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Key events in O.J. Simpson’s fall from sports hero and movie star

O.J. Simpson’s story represents one of the most dramatic falls from grace in the history of American pop culture.

A beloved football hero in the 1960s and ’70s, he transitioned effortlessly to movie star, sports commentator and TV pitchman — roles he kept until the 1994 killings of his ex-wife and her friend. A jury acquitted him, but many still believe he was responsible for the grisly slayings.

Here’s a timeline of major events in the life of Simpson, who died Wednesday at age 76 after battling prostate cancer.

1967: Leads all college running backs in rushing in his first season at the University of Southern California.

1968: Wins the Heisman Trophy, college football’s top honor.

1969: Picked first in the pro draft, he spends the next nine seasons with the Buffalo Bills.

1973: Becomes the first NFL player to rush for 2,000 or more yards (2,003) in a season.

1979: Retires, having rushed for 11,236 yards, second-most in NFL history at the time.

1985: Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

1988: After appearing in TV shows and commercials since the late 1960s, co-stars in the first of the “Naked Gun” crime comedies, perhaps his most popular role.

1992: Nicole Brown Simpson files for divorce after seven years of marriage. It becomes final Oct. 15.

June 12, 1994: Nicole Simpson and a friend, Ronald Goldman, are stabbed to death outside her Los Angeles home.

June 17, 1994: Ordered to surrender, Simpson flees instead in a white Ford Bronco, leading police on a nationally televised slow-speed chase across California freeways.

June 1995: During the murder trial, a prosecutor asks him to put on a pair of gloves believed worn by the killer. They appear too small, and defense attorney Johnnie Cochran tells jurors: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

Oct. 3, 1995: Simpson is acquitted.

February 1997: The jury hearing a civil suit finds Simpson liable for the deaths and orders him to pay the victims’ families $33.5 million.

July 2007: A federal bankruptcy judge awards to Goldman’s family the rights to a book written as a first-person account in which Simpson discusses how he could have committed the murders. The family renames the book “(If) I Did It: Confessions of the Killer.”

September 2007: Confronts two sports-memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room, angrily telling them that most of what they’re planning to sell is rightfully his.

October 2008: Found guilty, along with co-defendant Clarence “C.J.” Stewart, of kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and conspiracy; four other accomplices took plea deals and received probation.

December 2008: Sentenced to nine to 33 years and sent to Lovelock Correctional Center in northern Nevada.

October 2010: Is denied an appeal by the Nevada Supreme Court. Stewart is granted a new trial, takes a plea deal and is released.

July 2013: Asks the Nevada Parole Board for leniency, saying he has tried to be a model prisoner. He wins parole on some convictions but is left with at least four more years to serve.

July 2017: Is unanimously granted parole by a board that cites the low risk he might commit another crime, his community support and a release plan that includes moving to Florida, where he has family.

October 2017: Is released from Lovelock Correctional after serving nine years for the botched hotel-room heist.

January 2018: Dodges an effort to force him to turn over cash from signing autographs to satisfy the $70 million-plus civil judgment for the killings.

March 2018: Fox TV invites viewers “inside” Simpson’s head by airing a previously unseen 2006 interview in which he theorizes about what happened the night his ex-wife was murdered. The broadcast includes his fictionalized “lost confession” to the killings.

June 2019: Says he’s happy and healthy in Las Vegas 25 years after the killings. “Life is fine,” Simpson told The Associated Press, adding that he and his children “don’t need to go back and relive the worst day of our lives.”

April 2021: Settles his lawsuit claiming The Cosmopolitan’s workers defamed him by telling a celebrity news site that he had been banned for being drunk and disruptive. Attorneys for the hotel-casino said his reputation was already too tarnished.

December 2021: Granted good behavior credits, he’s discharged from parole.

May 2023: Announces that he has undergone chemotherapy for cancer.

February 2024: Denies entering hospice care, saying he was hosting friends at a Super Bowl party and that “all is well.”

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