OJ Simpson has been a darling of the media for forty years. Few celebrities reach this level of achievement, we might think of Elvis and the Beatles. We could debate the similarities of these celebrities – rags to riches, riches to rags, stardom and tragedy. But OJ is strikingly different.
Elvis Presley was a confused young man, blessed with possibly the greatest natural talent ever seen. His rise to stardom was destined by his greatness of personal triumph. The downfall of Elvis ironically was a result of his success – sheltered from reality by his celebrity status – the confused man fell victim to a careless lifestyle.
The Beatles rose to the top ranks of celebrity by the shear potency of their great musical gifts. Their failure of longevity as a cohesive group talent can be traced to their media success. The tragedy of death was a result of the insanity of others.
OJ is different. He rose to the ranks of celebrity – much like Elvis and the Beatles – through the force of his talent. With good agency management OJ continued his persona as an American success story in comedic movies and commercial advertising. People genuinely liked this man. The man, OJ, was presented as a gentle, kind, and thoughtful person.
When accused of the heinous crimes of vicious murder the public was aghast. No one wanted to believe that OJ could be capable of such vile acts. Rants of racism were common. The OJ defense team played the race card. The country as a whole was dismayed. Murder, racism, celebrity downfall – all the tabloid nonsense played out in real time.
In the end we all realized that the tragedy of OJ was not the same as the tragedy of the Beatles or Elvis. OJ brought this tragedy on himself. And he continues to discredit and tarnish his once great name.