They were ordinary people—a housekeeper, a limo driver, a small group of veteran cops. But no sooner had they taken their turns in Judge Lance Ito’s Los Angeles courtroom—and on television screens across the world—than they became household names. Then, just as quickly, they were gone.
Last week, in a Santa Monica courtroom, the wrongful-death civil suit against O.J. Simpson got under way. Though Simpson is compelled to testify, not all the first trial’s bit players are expected to be back for an encore; their lives have taken them elsewhere. But where? How were they affected by their brush with fame and the so-called Trial of the Century? To find out, PEOPLE interviewed several of those whose brief celebrity has not quite flickered out.
FAY RESNICK: Nicole’s tell-all friend is still writing
Although her 1994 book about Nicole became a mid-trial bestseller, Resnick was never called to testify. Even now, Nicole “is part of me,” says her friend, who was in rehab for her cocaine addiction on the night of the murders. She has never stopped believing O.J. is guilty and says his acquittal “still takes the wind out of me.” These days, though, the 39-year-old Resnick worries less about Simpson and more about death threats phoned to the Beverly Hills townhouse she shares with daughter Francesca, 12. While police investigate, she’s writing a new self-help book for women. Divorced since 1991, she seldom dates, despite her friends’ matchmaking attempts. “I have a full life,” she insists.
ALLAN PARK: Driving golf balls rather than limos
The limousine driver who took O.J. to the airport the night of the murders now carries less glamorous freight as a deliveryman for an air-cargo service on Santa Catalina Island, where the 26-year-old Park moved shortly after the slayings to escape the media onslaught. Living with his girlfriend, waitress Dyana Dulin, 29, Park has thrived on the island, which is 26 miles off the California coast. “His golf is improving,” says his mother, Wendy. In his spare time he has worked as a horseback trail guide and in a program that brings troubled urban kids to the island. Soon, he hopes to begin training as a firefighter. Though he’ll likely be called as a witness in O.J.’s civil trial, Park has mostly put the case behind him. Says his mom: “He’s still the Allan everybody knows and loves.”
MARK FUHRMAN: No longer a cop—or in L.A.
The LAPD detective, 44 and currently retired, whose tape-recorded use of the “n” word may have sunk the prosecution, moved in the summer of 1995 to Sandpoint, Idaho, where he lives with his wife, Caroline, and their two small children, Hailey and Cole, on a 20-acre ranch. “He’s happy, he’s doing great and has lots of friends up here,” says Scott Clawson, owner of Clawson Lighting and Electric, where Fuhrman works as an apprentice electrician. “You rarely see him out in public,” adds Ron Chaney, Sandpoint’s former mayor, who reports that Fuhrman may have literary aspirations. “I have been with Mark for many hours,” notes Chaney. “He’s a great storyteller.”
RON SHIPP: An ex-friend cannot forgive or forget
“I’m trying to get back to living a normal life,” says Shipp, a former police officer (with daughter Danielle, 6, son David, 11, and wife Nina at their Santa Clarita Valley home in California). Shipp, who testified that Simpson told him he had dreams of killing Nicole, has been moodier since the trial. “He spends a lot of time reading the Bible,” says Nina. Now supervising tenant relations for an L.A. property management company, Shipp, 44, blames his onetime pal for the trial’s exacerbation of racial divisions. Says Shipp: Simpson “has done more to destroy what Martin Luther King has done…than anyone else before him.”
DENNIS FUNG: Back on the ballistics beat
During his withering cross-examination on the witness stand, the LAPD criminalist conceded that police “possibly” compromised DNA evidence against Simpson—giving the defense enough seeds to sow a forest of doubt. Fung, 37, who lives in an L.A. suburb, is back at work at the LAPD’s Scientific Investigation Division, where he spends most of his time reviewing cases and analyzing bullets. “It’s fun, it’s a good job,” he says. Now recovered from his courtroom ordeal, he says he enjoys his continuing fame. “Just today, I was walking outside a crime scene, and a lady pointed at me and said, ‘Aren’t you Dennis Fung?’ ” he reports. “She drove home, got her kid and came back with a camera!”
KATO KAELIN: Still waiting for stardom
The trial helped put O.J.’s former houseguest on Playgirl’s January 1996 cover, but it hasn’t done much for his acting career. “Hollywood has been somewhat tough on me,” admits Kaelin, 37. Still, he has found enough work—a short-lived L.A. talk-radio show, a guest appearance on the UPN series The Watcher and a low-budget action movie, For Life or Death—to pay the rent on his own small Beverly Hills apartment. And his love life hasn’t suffered. “He is probably one of the princes and playboys in Hollywood,” says Kato’s agent Raphael Berko. “The girls love him.”
TRACY HAMPTON: From the jury to showbiz
After telling Judge Ito, “I can’t take it anymore,” the TWA flight attendant was dismissed from the jury in May 1995, only to turn up last March posing in Playboy. With the bunny money she earned, she quit her job, began acting classes and is now auditioning for TV and movie roles. Single and 27, Hampton has dated one of the news reporters—she won’t identify which one—who interviewed her after her dismissal. She hasn’t sought out any of her fellow jurors since O.J.’s acquittal, but as for the question “Did he or didn’t he?” she thinks he “probably” did.
TOM LANGE: The crime scene cop becomes a P.I.
“I haven’t worn a tie in weeks, and I haven’t shaved in two days,” reports Lange (right, at his September LAPD retirement party with wife Linda, 48, and daughters Megan, 12, and Melissa, 15). After 29 years on the force, Lange, 51, has opened a Simi Valley private-investigation firm with Adam Dawson, a former investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Daily News. “We’ve been staying very busy,” says the ex-cop, who now does “everything from civil to criminal to federal cases. I do things at my own pace, and if I don’t want to take a job, I decline.” About the Simpson case, Lange says, “The system completely failed, but I don’t blame myself or the police.”
PAULA BARBIERI: O.J.’s ex-girlfriend goes home
Though she came to be known as O.J. Simpson’s girlfriend, Barbieri, 29 (in June at a New York City AIDS benefit), said in a deposition for the civil trial that she had split with O.J., leaving a message on his phone machine the morning of the murders. And though she gave him emotional support through the first trial, says her manager Tom Hahn, “there was no love affair going on through all this.”
Barbieri, now living with her mother in her hometown of Panama City, Fla., where she teaches a weekly Bible-study class for young adults, hasn’t spoken to Simpson since he visited just after the verdict. Nor has she gotten modeling work. “It’s been rough on her financially this past year,” says Hahn. Even more difficult was the loss of her father, Vincent, who died of lung cancer in August. “She could have sold out like everybody else,” says Hahn, who says she turned down money from the tabloid press. “But she has too much integrity.”
THOMAS FIELDS-MEYER and CURTIS RIST
LORENZO BENET, JOHN HANNAH, MICHELE KELLER, ANNE-MARIE OTEY and LYNDON STAMBLER in Los Angles and CATHY FREE in Sandpoint