roll call

O.J.: Made in America: 9 Key Figures to Know in the ESPN Documentary

L-R: Carl E. Douglas, Mike Gilbert, Marcus Allen. Photo: Getty Images

One of the most astonishing feats pulled off by O.J.: Made in America producer-director Ezra Edelman was procuring nearly 70 onscreen interviews with O.J. Simpson’s family, friends, rival and allied attorneys, victims, and benefactors, along with a wealth of personal and police video footage. Faces who’ve become familiar over the 20-plus-year arc dating back to the disgraced football star’s criminal trial — Marcia Clark, A.C. Cowlings, Johnnie Cochran, Mark Fuhrman et al. — are omnipresent in this exhaustive eight-hour referendum on race, celebrity, psychopathy, and the tragically unsolved murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. But it’s the inclusion of insight from, and background on, everyone from O.J.’s childhood friends and early business partners to Nicole’s closest confidantes and LAPD’s rank-and-file that help Edelman’s account feel definitive despite so many unanswered questions. Below are nine recurring figures from Made in America — whether appearing as willing, on-camera participants or commented on anecdotally — along with additional information on their role in and outside of O.J.’s circumstances, both before and after he became our most infamous American athlete.

Photo: Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Who: Danny Bakewell
Who He Was to O.J.: An L.A.-based activist and real-estate developer, Bakewell was a leading community advocate for Simpson’s innocence during his criminal trial.
Where He Is Now: In 2004, Bakewell purchased the historic African-American-run newspaper The Los Angeles Sentinel (whose reporter, Dennis Schatzman, was a peripheral character in FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson), along with serving as publisher of L.A. Watts Times and acquiring New Orleans talk-radio station WBOK. He’s also carried a reputation as being somewhat litigious. His namesake holdings, the Bakewell Company and Bakewell Media, are a family affair, overseen by himself and his children, Danny Jr. and Pamela.

Photo: Pool/Getty Images

Who: Mike Gilbert
Who He Was to O.J.: Longtime agent, later accused by those close to Simpson of siphoning off his personal memorabilia.
Where He Is Now: Since Simpson’s conviction for armed robbery and kidnapping in 2008, Gilbert has been rather outspoken about all things related to his former client, from published assertions that O.J. privately confessed his guilt in Nicole and Ron’s deaths to, more recently, asserting that Kris Kardashian née Jenner was a glorified groupie. He was also among the first to dispel notions that a knife recently discovered on the grounds of Simpson’s former Brentwood estate was the weapon used to kill Nicole and Ron. Gilbert is retired as a sports agent, but he appears frequently on television, film, and in print and online media discussing his years with and without his infamous ex-client, as well as his intentions for Simpson’s infamous Ford Bronco, which he owns.

Photo: Jason LaVeris/Getty Images

Who: Carl E. Douglas
Who He Was to O.J.: Attorney for Johnnie Cochran’s namesake firm and part of Simpson’s defense team in the ’95 criminal trial.
Where He Is Now: After departing his former boss’s employ in 1998, Douglas struck out on his own with the Douglas Law Firm, which today has evolved into Douglas Hicks Firm with his partner, civil litigator and criminal-defense lawyer Jamon Hicks. Douglas continues to specialize in cases involving police misconduct, doesn’t shy away from a media opp, and had to sweep accusations about his own dodgy conduct during O.J.’s criminal case under the rug. As we learn in Made in America, he’s fairly unequivocal about having enjoyed the national platform 21 years ago.

Who: Celia Farber
Who She Was to O.J.: A journalist who spent about two days with Simpson for a 1998 Esquire cover story.
Where She Is Now: Farber has continued to work in print, online, and broadcast journalism. Her 2006 book on the history of AIDS was the culmination of two decades reporting on the disease. She also hosts a regular science-based radio program. That said, she’s not entirely out of the O.J. business, having joined the ranks of those who ventured out to Mike Gilbert’s garage in recent months to authenticate his claims of possessing Simpson’s storied getaway truck.

Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty Images

Who: Yolanda Crawford
Who She Was to O.J.: Juror #1492 in Simpson’s ’95 criminal trial.
Where She Is Now: Crawford works, as she has for more than 17 years, as a law-enforcement technician for — ironically enough — the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (though at the time of the trial, she worked as a paramedics dispatch for a hospital). Whatever her motivation, Crawford’s also become increasingly visible in mass media over the past several years, offering insight into the juror experience amid Casey Anthony’s trial, and even appearing on the same couch as Kim Goldman for The Meredith Vieira Show.

Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Who: Barry Scheck
Who He Was to O.J.: Part of Simpson’s “dream team,” notably for his expertise in DNA science.
Where He Is Now: Scheck has loomed as a polarizing player in the case. He was chastised by the California Bar for participating in the Simpson trial without a license in the state, and his takedown of timid prosecution witness Dennis Fung was viewed with a sort of squirmy awe. On the other hand, he’s celebrated by victims’ advocates for founding the Innocence Project, which has dedicated nearly 25 years to overturning wrongful convictions with the help of DNA evidence. He’s also currently a professor at the New Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and serves as director or co-director of numerous organizations committed to an ethical criminal-justice system. And as evidenced by his discomfort with some of Edelman’s questioning during Made in America, Scheck himself is likely still reconciling some of the contradictions.

Photo: MIKE NELSON/AFP/Getty Images

Who: Fred Goldman
Who He Is to O.J.: Father of Ron Goldman, and plaintiff in successful 1997 civil trial against Simpson.
Where He Is Now: Goldman has never slowed down his pursuit of what he sees as justice in his son’s death, including purchasing the rights to Simpson’s controversial, ghostwritten, almost-confessional If I Did It and republishing it with tweaks to the book jacket that implied his guilt. He also founded the Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice and has been very outspoken about any developments regarding Ron’s unsolved murder, including this past winter’s discovery of a knife on Simpson’s former property and events as depicted in People v. O.J. He’s also served as president for technology research-and-development company GlobalTrak. Goldman currently resides in Peoria, Arizona, with his wife and works in real estate.

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Who: Tom Riccio
Who He Was to O.J.: Memorabilia dealer, accomplice in Simpson’s botched 2007 Las Vegas robbery, and source of recordings sold to TMZ that ensured O.J.’s conviction.
Where He Is Now: Not to be confused with this artist and writer or this real estate agent, Riccio cashed in speedily in the wake of O.J. going down, and not just courtesy of Harvey Levin. Roughly half a year after selling his tapes to TMZ, Riccio published a tawdry tome about the Simpson ordeal thinly veiled as an insider’s look at the sports-memorabilia trade. Although it’s his life prior to crossing paths with O.J. that gives real pause, on account of numerous felony convictions and substantial time in prison. But, hey: Some people think he’s a hero.

Photo: Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Who: Marcus Allen
Who He Is to O.J.: Friend, fellow NFL alum and Heisman winner, and — allegedly — a secret lover of Nicole’s.
Where He Is Now: Perhaps emblematic of how the Simpson-Goldman murders tragically overlapped with Hollywood’s socialite subculture, Allen’s reputedly roving eye for women has been dissected in-depth on nothing less than the Real Housewives. Allen, for his part, has maintained that he and Nicole were never romantic, even testifying during Simpson’s civil trial that his one-time friend asked him to lie about their relationship under oath. Allen has largely stayed quiet on the subject of Nicole over the past two decades, worked as a football analyst for CBS, and stays busy with myriad public appearances.

O.J.: Made in America: 9 Key Figures to Know