Johnnie Cochran, 1937 - 2005
March 30, 2005
Famed defense attorney Johnny Cochran, best known for defending O.J. Simpson, died in his home in Los Feliz, California, Tuesday, from an inoperable brain tumor. He was 67.
And while America lost the most famous defense attorney this country has ever seen, "Extra" and "Celebrity Justice" lost a man we had come to know in a very personal way.
Cochran touched the lives of many, including Donald Trump, who told us the two were friends: "I watched him do the O.J. Simpson case, and I said, 'Boy, he must really be a great lawyer if he got O.J. off.'"
The Simpson case made Johnny an international celebrity, and his infamous line, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit," will be forever remembered. His courtroom performance was even spoofed on shows like "Seinfeld."
"Celebrity Justice" Executive Producer Harvey Levin conducted one of the last in-depth interviews with the famous lawyer. And when asked whether he'd rather be respected or feared, Cochran responded, "That's a good question. I think they're both really important to have. But I think probably fear may edge out a little bit."
Cochran was best known for representing the rich and famous, including Michael Jackson, P. Diddy and Todd Bridges. But fighting police brutality was his greatest passion, and he told Levin that he hoped he wouldn't be remembered only for defending O.J.
"I didn't want to be judged by that one trial," he said. "I was an advocate, and I had to do the best I could for my client."