Simpson was born in San Francisco and attended community college before going to the University of Southern California on a football scholarship.
At USC, he was a candidate for the Heisman Trophy as a junior, and won the award as a senior.
In 1969, Simpson was drafted as a number-one draft pick by the Buffalo Bills, and in 1973, he became the first NFL player to rush for over two thousand yards.
Before the 1978 season, Simpson was traded to the San Francisco 49ers, where he remained for two seasons.
He played in six Pro Bowls and was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
Simpson was also a successful actor and television producer; he appeared in films such as The Klansman and the Naked Gun series, as well as in the miniseries Roots, and he produced a series of TV movies in the early 1980s.
In 1994, Simpson was charged with the murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ronald Goldman; his trial was one of the most publicized trials in American history, and ended in a not-guilty verdict.