|Some celebrities are as famous for their court case as they are for their talents. Here are seven of the most famous court cases involving some icons of pop culture.
Despite his best attempts, Charles Manson is only famous for his murderous ways and court cases. Manson was trying to make it big in the music business in Los Angeles in the 1960’s. He started a “family” of young hippies and lived at a ranch outside of Los Angeles. His family consisted of a few men and several young women. When Manson had finally had enough with the Hollywood elite that continually shunned him, he ordered some family members to kill actress Sharon Tate and a group of her friends one night. The gruesome murder was meant to send a message, and was not an isolated incident. Manson finally became famous, although not for his musical talents, once the police finally put the pieces together and put Manson and his family on trial. The murders and trials would haunt America for years, as the lengthy trail was as bizarre as the murderers were.
After a highly televised police chase, OJ was arrested for the murder of his ex-wife and her current lover. The criminal case found OJ not guilty, mostly because of one piece of evidence. The leather glove found at the scene did not fit OJ and the famous quote was “if the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” A civil jury, however, found OJ responsible for the deaths of the couple and awarded the victims’ families $33.5 million dollars. OJ found himself in the headlines again in 2009 after he committed some crimes in Las Vegas, where he is now serving time.
Michael Jackson was no stranger to the courtroom. He has been involved in several cases from trademark infringement to not delivering albums on time. His most famous court case, however, was the one brought by the parents of a 13-year-boy that detailed lurid sexual acts between him and Jackson. The case, People vs. Michael Jackson was one of the most televised and eccentric celebrity cases in history, with Jackson frequently showing up to court late or in pajamas, always to crowds of screaming fans outside of the courthouse. Even after his death, Michael Jackson’s name is still appearing in court cases as his personal doctor is being tried for the wrongful death of the singer.
Until 2003, Phil Spector was best known for producing “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” and being inducted to the Rock N Roll hall of fame for work with The Beatles, Tina Turner, and the Ramones. Spector began to recede from the star life and became increasingly more eccentric, drinking heavily, and often threatening women with guns. Spector is now infamous for shooting and killing actress Lana Clarkson after she tried to avoid his advances and leave his home one night. Her body was found in his foyer and he was found guilty of second-degree murder and illegally discharging a firearm.
Anna Nicole Smith
The former Playboy model was always in the media spotlight for her wild ways, and when she married an oil tycoon, J. Howard Marshall II, 6 decades her senior, there was much speculation about her motives. The marriage ended when Marshall died and then the famous court battle began between Anna and the tycoon’s son, E. Pierce Marshall. Anna claimed that Marshall promised to provide for her through a gift from a catchall trust, but his son was the beneficiary of the $1.6 billion estate and the will specified nothing for his young widow. The case was never settled because of E. Pierce’s and then Anna’s untimely deaths. It is likely that Anna’s daughter will take up the case against E. Pierce’s wife once she is old enough.
The Polish-born movie director has received several awards including an Oscar for best director for The Pianist. Polanski first appeared in court after the murder of his young, pregnant wife by the bizarre Manson family. Tate was just one of many victims killed by the drugged-crazed teenagers at the order of Charles Manson. After that trial ended, life seemed as if it might never get back to normal for anyone touched by the Manson family. In 1977, Polanski was arrested for sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles. He pled guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and then returned to London to avoid sentencing. He lives in exile, still making films and receiving Academy Awards.
One of the nastiest, most talked about Hollywood divorce cases in history was between Woody Allen and Mia Farrow. During the divorce proceedings, it came out that Allen was a pedophile and had been dating his stepdaughter, Soon Yi, since she was 14. In the divorce Farrow got custody of the three remaining children. Allen went on to wed Soon Yi.