Cheryl Hines Reveals Connection to O.J. Simpson

Actress Cheryl Hines has revealed a surprising connection with controversial late football star O.J. Simpson.

The Hall of Fame Buffalo Bills running back was at the center of a high-profile murder trial that lasted eight months and created a media storm beginning in January 1995. Simpson was ultimately acquitted in the 1994 killings of his wife, Nicole Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman.

During an appearance on Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown podcast on Tuesday, Curb Your Enthusiasm star Hines said she’d worked as a bartender and waitress at the Hotel Inter-Continental in Los Angeles, the location where the Simpson jury was sequestered.

O.J. Simpson (left) 1994. Cheryl Hines, 2024
O.J. Simpson sits in L.A. Superior Court, December 8, 1994. Cheryl Hines attends Paley Fest LA 2024 on April 18, 2024, in Hollywood, California.

Pool/Kevin Winter/AFP/Getty Images

Since renamed the Omni Los Angeles Hotel, jurors were confined to the luxury suites on the fifth floor for the duration of the trial.

The isolated jurors were unable to watch TV, read the newspaper or make calls from the hotel phones and had to adhere to a strict evening curfew. If they wanted to exit the hotel, they had to be chaperoned by a security guard. The group was finally allowed to leave following the verdict in October 1995.

“I forget what floor they were on, but we weren’t allowed to go to that floor, we weren’t allowed to tell anybody they were there,” Hines recalled.

“One of them etched ‘help me’ in their window and you could see it. I was like, ‘What is going on on that floor?’ “

The Emmy nominee said the jurors began to go “crazy” as the trial dragged on. A hotel pianist would play on their floor as entertainment, with Hines saying the musician told her, “They are going nuts, they’re not going to make it.”

“It was very interesting,” Hines continued. “My manager during that trial asked me to pack a bag and keep it packed by my door, because when they got news that a verdict was coming in, I was to drive straight to the hotel and check in. I think it was the first time I stayed in a really nice hotel.”

Explaining the decision to fully sequester the jury, Judge Lance Ito told The Philadephia Enquirer in 1995: “We will try to make this something less than … an experience of incarceration, but it won’t be a picnic. We will all do our very best to make this as palatable as possible.”

After 253 days, the jurors were able to deliberate, reaching a verdict within hours. Approximately 140 million people watched the verdict live, with reactions widely divided along racial lines.

A 1994 poll conducted by The Washington Post and ABC found that 22 percent of Black Americans believed Simpson was guilty, compared to 63 percent of White Americans.

Following the verdict, an L.A. Times poll revealed that 77 percent of Black residents in the county agreed with the result, while 65 percent of white residents either disagreed or strongly disagreed.

Although he was acquitted for killing of his wife and Goldman, Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping in 2008. He was paroled and released in 2017 after serving nine years.

Simpson passed away on April 10 following a battle with cancer. He was 76 years old.