Once upon a time, O.J. Simpson was a handsome, engaging football star, poised to become a leading man of TV and film.
To gain some more acting experience, Simpson, fresh off his Heisman Trophy win and apparently still a USC Trojan, guest-starred in the series premiere of Medical Center on September 24, 1969. In the episode, “The Last 10 Yards,” played — what else? — a football star but with serious health problems at the UCLA-type school where dashing surgeon Dr. Joe Gannon is also head of student health and team doctor.
And, of course, Asner: America fell in love with him as newsman Lou Grant, the grouchy boss of Mary Tyler Moore in her classic sitcom, and the eponymous hero of the journalism drama Lou Grant.
As for Simpson? Well, he never became the next Sidney Poitier or even Billy Dee Williams. He did some more acting in supporting roles in movies in the 1970s, showed off a goofy side in the Naked Gun comedy trilogy, and became a Monday Night Football commentator and pitchman for Hertz rental car company among others.
In 1994, he filmed a two-hour TV pilot, Frogman, in which he played the leader of a group of former U.S. Navy Seals. But the pilot never aired because Simpson was arrested for you-know-what in June 1994.