The hottest story
of the 90's was the O.J. Simpson
murder case. Simpson began as an NFL superstar and Heisman Trophy winner,
then went on to star in such movies as "The Towering Inferno."
and three "Naked Gun " movies, as a spokesman in Hertz
car rental commercials, and as a sports commentator on TV. In 1994, his
former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, was found savagely murdered outside
her Brentwood townhouse along with her friend, Ronald Goldman. O.J. Simpson
was arrested for the double murder, becoming the most famous celebrity
in the nation's history to be charged with murder. Simpson's arrest followed
a bizarre, 60-mile, slow-speed police pursuit on the L.A. Freeway system.
95 million people watched the freeway drama unfold on live TV, as Simpson
headed back to his Brentwood home in a white Ford Bronco, while holding
a gun to his own head. O.J. Simpson claimed to be innocent of the crime,
and after one of the longest and most-watched trials in history, he was
found "not guilty" of all charges.
Several key L.A.
locations from the Simpson case made the headlines:
360 N. Rockingham Avenue, Brentwood: the $5 million Tudor mansion of O.J. Simpson, where he and Nicole were married, where he was arrested for her murder on June 17, 1994 (following the Bronco freeway chase), and where he lived after being found "not guilty" in the trial. Simpson's house became an unusual tourist attraction in the months following the tragic events. He was forced to sell the home after losing a civil lawsuit. In July of 1998, the new owner of the estate bulldozed the home and all of the other buildings on the property. (The property is located north of Sunset Blvd, at the southeast corner of Rockingham & Ashford)
875 S. Bundy Drive (now changed to 879 S. Bundy), Brentwood: the $650,000 townhouse of Nicole Brown Simpson, the former wife of O.J. Simpson. She was found murdered outside of this condominium, lying in a pool of blood on the sidewalk, at around midnight on June 12, 1994; her throat had been slashed. Her acquaintance, Ronald Goldman, had also been savagely stabbed to death.
11750 San Vicente Boulevard (at Gorham Avenue), Brentwood: location of the former Mezzaluna restaurant. After a school recital, Nicole Simpson and her family went to dinner at the nearby Mezzaluna trattoria at around 6:30 PM. Ron Goldman worked at Mezzaluna as a waiter. Goldman later offered to return a pair of lost prescription glasses to Nicole's house - where they both were murdered. [The restaurant closed in mid-1997.]
11663 Gorham Avenue, Brentwood: the apartment building where victim Ronald Goldman lived. A waiter at Mezzaluna restaurant, Goldman stopped here to change his clothes on that fatal night, on his way from the restaurant to Nicole Simpson's condo.
11934 San Vicente Boulevard, Brentwood: Paul Revere Middle School. At 5 PM on June 12, 1994, just a few hours before the murders, O.J. Simpson and his wife Nicole attended their daughter's dance recital at this school.
there were celebrity stories other
8852 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood: The Viper Room, a rock club where 23-year-old actor River Phoenix ("Stand By Me") died of an overdose of heroin and cocaine. He collapsed on the sidewalk outside of this club, on Halloween night of 1993. (He was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai hospital, located at 8700 Beverly Blvd.). Ironically, The Viper Room is owned by another young actor, Johnny Depp (star of "Edward Scissorhands").
Skirball Center Drive exit to the northbound San Diego (405) Freeway:
where actor/comedian Bill Cosby's
27-year-old son, Ennis Cosby,
was shot and killed on January 16, 1997. Ennis had been heading north
from West L.A. on the 405, to visit a friend in the Valley, when his car
had a flat tire. It was 1:45 a.m. He pulled the car off onto the exit leading
to Mulholland Drive (in the Sepulveda Pass), and while he was fixing the
flat on the west shoulder of that road, just off the freeway ramp, a stranger
shot and killed him for no apparent reason (perhaps during an attempted
robbery). An 18-year-old wannabe gang member from Orange County, Mikail "Michael"
Markhasev, was arrested for the crime, tried, found guilty and sentenced
to life in prison.
5065 Encino Avenue (at the NW corner of Embassy), in Encino: the family home of Phil Hartman, where the comic-actorwas shot to death in his sleep by his wife, Brynn, on May 28, 1998. His wife later committed suicide. Hartman had started out at the Groundling theater, then went on to "Saturday Night Live" (where he was known for his impressions of President Clinton), before landing the role of egotistical radio newsman 'Bill McNeal' on the TV sitcom "NewsRadio." He was 49 years old when he died.
11537 W. Killion Street, in North Hollywood: the home of Hervé Villechaize, the 3-foot, 11-inch actor who played "Tattoo", Mr. Rourke's dwarf assistant on the original TV series "Fantasy Island." He shot himself to death on the backyard patio of this home in North Hollywood, on Sept. 4, 1993 (following worsening health problems). He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered at sea.
23449 Malibu Colony Road, Malibu: the home of actor Brian Keith (TV's Uncle Bill in "Family Affair," and star of ""Hardcastle and McCormick"), where he shot himself on June 24, 1997, following a long bout with emphysema and lung cancer.
139 Fraser Street, Santa Monica: the studio apartment of actress and model Margaux Hemingway. Although she had found success early in life, in movies like "Lipstick," luck soon turned against her. With her career on the rocks, her neighbors reported that she hadn't been seen in over a week. Police found her inside her apartment - dead of an overdose of pills. She had committed suicide on July 2, 1996, the anniversary of the suicide of her famous grandfather, Ernest Hemingway.
Woodbine Park (on Motor Avenue at National Blvd.), in the Palms district of West L.A.: rap singer Snoop Doggy Dogg (real name: Calvin Broadus) was arrested for murder; he was allegedly behind the wheel of a black Jeep Cherokee during a drive-by shooting at this park, on August 25, 1993. Philip Woldemariam, an alleged gang member, was shot and killed. Broadus claimed self-defense, and eluded police long enough to announce the R&B winner at the MTV Awards show. He was acquitted of the murder charges, and the jury deadlocked on the lesser charges, which were later dropped. *
945 N. Beaudry Ave., in downtown Los Angeles (between Chinatown and Dodger Stadium): the driveway of the home of actor Haing S. Ngor, where he was was shot to death on February 25, 1996. The Cambodian actor had won the Oscar as Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1984 after starring in the chilling true drama, "The Killing Fields.." It appears that he was murdered by street gang members because he refused to give up a gold locket containing a picture of his late wife - who had been allowed to die in childbirth by the Khmer Rouge soldiers in 1975. *
1509 E. Wilson Terrace, Glendale: the Glendale Adventist Hospital, where game show host Ray Combs killed himself on the night of June 2, 1996. Combs had hosted the popular "Family Feud" for seven years (from 1988-1994), until he was replaced by the the return of original host Richard Dawson. Combs had attempted suicide the same day at his home (at 1318 Sonora Drive, Glendale), and had been taken to the hospital, where he hanged himself with bedsheets in his hospital room while on a 72-hour "suicide watch.." He had been experiencing severe financial problems caused by the failure of his comedy club in Cincinnati. He had also been experiencing continued pain from a 1994 auto accident that had left him temporarily paralyzed, and was having marital problems.
6060 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA.: the Petersen Automotive Museum, the site of a Soul Train awards party on March 9, 1997, after which rapper Notorious B.I.G. (aka Christopher Wallace) was gunned down and killed by a drive-by shooter shortly after midnight, while sitting inside his Chevrolet Suburban.
15519 Saddleback Road, Canyon Country, CA: the home where singer Del Shannon committed suicide. Shannon had recorded the smash hit song "Runaway." im 1964. It stayed #1 on the charts for four straight weeks. Although he had previous hits (such as "Keep Searchin (We'll Follow the Sun)" and "Hats Off to Larry," "Runaway." was his last song on the charts. He drank heavily, until he joined A.A. in 1979. His hit "Runaway" enjoyed renewed popularity as the theme to the 1986 TV series "Crime Story.." on February 8, 1990, he shot himself in the head with a .22 caliber rifle. His wife thought his death might have been related to his recent use of the prescription drug Prozac.
2025 Avenue of
the Stars, Century City: the Century
Plaza Hotel, where former Columbia Pictures president David
Begelman shot himself on August 7, 1995.
Begelman had started the powerful agency Creative Management Associates,
which pioneered the idea of "packaging" stars, writers and directors
from the same agency. He had then gone on to head Columbia, presiding over
the making of such hits as "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."
and "Shampoo." But he fell from power in 1977, when he
was accused of forging checks and misappropriation of funds, and eventually
convicted of grand theft. The scandal became the subject of David McClintick's
1982 bestseller "Indecent Exposure."
* locations marked by an asterisk could be located in a
high-crime district. Exercise reasonable caution.
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