Ron Goldman

Ronald Lyle Goldman (July 2, 1968 – June 12, 1994) was an American restaurant waiter and aspiring actor.

Ron Goldman
Ron Goldman
Goldman in 1991
Born(1968-07-02)July 2, 1968
DiedJune 12, 1994(1994-06-12) (aged 25)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of deathStab wounds
Resting placePierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park
EducationAdlai E. Stevenson High School
Alma materIllinois State University
Los Angeles Pierce College
OccupationWaiter

A working volunteer with children suffering from cerebral palsy, Goldman appeared as a contestant on the short-lived game show Studs in early 1992. In 1994, Goldman became a friend of Nicole Brown Simpson, the ex-wife of American football player O. J. Simpson.

On June 12, 1994, Goldman was murdered, along with Brown, outside her home in Brentwood, Los Angeles. Following a controversial and highly publicized criminal trial, Simpson was acquitted of all charges, though he was later found liable of the wrongful deaths in a civil lawsuit in 1997, filed by Fred Goldman, Ron's father.

Early life

Ron Goldman 
Goldman in 1985

Goldman was born on July 2, 1968. He grew up in the community of Buffalo Grove, Illinois. After his parents divorced in 1974 and after spending a brief time in the custody of his mother, Sharon Rufo (née Fohrman), he was raised by his father, Frederic Goldman (born December 6, 1940). Goldman lived with his father and his younger sister. Goldman was raised Jewish.

Goldman attended high school at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois. He was a student at Illinois State University for one semester, where he planned to major in psychology, and he also had an interest in becoming a pledge in Sigma Nu fraternity. After his family relocated to Southern California when he was 18 years old, however, Goldman discontinued his studies and followed his family.

Prior to relocating with his family, Goldman worked as a camp counselor and had experience volunteering with children who suffered from cerebral palsy.

In California

While living in Los Angeles, Goldman took some classes at Pierce College. He learned to surf and enjoyed playing beach volleyball, rollerblading, and nightclubbing.

Upon arriving in California, Goldman lived independently from his family and supported himself as an employment headhunter, tennis instructor, and waiter. He worked occasionally as a model for Barry Zeldes, owner of the Z90049 store in Brentwood Gardens. Not long before his death, he earned an emergency medical technician license, but he decided not to pursue that as a career.

Instead, Goldman told friends that he wanted to open a bar or restaurant in the Brentwood area. He planned for the venue to be known not by a name but by the ankh, an Egyptian religious symbol of life that he had tattooed on his shoulder. According to his friend Jeff Keller, he wanted to learn all facets of the restaurant-bar business and occasionally worked as a promoter at a Century City dance club called Tripps. For Memorial Day, he participated with a group of event promoters in organizing a party at Renaissance, a club and restaurant on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

Goldman also expressed aspirations to act; he appeared on an episode of the dating game show Studs (hosted by Mark DeCarlo) in early 1992.

He dated Jacqui Bell for nearly two years before she broke off their relationship three months before his death.

Death

Friendship with Nicole Brown Simpson

According to a June 15, 1994, Los Angeles Times article published three days after his death, Goldman met Brown only six weeks prior to the date they were murdered, when he borrowed her Ferrari. The two grew increasingly friendly, occasionally meeting for coffee and dinner in the weeks before their deaths. According to police and friends, however, the relationship between the two was platonic. One article noted that he had borrowed her car when he met his friend, Craig Clark, for lunch. According to Clark, Goldman told him it was Brown's car, but he did not say she was his girlfriend. Instead, Goldman said they were friends.

June 12, 1994

On the evening of Sunday, June 12, 1994, Goldman worked a server shift at Mezzaluna Trattoria in Brentwood. Brown called to report that her mother had inadvertently dropped her reading glasses outside by the gutter when they dined there earlier in the evening. Goldman had not been their server, but after a search at the restaurant turned up the glasses, Goldman agreed, at Brown’s request, to drop them off at her home after work.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Goldman "punched out at 9:33 pm and stayed another 15 minutes to have bottled water at the bar." He made plans to go out with Mezzaluna's bartender Stewart Tanner later that evening. Before returning the glasses, Goldman stopped by his Brentwood apartment at 11663 Gorham Avenue. He then walked the approximate 10 minutes to Brown’s condominium.

Goldman and Brown were stabbed to death on the walkway leading to the condominium at 875 South Bundy Drive; their bodies were discovered shortly after midnight. During a reconstruction of events, the police theorized that Brown and Goldman were talking when they were attacked or that Goldman arrived while Brown was being attacked; in any case, the police believe that Brown was the intended target and that Goldman was killed in order to silence him. Witness Robert Heidstra testified that while walking near Brown's condominium that night, he heard a man yelling, "Hey! Hey! Hey!" who was then shouted at by a second man. Goldman's family came to believe that Ron was the man shouting "Hey!" and that he may have attempted to save Brown by intervening in the attack.

Goldman was 20 days shy of his 26th birthday when he died. He is buried at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village, California.

Aftermath

Simpson was tried for the killings of both Brown and Goldman. In October 1995, after a public trial that lasted nearly nine months and presented both circumstantial and forensic evidence that Simpson killed both, he was acquitted in a controversial verdict. In 1997, Fred Goldman, Ron's father, filed a civil lawsuit against Simpson. The jury found him liable for the wrongful death of Goldman and awarded the Goldman family $33 million. Simpson was subsequently jailed for an unrelated armed robbery at a Las Vegas hotel in 2008. Both Fred and Kim Goldman were present at the robbery trial, and after Simpson's conviction, Fred Goldman expressed his satisfaction and referred to it as a "bittersweet" moment.

"Nicole. Jesus. I looked down and saw her on the ground in front of me, curled up in a fetal position at the base of the stairs, not moving. Goldman was only a few feet away, slumped against the bars of the fence. He wasn't moving either. Both he and Nicole were lying in giant pools of blood. I had never seen so much blood in my life. It didn't seem real, and none of it computed."

If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer, Simpson (2006), p. 81.

The rights to Simpson's book, If I Did It, a first-person account of how he would have committed the murders, were awarded to the Goldman family in August 2007. They were granted the proceeds from the book as part of the multi-million dollar civil jury award against him they had been trying to collect for over a decade. They own the copyright, media rights, and movie rights. They also acquired Simpson's name, likeness, life story, and right of publicity in connection with the book, according to court documents, ensuring he would not be able to profit from the book. After renaming the book If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer, the Goldman family published it in September 2007 through Beaufort Books, some versions of the book having the "If" text shrunk, implying OJ's guilt. Denise Brown, Nicole Brown's sister, criticized the Goldmans for publishing the book and accused them of profiting from Nicole and Ron's deaths.

When filmmaker Ezra Edelman, director of the documentary O.J.: Made in America, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, he dedicated the award to both Goldman and Brown in his acceptance speech. Fred Goldman was among those whom Edelman interviewed in the documentary.

In an interview with Barbara Walters, Fred Goldman said that shortly after Simpson's acquittal, he was approached by a stranger who offered to sell him an untraceable high-powered rifle to kill Simpson or to hire someone to kill Simpson for him, but the appalled Goldman refused.

In an interview with 20/20, Kim Goldman said that one day some time after Simpson's acquittal, she was driving in her car when she saw him in a parking lot in Los Angeles. She considered running him over to get vengeance, but decided otherwise.

In 2022, Fred Goldman applied for a renewal of his old judgment against Simpson, claiming Simpson still owed him $96 million.

When Simpson died in 2024, Fred Goldman initially called Simpson’s death "no great loss to the world" but also said that it was "just a further reminder of how long my son has been gone...how many years, and how much he’s been missed. And the only thing that is important today are (Ron and Nicole). Nothing else is important." Kim and Fred later issued a statement that read, "The hope for true accountability has ended... Thank you for keeping our family, and most importantly Ron, in your hearts". Fred Goldman said that he will still pursue "justice" for his son after Simpson's attorney said that the Goldman family will get "nothing" from the estate. A few days later, Simpson's attorney backtracked and confirmed that Simpson's estate will settle the legal verdict with the Brown and Goldman families, and said that his statements were made out of a moment of frustration over what he felt were "insensitive" remarks about Simpson's death.

Foundation

The Goldman family contributed a portion of proceeds from the If I Did It book sales to the newly founded Ron Goldman Foundation for Justice. It provides grants for multiple organizations and programs that provide resources to victims and survivors of violent crimes. One of the largest donors to the foundation is Las Vegas executive Mark Goldman, Fred Goldman's first cousin.

Portrayals

Goldman is portrayed by:

See also

References

Further reading

Tags:

Ron Goldman Early lifeRon Goldman In CaliforniaRon Goldman DeathRon Goldman AftermathRon Goldman Further readingRon Goldman

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