Dumped by Hertz and NBC, O.J. Simpson had to look elsewhere, anywhere, for money, and the journey for dollars led him to the oddest places - like a cemetery.
Among the 19 contracts Simpson signed after the killings of his ex-wife and her friend was a $1 million deal for post-verdict pictures of himself, including $100,000 for “The Cemetery Photographs,” presumably taken at his ex-wife’s grave.
The search didn’t end there, according to documents filed with the court by the plaintiffs in his civil trial.
There was, for instance, the deal for O.J. Simpson birthday cards that came with an audio greeting from Simpson himself.
He also inked deals to sign thousands of trading cards, pre-paid calling cards and football helmets, both full-sized and miniature, and lent his name or image to such things as statues, gold medallions and a limited edition set of color lithographs.
And all this was in addition to his much-publicized deals to co-write the jailhouse tome “I Want to Tell You” and to star in his own video, “O.J. Simpson: The Interview.”
Some opportunities have yet to be finalized. A witness at Simpson’s civil trial said Simpson was trying to sell the suit he wore the day he was acquitted of murder charges.
Simpson also has applied for trademarks for scores of goods yet to be produced, including, of all things, cutlery.
In total, plaintiffs estimated, Simpson has made nearly $3 million off the publicity linked to charges he slashed to death his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman on June 12, 1994.
Simpson’s post-murder earning potential is among the issues the jurors in his wrongful death trial have to consider when they return today to decide punitive damages. The panel already has levied $8.5 million against Simpson in compensatory damages.
The plaintiffs argue that Simpson possesses an infamous asset in the form of his name, which is worth nearly $25 million, and that he can count on earning from $2 million to $3 million a year, primarily by signing his name to cards and memorabilia.
Simpson’s people say his signature isn’t worth the ink it’s printed in, and that he stands to make next to nothing because of the stigma from the two trials.
xxxx How about an O.J. Simpson birthday card? Here are some of the deals Simpson entered into after the killings, although it’s uncertain how much of money he has actually received, according to a report by a plaintiff’s expert: Post-verdict photos. A $1 million deal with Polaris and American Media on Nov. 19, 1995, called for $200,000 for “The First Day Photographs,” $350,000 for “The Family Photographs,” $350,000 for “The Vacation Photographs” and $100,000 for “The Cemetery Photographs.” Book deal. Polaris, through the services of author Lawrence Schiller, agreed in November 1994 to write Simpson’s book. Simpson got a $1 million advance and was promised 15 percent royalties for the hardcover and 10 percent paperback royalties. Birthday cards. A one-year contract signed March 27, 1995, while Simpson was still in jail, called for “facsimile birthday cards that contained an audiotape greeting from Mr. Simpson.” For this Simpson would get a $15,000 license fee, an advance of $17,500 and 15 percent royalties on the first $50,000 sold. Medallions. About a year after the murders, Simpson entered into a one-year contract with Laurence Network Corp. to lend his name and likeness to 250,000 silver medallions and 25,000 gold medallions. He would get a $20,000 advance, plus a 20 percent royalty. Lithographs. In an August 1995 deal with J & E Enterprises, Simpson put his name on 2,000 limited edition lithograph prints from an original color drawing. He was promised a 25 percent royalty on the prints, which sold for $325 to $425 each. Autographs. Simpson entered into eight contracts to sign trading cards and memorabilia. - Associated Press