The Emergence of the Elusive Mrs Simpson…

For sixty years, whenever the name “Mrs Simpson” was mentioned, it belonged, irrevocably, to Wallis Warfield Simpson, the lady from Baltimore for whom King Edward VIII gave up his throne in 1936 and shook the British monarchy to its roots.

No longer. Now the name belongs, irrevocably, to the tragic and beautiful Nicole Brown Simpson of Brentwood, California, whose dreadful death on the night of Sunday, June 12, 1994, along with that of her friend Ron Goldman, has riveted this country for nine months. The nastiness of how she died and where she fell is the reason that gaze of the country is focused on a courtroom in downtown Los Angeles.

O.J. and Nicole Simpson were constantly photographed in happy poses, belying the truth of their real relationship. Has there ever been a murder case where there are more photographs and videotapes of the victim and the alleged killer?

New images appear almost daily in tabloids and magazines. In them, their lives look so enviable, so glamorous. They are always at wonderful parties in wonderful clothes, smiling and waving, or on wonderful trips, or at wonderful beaches, or gazing into each other’s eyes, or kissing each other, exuding sexuality. How perfect it looked. How rotten it was.

When he gets this crazed, I get scared… He gets a very animalistic look in him. All his veins pop out. His eyes are black, just black, I mean cold, like an animal.

Nicole Simpson to police who responded to her 911 call after O.J. Simpson kicked in her door.

Cici Shahian has two great friends, who were also great friends of Nicole’s, Robin Greer and the famous Faye Resnick, who wrote Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted, the memoir that became a best-seller, although the Brown family has steadfastly withheld its endorsement of it.

One night Shahian invited me to have dinner with the three of them at her new apartment in a building in Beverly Hills where I lived in the ’70s. It was a strange feeling to look across the courtyard into my old apartment.

It was Shahian’s first dinner party in the new apartment, and she had hostess jitters, because she didn’t think her new stove was working properly. It worked fine. The lasagna was great. There was a fire in the fireplace, candles on the table, and candles on the mantel. We had a wonderful time.

All three ladies really loved Nicole. She was their friend, and they miss her. They laughed talking about her. They cried talking about her. They said that she always felt that she was unimportant, that she lived in O.J.’s shadow. He was always the star, the center of the universe.

Sometimes they forgot I was there and just talked among themselves, all speaking at the same time in louder and louder voices, understanding one another in the way that friends do.

Recollect Nicole Brown Simpson (brownsimpson.wordpress.com)

Nicole, who had seemed elusive to me – a beautiful face with wary eyes in a vast array of photographs – began to emerge as a person.

They said she used to say “Hi, guys” every time she would meet up with them. All of them mimicked the sound of her voice and the wave of her hand as she said that.

They all said that Nicole knew that O.J. was going to kill her. She had told each one of them. It is a fact that haunts them all.

Dominick Dunne JUSTICE Crimes, Trials and Punishments (New York: Crown Publishers 2001)

The Secret Life of Ms. Brown, Trophy Wife, Murder Victim, Whatever… Remembering Nicole Brown Simpson

Nicole Simpson IS the Hero and Orenthal James the Perpetrator, Stupid! #RecollectNicole! The Legacy of Nicole Brown Simpson…

Get a Life! A Brentwood State of Mind… The Ghost of Brentwood. The Story of Nicole’s House…

A Peek Inside the Abode of a Has-Been… A House on Rockingham! The Story of Nicole’s House Continues…

‘A Premonition of Doom’

The marriage of O.J. and Nicole was a rollercoaster ride with his wedding vows – “to be your loving and faithful husband in plenty and in one, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health as long as we both shall live” – soon becoming a distant memory…

A Life in Headlines (June 27 1995)

Robin Greer, the ex- Falcon Crest actress who’d known O.J. since 1977 and was part of Nicole’s inner circle of friends says: “When O.J. was good to Nicole, he was great. But when he was bad he was truly terrible…”

Gree adds: “It was memories of those good times that kept them together and eventually drove Nicole back to him. She badly wanted it to work not just for herself but for Sydney and Justin. For Nicole, her memories of the good times outweighed the bad – until the very end.”

But on May 22, 1994, Nicole ended the obsessive love that had consumed half her life. She returned to O.J. the diamond-and-sapphire bracelet he’s given her on her 35th birthday three days before. “I can’t be bought,” she told him.

Seemingly driven by a premonition of doom, she’d put her will in order and documented her beatings. She even foresaw the appearance of her $15,000 bracelet on Paula Barbieri’s arm.

And 21 days later, Nicole Brown Simpson was dead…

Star Magazine (June 27 1995)

‘Someone I Barely Knew…’

Lorenzo Lamas was the last man Nicole Simpson ever loved…

Nicole met Lorenzo in 1987 when she became engaged to, and then dumped, Robin Greer, one of her oldest friends. Around the same time, the six-foot-two, 175-pound actor became pals with O.J. on the set of the TV movie Detour.

“You could say I’ve worshiped him from afar,” Nicole confided to the renowned psychic John Cohan.

“At first, it was really just a crush. I was happy with O.J., and Lorenzo was someone I barely knew. But I always thought what a great guy, a real man…

A Life in Headlines (January 1995)

But Nicole was forced to just suffer her unrequited love in silence, says Cohan.

And then finally, fate brought her and Lorenzo together. “Not too long before she died, she was really excited,” says Cohan.

“She told me: ‘I bumped into Lorenzo and out of the blue he said he thinks I’d enjoy visiting Norman Vincent Peale’s Marble Collegiate Church in New York.

Lorenzo said the church teaches ways to build up confidence, and how to go after the things you want….’

The National Examiner Magazine (January 10 1995)

A House of Fun…

Nicole’s warmth was reflected in her entertaining style, her guests report. “Her parties were more like pot-luck suppers that state dinners. Jason and Arnelle would come with their dates,” says Greer, who notes that O.J’s children from his first marriage were good friends with Nicole.

“The vision I have of her is barefoot at one of her barbecues, with animals everywhere, and lots of friends and family and everyone laughing.”

While Nicole lived with O.J, the house was meticulously kept, but her friends remember her own home as a place where people could feel comfortable, even sloppy.

“Her house was for fun. One night at a dinner party, I started pelting people with tortilla chips; Nick started pelting back,” says Greer. “That was the great thing about her; you could throw chips at her house.”

Jeannie Ralston

Nicole Brown Simpson: Her Story (Glamour Magazine Fall 1994)

The Story of a Young Hopeful…

The part of Brentwood where Nicole and O.J. Simpson lived while they were married   is filled with the kind of homes whose sturdy security gates and high, dense, well-clipped hedges signal that a star might reside just out of view. And many do…

But Brentwood’s southern section, where Nicole bought her $3,400-square-foot, four-bedroom townhouse last year, has more of an up-and-coming feel to it. Many of the countless apartment buildings and bungalows are occupied by young hopefuls just plunging into real life.

In that sense, it was a good place for Nicole Brown Simpson.

“Instead of starting her life at 18, she was starting her life at 35,” her friend Jean McKenna told Dateline NBC.

“Basically, for the first time she was free to enjoy herself without someone looking over her shoulder, judging her every moment,” says Greer. To a point. Friends say O.J. sometimes still kept tabs on her, and the psychotherapist Nicole consulted a few times after the separation claimed that Nicole said he actually stalked her.

With her new quasi-freedom, Nicole developed a close group of women friends who often went out to eat together at restaurants like Mezzaluna…

Or – after she’d tucked her kids into bed and either read them a story or led them in the Lord’s Prayer, in German – she’d leave them with a babysitter and go dancing often at a Santa Moncia club called Renaissance…

“We’d go out dancing at night… But Nicole would be up at eight the next morning, taking the kids to school and going for a ten-mile run and then going to the flower market and then picking up the kids from school, driving them to karate and all that, and then she could do it all again. She had such a strong constitution.”

Jeannie Ralston

Nicole Brown Simpson: Her Story (Glamour Magazine Fall 1994)

“A Spectacularly Demanding Life…”

What Nicole Brown disappeared into was O.J.’s life – and all that came with that. Which was considerable.

There was, of course, the $5 million, five-bedroom, six-bath house with pool and tennis court. There were the parties O.J. threw – elaborate, black-tie affairs as well as informal get-togethers where guests, many of them celebrities themselves, participated in scavenger hunts or played tennis and pool.

There was travel, with frequent trips to New York City (where the couple had a pied-a-terre), Mexico and Colorado. So much travel that Nicole later claimed, in her divorce papers, that she was never in one spot long enough to get a college degree (she claimed she dropped out of junior college for Simpson) or to pursue a real career.

 

But there was a trade-off for such a spectacular lifestyle. Friends report that even though the couple seemed very much in love and enormously passionate, they sensed a dark side.

They saw a controlling, demanding man who sometimes asked Nicole to change clothes to suit him, who had to know where she was at all times, even when he was out of town, which meant she was rarely free to meet friends for lunch on the spur of the moment.

The smallest incident could set him off, so like most women in her situation, Nicole developed ways of avoiding an explosion. “I’ve always told O.J. what he wants to hear,” Nicole admitted in her divorce papers.

“Her personality was strong,” says Greer. “She probably had to hold back because it might set him off.”

Nicole Brown Simpson: Her Story by Jeannie Ralstona

Glamour Magazine (October 1994)

“Possessive Anonymity”

As it turns out, Nicole Simpson wasn’t just trapped in life – in the role of living, breathing success symbol and blond elbow-adornment – she is also trapped in death.

 She has been remembered not as herself, but as the wife that the athlete/sportscaster/pitchman would sometimes beat and is now accused of brutally murdering.

In press reports, Ronald Goldman. the other victim, has suffered the humiliation of being a double possessive – O.J.’s ex-wife’s friend…

…but the woman he died with spent half a lifetime stalled in similar anonymity.

“You’re always So-and-So’s wife, Mrs So-and-So; you get reduced to your last name”, says Greer.

 Friends claim she was on the verge of reclaiming the “Brown” in her name, and all that it stood for; the warm, giving, free person who had gotten lost 17 years earlier.

Jeannie Ralston

“Nicole Brown Simpson Her Story” Glamour Magazine (October 1995)