994 double-murder of Nicole Brown Simpson (his ex-wife) and Ron Goldman. Simpson surrendered and was arrested after an infamous low-speed chase that was broadcast live across the country. His trial was the most sensational legal proceeding of the 1990s, with Simpson's legal “dream team” of F. Lee Bailey, Johnnie Cochran, Alan Dershowitz, and Robert Kardashian. These lawyers skillfully used gimmicky defenses and catchphrases (“If it doesn't fit, you must acquit”) to gloss over Simpson’s ugly history of domestic violence.


Two years after that trial’s shocking not-guilty verdict, Simpson lost a 1997 civil trial and was forced to pay the victims’ families $33.5 million. Simpson was later found guilty in a 2007 armed sports memorabilia theft, in which he was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and served nine years.

It’s is not discussed much, but Simpson’s estranged father Jimmy Lee Simspon was openly gay, and was an SF drag queen in the 1960s and 70s known around town as “Mama Simpson.” The elder Simpson died of HIV/AIDS in 1986.

Related: O.J. Simpson Gets 15 Years In Prison [SFNews]

Image: LOVELOCK, NV - JULY 20: O.J. Simpson attends a parole hearing at Lovelock Correctional Center July 20, 2017 in Lovelock, Nevada. Simpson is serving a nine to 33 year prison term for a 2007 armed robbery and kidnapping conviction. (Photo by Jason Bean-Pool/Getty Images)