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Meet the cast and characters of The People v OJ Simpson

From Robert Shapiro to Robert Kardashian, who's who in the dramatic retelling of one of the most gripping court cases of the 1990s?

Published: Monday, 22nd February 2016 at 3:55 pm

The People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story continues this Monday 22nd February at 9pm on BBC2. OJ Simpson is on the run, as the world watches a white Ford Bronco being chased by police along Los Angeles' freeways.


Find out more about the cast and characters involved in both the chase and courtroom battles here, from Cuba Gooding Jr to John Travolta.

OJ Simpson (Cuba Gooding Jr)


Who is OJ Simpson?

American football player turned actor OJ Simpson is the man in the dock. In 1994 he was accused of the murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. In episode two, he tries to flee with fellow footballer Al Cowlings in a white Ford Bronco, with the world watching and the police in desperate pursuit.

Where have I seen Cuba Gooding Jr before?

A veteran star of the big screen, Gooding Jr is probably best known for his Academy Award-winning role as American football player Rod Tidwell in Jerry Maguire. Most recently you may have spotted him in Selma, The Butler and American Gangster, or known him from Boyz n The Hood and A Few Good Men.

Robert Shapiro (John Travolta)


Who is Robert Shapiro?

Hollywood lawyer Robert Shapiro was one of the legal team who represented OJ Simpson during his trial. He's well known for representing some of the biggest names and faces, including Johnny Carson, Linda Lovelace and the Kardashian family. When his client makes a run for it, Shapiro tries his best to deal with the fallout.

Where have I seen John Travolta before?

The original big screen Danny Zuko in Grease shot to fame with starring roles in Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction, popping up everywhere and anywhere in the following decades. He made a string of action and thriller films including Face/Off with Nicholas Cage, before returning to his musical roots to play Edna Turnblad in the 2007 Hairspray reboot. Travolta's also well known for his roles in the Look Who's Talking trilogy.

Johnnie Cochran (Courtney B Vance)


Who is Johnnie Cochran?

American lawyer Cochran was also on the team defending OJ Simpson. He would later go on to represent other prominent names including Sean 'P Diddy' Combs, Snoop Dogg and Michael Jackson.

Where have I seen Courtney B Vance before?

Three-time Tony Award nominee Vance is probably best known for his work on stage, or as Assistant District Attorney Ron Carver from Law and Order: Criminal Intent. His early work included roles in The Hunt for Red October and Dangerous Minds, and he also starred in The Preacher's Wife and Space Cowboys. Oh and he had a guest role on ER, playing the on-screen husband of his off-screen wife, actress Angela Bassett.

AC Cowlings – Malcolm-Jamal Warner


Who is AC Cowlings?

'Al' Cowlings was an NFL teammate of Simpson's and a close friend. He was the driver of the car during the notorious police chase, with Simpson in the back seat.

Where have I seen Malcolm-Jamal Warner before?

The actor and musician was perhaps best known for his role on The Cosby Show, but since the series was dropped following the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby, Warner has been focussing on other projects. He won a Grammy Award in 2015 for his vocals on Robert Glasper's Jesus Children of America.

Robert Kardashian (David Schwimmer)


Who is Robert Kardashian?

The father of Kourtney, Kim, Khloé and Rob Kardashian (with first wife Kris – portrayed by Selma Blair – who went on to marry athlete Bruce Jenner after their divorce), Robert Snr was an American attorney and businessman. He was a close friend of OJ Simpson's and read out a letter from Simpson to the assembled media when he failed to turn himself in in 1994.

Where have I seen David Schwimmer before?

You might have spotted him in HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, or films like The Pallbearer and Six Days Seven Nights, but chances are you know him best as Ross Geller from Friends. He now spends a lot of time behind the camera, too: he made his directorial debut in 2007 with Simon Pegg comedy Run Fatboy Run.

Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson)


Who is Marcia Clark?

Marcia Clark was working as a prosecutor in the District Attorney's office at the time of OJ Simpson's trial and was the lead attorney on the case.

She went on to write a book about the case after resigning from her position. She has found work since as a special correspondent for Entertainment Tonight, and is a regular TV contributor – particularly during high profile legal cases. Tina Fey parodied her in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Clark played a District Attorney in Pretty Little Liars.

Where have I seen Sarah Paulson before?

Right now she's best known as one of the stars of Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story, but Paulson previously found fame in TV series American Gothic, Jack and Jill, and Studio 60 on The Sunset Strip. On the cinema screen she most recently appeared in Carol, Mud, 12 Years A Slave and Martha Marcy May Marlene.

F. Lee Bailey – Nathan Lane


Who is F. Lee Bailey?

Bailey was another member of Simpson's defence team, probably best remembered for his cross prosecution of Los Angeles Police Department officer Mark Fuhrman.

Where have I seen Nathan Lane before?

The voice of Timon from The Lion King, Lane is a Hollywood heavyweight with innumerable stage, TV and cinema credits to his name. From The Birdcage with Robin Williams to Mouse Hunt with Lee Evans and a guest stint on Modern Family, his comedy back catalogue is vast, but he's also known for playing more serious roles – including Clarke Hayden on The Good Wife.

Gil Garcetti – Bruce Greenwood


Who is Gil Garcetti?

Garcetti was the Los Angeles County District Attorney at the time of OJ Simpson's trial. He now serves as a consulting producer on crime-related TV series, having worked on The Closer and Major Crimes.

Where have I seen Bruce Greenwood before?

Greenwood most recently appeared in JJ Abrams' Star Trek reboot as Captain (and later Admiral) Christopher Pike. He's also played the US President on two occasions (in Thirteen Days and National Treasure: Book of Secrets) and appeared as Truman Capote's lover, Jack Dunphy, opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman in biopic Capote.

Christopher Darden – Sterling K Brown


Who is Christopher Darden?

Darden was co-prosecutor on the Simpson case. He had been working at the DA's office for 15 years before the trial and left afterwards to teach law at university level.

Where have I seen Sterling K Brown before?

The actor has had a number of minor roles in TV series like Third Watch, Supernatural and Eli Stone, but you might also have spotted him in Person of Interest (as Detective Cal Beecher) and Army Wives (as Roland Burton). He's also set to appear alongside Tina Fey and Martin Freeman in the upcoming Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

William Hodgman – Christian Clemenson


Who is William Hodgman?

Hodgman was also a member of the prosecution, who famously fell ill during the case.

Where have I seen Christian Clemenson before?


Fans of Boston Legal will know Clemenson best as Jerry "Hands" Espenson but he's played quite a number of roles throughout his career. The flight surgeon from Apollo 13 (yup, that was him) popped up in everything from Michael J Fox's sitcom springboard Family Ties to The Big Lebowski, and even went on to become CSI:Miami's new medical examiner Dr. Tom Loman back in 2009.


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