Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Oh Happy Day! 'Till Death Do Us Part...

Maybe I'm a Fool
To Feel the Way I Do
But I Would Play the Fool Forever
Just to Be With You Forever

I Believe in You and Me
The Four Tops

STAR - through friends of Nicole and industry insiders - has obtained a sneak peek at this extraordinary footage.

It tells the story of the first day of their marriage - a tragic union that ended in divorce seven years later, and that ultimately led to the most sensational murder case in American history.

The video opens with Nicole getting ready on Feb 2, 1985, for the big event at their Brentwood mansion, the same spot where O.J. surrendered to police after the Bronco freeway chase watched by millions.

Nicole, then 25, looks incredibly young and virginal. She's dressed in a white bathrobe and slippers with a bunny rabbit motif as she prepares for what she describes with a broad grin as: "The happiest day of my life."

Two of Nicole's sisters are seen helping her with her makeup and fussing around as she gets ready to slip into her wedding dress, which is carefully laid out on a bed. The traditional white wedding gown, with a formfitting lace bodice and high neck, shows off her wonderful figure.

As she awaits the arrival of O.J., a nervous Nicole announces: "It's funny because I'm so excited. I feel really weird."

A source who has seen the video tells STAR: "The quality of the film is astonishing. Those first shots of a radiant Nicole preparing for her big day are so childlike and innocent... Nicole looks like a girl who's looking forward to her first night of love with the man of her dreams."

Later, when they are standing side by side at the altar; O.J. looks at his wife and declares: "This is the best day of my life and I know it's going to get better." A proud Nicole replies: "It's so good... how could it get any better than this?"

The most poignant moment in the 45-minute ceremony comes immediately before Rev. Moomaw pronounces O.J. and Nicole husband and wife. A female gospel singer gives a slow rendition of the Four Tops song, I Believe in You and Me, and Nicole is almost moved to tears.

She gazes lovingly at O.J. as the singer delivers such deeply romantic lyrics as "I will never leave your side... I will never hurt your pride," and "I believe in miracles... And love's a miracle..."

When the minister announces to guests: "May I be the first to introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. O.J. Simpson," there is a huge cheer. And then the fun begins.

O.J. and Nicole step onto a make-shift dance floor as the live band plays a slow, romantic number...

As they move around in a tight embrace, O.J. lip-synchs the words to the song: "Your love just happens to be mine..."

An elated O.J. with his beautiful bride leads a conga line of revelers around the tent. By that time, says the source: "A great number of guests were unsteady on their feet. A generous O.J. made sure that the champagne flowed continually."

One of the wedding's most riveting moments was the cutting of the cake, a touching scene at the time that now id taking on chilling dimensions - because of the knife murders of  Nicole and her waiter friend Ronald Goldman.

Said the source: "It was a pretty big cake, so obviously it took a fairly large knife to cut into it. When you see O.J. pick up the knife and then, with Nicole's hand on his, slice into this large cake, it sends a shiver down your spine."

And later, as guests toasted the happy couple with Dom Perignon champagne, Nicole's mother, Juditha, declared: "They will tell you it's the happiest day of their lives. It is also the happiest day in my life. They are two beautiful people. They are meant for each other."

Star Magazine
November 15 1994

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Speaking Out FOR Justice Despite THAT Verdict!

"We the jury... find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty of the crime of murder... upon Nicole Brown Simpson, a human being..."

I'd prepared myself for the worst, but now that the moment had come, I felt pain spreading through my body like I'd been pierced by a thousand tiny needles. We'd lost.

Deirdre's sweet, sorrowful voice droned on, reading the verdict of "not guilty" in the death of Ronald Goldman. "My God," I whispered.
Behind us Kim Goldman let out an unearthly howl. I couldn't turn to face the families.

"The defendant," said Judge Lance Ito, "having been acquitted of both charges... is ordered... released forthwith." As the jurors filed out of the courtroom, Lon Cryer turned toward the defense table and raised his fist in a power salute. You sonofabitch.

I don't remember exactly what happened after that. I know that Bob Shapiro walked over to me, looking stunned and disappointed. "It's not the verdict I would've thought," he admitted. I'm sure he shook my hand. But I have no recollection of the touch. Once again, I seemed surrounded by a vacuum that no one could penetrate.

How can I explain it? The sense of violation, the confusion, the dislocation. I could remember myself having once waded dreamlike into the surf. This time, as I made my way through a sea of photographers, I found myself into waves of grief.

The War Room was jammed with warriors in defeat. I remember seeing the young law clerks crying. I wanted to tell them, This doesn't mean anything about the real world and the way justice is dispensed. Or the way it should be dispensed. It won't always be this way. It may never be this way again.

Ahead lay that excruciating press conference. There, before all the media he'd gathered in anticipation of victory, Gil had to admit that he was "profoundly disappointed" in the verdict. But he implored the nation not to lose faith in its system of criminal justice.

I hadn't wanted to speak. I didn't know if I could get the words out of my throat. I managed to say something about my sorrow for the families: "Their strength and dignity have been a source of inspiration." It was a poor expression of my feelings. I hadn't prepared more.

Chris was at the mike now. I heard him say, "I'm not bitter... I'm not angry. I am honored to have - " Then he choked and slumped forward. Several of us reached for him to keep him from falling. I put my hand on Chris's back and followed through the thrashing strobes into the anteroom next to Gil's office.

"Anything I can do?" I asked him. "I want to go to my office" was all he said.

Like someone walking out of the wreckage of a 747, I looked around and saw that I'd fallen 30,000 feet and my legs weren't broken. I wanted everyone to witness the fact of my survival. I wanted the law clerks, the brass, the TV crews, the black gals out in that Chicago women's shelter who'd cheered Simpson's acquittal, the jurors who were planning to attend O.J. Simpson's victory party in a few hours... I wanted them all to see me now. Bloody, dazed, and reeling. But upright. I wanted them to see that I'd stood for something. I wanted them to see that I'd put myself through hell for the right thing.

I had to believe that suffering was part of something bigger. Justice, like the will of God, doesn't always manifest itself on the spur of the moment. It doesn't always come when you think it should. You just gotta wait it out.

And when it comes, I'll still be standing. Without a doubt.

Marcia Clark
Without a Doubt

Friday, 12 June 2015

The Secret Life of Ms. Brown, Trophy Wife, Murder Victim, Whatever...

The blonde fox in the white Ferrari. 
That is how a screenwriter I know who lived in the same part of town as Nicole Brown Simpson - the poor man's Brentwood, a colony of lush little bungalows and starter condos in the flats south of Sunset - described the woman he used to see tooling around in her sporty little car, driving home after a run or a cup of coffee at Starbucks, or maybe just, as her license plate suggested, L84AD8 ("late for a date").

The point her was making in describing her this way was that he had no idea she was O.J.'s wife, no idea that her romantic affiliations would eventually be the death of her, or that she would ever be world-famous for any reason other than that he, like other guys he knew around Brentwood, thought she was a real hot mama. A hot tomato, I think, was the expression he used.

And I mention this only to dispel a myth that gained some currency - in fact, rich acceptance - during the couple of years or so that constituted the O.J. trial and its prelude and aftermath. It was a dismissive belief that Nicole Brown was somehow nothing special, just another SoCal beach babe, another girl who offers to show you her tan lines, a dime a dance, a dime a dozen. To me,  this was always ridiculous.

As many lovely starlets and beautiful beachcombers as you may find in Los Angeles, in Hollywood, in counties like Orange and Ventura, as many women as there may be waiting for rich husbands or a lucky break in those parts, I was certain as soon as I saw those first pictures of Ms. Brown that she was never among them.

She was also never going to marry a dentist. She was certainly never going to be a dentist. She looks too shielded and expensive to be bothered with such mundane things...

There is something offsetting and off-putting about Nicole in photographs, something eerie and otherworldly in her exceptional, heartrending beauty - beauty of the kind that one assumes, or at least hopes, expresses a spiritual truth greater that just good looks;  though of course it probably doesn't.

Nicole's face had grace, austerity, serenity, the snobbishness of a person rich with secrets, of one who has something to tell and isn't telling.

Which turned out to be the case.

True, Nicole's taste, at least in the public photos that we all saw over and over again - the most commonly repeated one was from the opening of the Harley-Davidson Cafe in New York in the autumn of 1993 - ran to ultra-sheen stretch Lycra, to the tartiest, tawdriest, tackiest mall-girl looks that never quite seem to have gotten out of the mid-eighties - and should have not have been worn by any woman out of her mid-twenties. 

The skirts are too short, the necklines too long, the fit always seems to be inspired by a tourniquet. But forget that stuff. Because the woman was physically just blessed. Her features are so regular, so even and smooth, by physiognomic standards possibly even perfect, with a straight nose, high forehead, sloped cheeks and such fine, fine bones.

And her hair has such shiny blondeness, while her expression is so blank, her eyes so far away: everything about this woman is so golden and frozen, stiff and perfect, just like a statue, a statuette, an Oscar, an Emmy, a trophy that O.J.'s acting was never going to win him.

She is a trophy wife, and in all her tanned bronzeness, she actually looks the part.

What I am trying to say is that it doesn't much matter to me what real refinements this woman, who was simple, would never acquire, that she wasn't educated, that to her a big goal achieved would have been owning a coffee bar in Brentwood.

It doesn't matter to me that her idea of "romantic" was to create a Calgon advertisement out of her bathroom and light scented candles all around the tub - or, for that matter, to arrange the same fiery display in the living room, or bedroom, wherever...

It doesn't much matter to me that Nicole wore real fur and fake leather, that in the late eighties her hair was feathered, that almost all the women she knew had silicone breast implants, that she liked to have a good time, that sometimes she had a few too many margaritas and often she danced with men she didn't know very well. All these issues of taste and aspiration and desperation matter to me almost not at all. 

Nothing matters, at this point, but still life and dead images of a woman who looks so fine and dignified and full of airs. Beauty like hers is greatly powerful, especially in a place like California, because far from being just another pretty face, a slice of sunshine and good cheer, Nicole is arch and strong to appearances, suggesting all kinds of dignity, all kinds of haughtiness.

And at certain times, if she made you really mad, I am sure that you would want to punch that face and make it go away. You would just plain want to bash it in.

That is how I know that O.J. is guilty...

Elizabeth Wurtzel
(Quartet Books Limited 1998)

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

A Birthday Wish for Nicole Brown Simpson...

Nicole Brown Simpson's youngest sister Tanya Brown is planning a big birthday party for Nicole!
"I know this is what Nicole would have wanted," Tanya told The Enquirer.

"Birthday parties were a time of special happiness for her and I want this one to serve as a reminder of all the good times she gave us."

In an exclusive interview, Tanya revealed the bittersweet details of how the family will celebrate Nicole's 36th birthday to keep her memory alive for her children who are living with their grandparents.

"The month between Mother's Day and the anniversary of Nicole's murder on June 12 is going to be a tough time for our family," said Tanya. "But I want to celebrate her birthday on May 19 just like always..."

"I'll decorate the house with streamers and party favors. I'm planning on a rich triple-layer chocolate birthday cake - Nicole's favorite - with ice cream, candles and all the trimmings. And I'll give out party hats to our family and friends.

"I want to leave an empty chair in front of the cake for Nicole. I know she'll look down at us with a big smile on her face when we sing Happy Birthday.

"We'll all blow out the candles, wishing for a happy and prosperous life of all of us."

The National Enquirer
April 25 1995

Saturday, 16 May 2015

A Loving Mother? You Bet!

“Every Mother’s Day, Nicole, O.J. and the kids came to my parents’ house in Dana Point for a big family barbecue. There they were surrounded by my sisters and their kids.

“It was a wonderful day, a family event filled with love and joy – and whatever problems Nicole and O.J. had during their marriage disappeared.

“This was a day when Nicole celebrated being a mother. Instead of hanging out with the adults, she ran around and played games with all the kids. She got down on their level and had fun with them.”

This year in the wake of Nicole’s murder, there will be no joyful family barbecue. “This Mother’s Day is going to difficult for our family,” confided Tanya Brown. “It will be the first one since her death.”

Despite her bitterness over her sister’s death, Tanya is comforted by the knowledge that she and the rest of the Brown family are raising Nicole’s children in a loving environment.

“I know Nicole is looking down from heaven with a big smile on her face. She sees that Sydney and Justin are happy – and that make her happy.”

The National Enquirer
May 16 1995

A Most Favourite Day of the Year…
The Poignant Life of Nicole Brown Simpson

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

A Strategy of Ignorance? The Testimony of Denise Brown...

Denise Brown was supposed to be different. She had extensive firsthand exposure to O.J. and Nicole's relationship, including its darker sides.

Since the moment Detective Tom Lange called her parents' home on the morning after the murders, Denise was convinced that O.J. had murdered her sister. If anyone could explain how this had happened, it would be Nicole's older sister. When Denise walked to the witness stand on Friday afternoon, February 3, she did not so much as glance at her former brother-in-law...

Properly prepared, Denise could have given the jury some real understanding of Nicole and O.J.'s relationship, the good times as well as the bad. She could have helped explain why Nicole was so attracted to O.J., indeed why she loved him so much and why she stayed with him even though he abused her.

An honest summary of their relationship would have given Denise that much more credibility when she started describing O.J.'s bad acts. Instead, Darden tried to present O.J. as simply a domestic-violence machine, which was untrue and, in any event, unlikely to be believed by a jury already sympathetic to him.

Denise Brown's testimony essentially closed the domestic-violence part of the prosecution's case.

To a jury predisposed to believe such evidence - or one inclined toward hostility for the defendant - the presentation might have had considerable impact. After all, O.J. had been convicted of beating his wife, and there had been a handful more of incidents of violence, at least according to her sister.

The 911 tape from 1993 suggested that O.J. was certainly capable at least of violent anger toward his wife, and the stalking evidence, even if ambiguous, suggested a continuing obsession on his part.

Overall, however, the domestic-violence evidence was just short enough of overwhelming that the defense could continue to ignore it. Shapiro, for example, barely cross-examined Denise Brown.

Cochran's mantra from his opening - this is a murder case, not a domestic-violence case - remained the core of the defense strategy.   

Jeffrey Toobin

Monday, 2 February 2015

'February 2 1985' Thirty Years of a Tragic Union...

STAR - through friends of Nicole and industry insiders - has obtained a sneak peak at this extraordinary footage.

It tells the story of the first day of their marriage - a tragic union that ended in divorce seven years later, and that ultimately led to the most sensational murder case in American history.

One of the wedding's most riveting moments was the cutting of the cake, a touching scene at the time that now is taking on chilling dimensions... because of the knife murders of Nicole and her waiter friend Ronald Goldman.

Said the source: "It was a pretty big cake, so obviously it took a fairly large knife to cut into it.
When you see O.J. pick up the knife and then, with Nicole's hand on his, slice into this large cake, it sends a shiver down your spine."

Star Magazine
November 15 1994

Friday, 16 January 2015

Never Forgotten! Nicole Brown Simpson STILL Exists!

“Every New Year people get you some presents but your best present you get never changes: Your own existence! It is also your best present to others!”

Mehmet Murat ildan

Hello again! As this blog post begins with two apologies, my first apology is that even though January is well and truly upon us and the month of February is now beckoning; I would still like to wish you all a very ‘Happy New Year’!

And secondly, I apologise for the lack of recent updates about Nicole and to my chagrin having realised that I had posted my last story about her in September!

In my defence, I can only say that I have been very busy with other projects and as some of which were and are about Nicole; I had by no means forgotten about her…

Already 20015 promises to be interesting year with the release of the much anticipated ‘American Crime Story: The People v. O.J Simpson’ which will share the tales of the trial that begin an incredible twenty years ago this month!

The mini-series has been inspired by the fabulous book The Run of His Life by Jeffrey Toobin and will feature John Travolta and David Schwimmer as the two ‘Bobs’, the former as Robert Shapiro, Simpson’s swathe and duplicitous defence lawyer and the latter as Robert Kardashian, Simpson’s mysteriously conflicted friend, former spouse of Kris and the lawyer whose jaw-dropping expression as the ‘Not Guilty’ verdict was delivered remains burned in the image of that unforgettable day.

A statement from the television channel FX, the producers of the ‘American Crime Story’ revealed that ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson’ will share the tales of the “the chaotic behind-the-scenes dealings and manoeuvring on both sides of the court, and how a combination of prosecution overconfidence, defence shrewdness, and the LAPD’s history with the city’s African-American community gave the jury what it needed: reasonable doubt.”

Personally speaking, I have never had any doubts, reasonable or otherwise as to the question of Simpson’s guilt!

As the ‘People v. O.J. Simpson’ is certain to shine the spotlight upon Simpson who is currently languishing inside the notorious Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada for anything from nine to thirty three years for his part in an armed confrontation in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2007; I was disappointed to learn of the statement from Denise Brown that she had withdrawn her support for the Heart & Soul Food, a film that would focus on the life and the memories of her younger sister.

Denise had personally launched the idea for Heart & Soul Food through Kickstarter, the crowd funding website with Jimi James, Message Mon in 2014 to raise $360,000 in a campaign that would last 55 days; Nicole’s age.

Having taken a look at the campaign on Kickstarter today and even though 14 backers have pledged at total of $403, the message board simply reads Funding Canceled: Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on January 5.

The statement by Denise on her decision remains unequivocal: “The minute people said you have to market this with Simpson’s name I said no,” she says. “I won’t do anything to acknowledge the acquittal this year. So many are jumping on the bandwagon and doing the same old stuff, and I thought this could be different because the story is different. But I won’t go there.”

As Denise is apparently ‘brainstorming other ways to honor her sister’s life.’, I still wonder about the publication of her book that never was.

Due for publication in October 1998 by HarperCollins, Nicole’s Story promised to offer ‘a compelling portrait of her late sister which serves a two-fold purpose: to introduce readers to the smart, beautiful, and nurturing woman whom she loved; and to warn other women of the dangers of staying in an abusive relationship.’

With the promise of sixteen pages of colour photographs, this is the book I would love to read and I can’t imagine that I would be alone in thinking this!

Surely a balanced and realistic portrayal by those who actually knew and loved Nicole could begin the long process of shifting the spotlight away from the man who took her life and that of Ron Goldman one Sunday evening in June over twenty years ago.

Alas, until that time comes, I shall continue to do all that I can to keep the memory of Nicole alive…

Thank you for Remembering Nicole!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Exploding the Myth!

Many African-Americans reacted with disbelief and shock when they learned that O.J. Simpson was the prime suspect in the brutal murder of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her male friend. I, too, was incredulous...

I was annoyed that the media, encouraged by incriminating news leaks from Los Angeles justice officials, seemed to delight in the fall of this "all-American hero" - O.J., the handsome, former football star, sportscaster, actor, millionaire, who had risen from poverty to the top with a blond, former homecoming queen on his arm. He had it all, according to the American ideal - at least on the surface.

Then the myth exploded!

The magnitude of such destructiveness to his ex-wife, his children and himself was incomprehensible to me. If he did commit the crime, what possessed him to throw his whole life away in a moment of passion and rage? How could it be explained? Was he mentally ill? Was he temporarily insane?

Or was O.J. not crazy in the legal sense but collapsed emotionally when his wife spurned his reconciliation offer, then allegedly murdered her with the lethal attitude, "If I can't have her, nobody will."

We know from released 911 tapes that he was a jealous, possessive, abusive husband. This final heinous act may have been provoked by Nicole's rejection of him as a Black man. Perhaps she, as a so-called ideal California blond, symbolized the American dream for O.J., and losing her revealed that he could never be totally accepted into the White world he coveted. But this is pure speculation.

I don't know enough about O.J. to know what motivated him. Any maybe he doesn't either. 

The lesson to be learned here is that domestic violence (usually males battering and murdering their female companions) must be acknowledged and prevented.

O.J., from news accounts, seemed to operate in a sexist, narcissistic manner, conveying that he was not only possessive but felt he owned Nicole like a piece of chattel...

O.J. mostly chose his own course and, if guilty, succumbed tragically to its pitfalls...

Alvin F. Poussaint M.D.
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Ebony Magazine
(September 1994)

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Appalling to Behold...

The presentation of the DNA evidence has ended, at least for now, and not a moment too soon. Everyone has had enough. Like everything else in this trial, it went on too long, especially the cross-examinations...

The fact is, although DNA testing may be as fool-proof as fingerprinting, it doesn't cause excitement. It's difficult to respond to. It's like advanced math, brilliant but boring, astonishing but passionless. It made everybody eager to move on to the next phrase of the trial, which consisted of the autopsy pictures of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, the victims of this appalling crime, whose names are so rarely mentioned.

In most murder trials, the prosecution and defense fight over the admissibility of autopsy photographs. The defense doesn't want the jury to see them. The prosecution does.

Leslie Abramson, Erik Menendez's lawyer, once called autopsy pictures "a cheap prosecutorial trick." Pamela Bozanich, the prosecutor in the first Menendez trial, gave the perfect response: "Those who have committed crimes like these, it ill behooves them to complain of the carnage they leave."

Probably because of the presence of the Goldman family, seated only a few feet away in the courtroom, the autopsy pictures of Ron Goldman elicited a more emotional reaction from the jury than the equally gruesome pictures of Nicole Brown Simpson...

As someone who has seen the photographs of the mutilated bodies close up, I can tell you that they are appalling to behold...

I found myself thinking, only a monster could have done this to a beautiful young mother of two, with the kids upstairs asleep...

Letter from Los Angeles
Dominick Dunne
Vanity Fair
August 1995
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