Thursday, March 31, 2005



Arguably America's most famous criminal lawyer, Johnnie Cochran Jr., died Tuesday. The attorney, best known for defending O.J. Simpson against double murder charges, was 67. MSNBC reported Cochran's death early Tuesday afternoon.

"He had had a brain tumor and he had gone through a long process of dealing with it," attorney Rikki Klieman, legal analyst for NBC's Today show and wife of Los Angeles police Chief William Bratton, told the cable network.

Cochran had been ill for years with a rare brain disorder that caused his tumor, per reports. He died at his home in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles of the inoperable brain tumor, according to his brother-in-law, Bill Baker.

During the early morning hours Tuesday before his death was announced, Lifetime showed an old episode of 'The Nanny' in which Milton Berle appeared as Fran's Uncle Manny, a lawyer. He was supposed to be defending her in a court case, during which he pointed out that her dress appeared to be too "snug".

"There you have it, Your Honor," Uncle Manny said to the judge. "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit."

After making such a splash with the televised proceedings at the OJ Simpson murder trial, Cochran went on to make an impression on the fictional side of Toobworld as well.

Here are a list of his credits in which he portrayed himself:
Pete Rose on Trial (2003) (TV) .... Defense attorney
Jim Brown All American (2002) .... Himself (Attorney)
CHiPs '99 (1998) (TV) .... Himself
The Trial of O.J. Simpson (1995) (TV) (as Johnnie Cochran) .... Himself
"First Monday" playing "Himself" (as Johnnie Cochran) in episode: "The Price of Liberty" (episode # 1.3) 25 January 2002
"JAG" playing "Himself" in episode: "JAG TV" (episode # 6.5) 31 October 2000
"The Hughleys" playing "Himself" (as Johnnie Cochran) in episode: "The Truth Shall Set Me Free" (episode # 3.5) 9 October 2000
"The Hughleys" playing "Himself" (as Johnnie Cochran) in episode: "Dog Eat Dog" (episode # 1.16) 9 February 1999
"Arli$$" playing "Himself" (as Johnnie Cochran) in episode: "His Name Is Arliss Michaels" (episode # 3.13) 30 August 1998
"Family Matters" playing "Himself" in episode: "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" (episode # 9.13) 16 January 1998

In addition, he also was portrayed at least once in at TV movie:
Ving Rhames (Johnnie Cochran)
. . . American Tragedy (2000) (TV)

[I'm not sure if comedy sketches on variety shows count, but the Reverend Al Sharpton played Cochran on 'Saturday Night Live' in which he rode a roller coaster with Michael Jackson as they discussed the singer's child molestation case.]

There was also a short film regarding the troubled life of Todd Bridges, but this may have been a theatrical release:
Shashawnee Hall (Johnnie Cochran)
. . . Building Bridges (2000)

In just a decade, Cochran certainly made a deep impact on Toobworld, between his appearances as himself in TV shows and the countless variations on his most famous quote:

"If it doesn't fit, you must acquit."

And without Johnny Cochran to lead the way, we never would have had TV Crossover Hall of Fame contender Jackie Childs, from 'Seinfeld' and Honda commercials.

As a member of the League of Themselves, Johnny Cochran will one day be inducted into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame himself.....

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