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May 7, 2023

Polaroids of OJ Simpson With a Football Taken by Andy Warhol in 1977

It was 1977, and Andy Warhol was at work on his “Athletes” series, portraits of top sports personalities who, he felt, were gaining cultural prominence just like “the movie stars of yesterday.” One of them was the then star running back of the Buffalo Bills: O.J. Simpson.

Warhol photographed Simpson in Buffalo on Oct. 19, 1977. Simpson, then 30, showed up without a football or a jersey, and Warhol had to scramble to find a ball. A quote from Warhol’s diary that day reads, “He had a five-day beard and I thought the pictures would be awful.”

It was almost two decades after Warhol’s photo shoot, in 1995, that Simpson—who had retired from the NFL in 1979 and pursued an acting career—was acquitted of the double slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. He was later found liable for the deaths by a California civil court jury that ordered him to pay $33.5 million to the victims’ families.

In a separate case more than a decade later, Simpson was convicted by a jury in Las Vegas for leading five men, including two with guns, in a 2007 confrontation with two sports collectibles dealers in a cramped room at an off-strip Las Vegas casino hotel. Simpson served nine years in a Nevada prison for armed robbery. He was discharged from parole in December 2021.


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