Who is Al Cowlings?
The court trials of O.J. Simpson on the murder of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend was one of the most followed cases. People, directly or indirectly, involved in the case were also under the public eye.
Among the people involved in the case were Al Cowlings, OJ’s childhood friend, and a teammate. They were teammates throughout his high school to the National Football League (NFL) games.
Al Cowlings or Allen Cedric Cowlings is a former American football player and an actor. Today, people remember Cowlings as the person who helped Simpson flee in his white Ford Branco.
According to sources, it had taken two hours for the police to chase the car, driven by Al Cowlings. About 95 million people watched the event live.
Please continue reading to learn more about Al Cowlings.
Al Cowlings: Early life and Education
Al Cowlings was born in San Francisco on June 16th, 1947. He has never disclosed any information about his family.
Sources claim that he spent most of his time in California’s Potrero Hill neighborhood. While growing up, Al Cowlings made sure to involve himself in several activities. Furthermore, he was a member of a club called ‘Superior Social Club’ based in California.
He was reportedly involved and present in all the club gatherings. It usually took place in the Booker T. Washington Community Center. Apart from his extracurricular activities, Al was also a Galileo High School alumni.
During his time in high school, Cowling had taken an interest in football. It led him to be in the school’s football team, where he became a close friend and teammate with OJ Simpson.
Both Al and OJ attended City College of San Francisco and the University of California. During their time at university, the pair became massive football stars. It eventually led them to their NFL career.
Al Cowlings: Personality Traits
Al Cowlings is an American by nationality and comes from an African-American ethnicity. He stands 6’4 ft (1.96 m) tall and weighs about 113 kg (250lbs). Since he was born on June 16th, his sun sign lies under Gemini.
Al Cowlings had an enthusiastic and dynamic personality. Al always sought to expand his knowledge by participating in neighborhood events.
He was also a friendly person who wowed people with his skills and in football games. Regardless, his image got negatively tarnished due to his association with Simpson. Due to the incident, today, Cowling lives under the radar, away from the public eyes.
Al Cowlings: Relationships
Al Cowling and OJ Simpson’s friendship was solid. He even forgave his friend for wooing his high school girlfriend away from him. During his high school days, Al Cowling was dating Marguerite L. Whitley (OJ.’s first ex-wife).
Reportedly, he had asked Simpson to act as a mediator between him and Marguerite. They were struggling with relationship issues.
At first, young Simpson had agreed to help his friend with his relationship. But, he had fallen in love with Marguerite right away after talking to her. Likewise, Whitley, too, had fallen for OJ, causing her to break Cowlings’s heart.
Sources claim that Al was quite mad with Simpson for stealing his girlfriend at first. Despite the awkward situation, the pair mended their friendship. They ended up being teammates for their university’s football team.
“I think it was amazing they were able to maintain a friendship like that when they dated the same woman. But then Al and OJ and Marguerite were always friends,” said Charlie Ferguson, a mutual friend.
In 2016, Al had married a magazine model named Marion T. LaHood in a secret ceremony held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sources claim that the pair had tied the knot the next day after obtaining the marriage license.
One of LaHood’s relatives stated that the pair used to go to OJ and Nicole’s house for barbeque parties. It came to our attention that the couple lived separately when their nuptial news broke out in 2016. Al lived in Santa Barbara, and Marion was living in Hawthorne, California.
However, since Cowling has been out of public radar, it is unclear whether he is still married to LaHood or not.
Al Cowlings: Career
At the University of Southern California, Al played a crucial role in guiding his team’s defensive line. At the time, UCLA’s football team, known as Trojan’s, had the nickname ‘The Wild Bunch.’ It is the title of a western movie released in the same year.
In 1969, it had been a year since OJ Simpson had joined the Buffalo Bills. According to Chicago Tribune, he had persuaded the team to recruit Al Cowlings in the first round of the NFL draft.
The group recognized Cowlings’s leadership and agreed to recruit him in 1971. During his debut season, Al played 13 games for the team and continued to play 14 matches each for a year.
However, after a year, the Buffalo Bills had traded Cowlings to Houston Oilers in the 1972 season. Throughout his time with the Oilers, Cowlings had played 28 games for the NFL team within two seasons. After Houston Oilers, Al Cowlings joined the Rams in 1975 but had played only five games on behalf of the group.
He later joined the Seattle Seahawks in 1976. The Rams had made Al’s contract flexible that allowed him to join other teams. But, the Rams brought him back after playing only one game for the Seattle Seahawks.
Al then played a total of 14 games for the Rams in 1977. After that, he took a year off in 1978. Then he appeared in the field with his friend, OJ Simpson, while playing for the San Francisco 49ers. Cowlings had played 12 matches as a part of the 49ers.
Sadly, the 1979 season was the final game of both Simpson and Cowlings’s football career. Cowlings also worked as an actor apart from his football career. Al had first started when he appeared in his friend’s documentary named ‘O.J. Simpson: Juice on the Loose,’ in 1974.
Apart from the documentary, Cowlings also appeared in another biopic called ’30 for 30′ in 2010. Cowlings proved his remarkable acting skills when he made his debut in a sports video named ‘Bubba Until It Hurts.’ The video also included artists like Bubba Smith, Bill Bumiller, and Vince Cannon.
After the video, the star portrayed ‘Coach Nabors’ for an HBO sitcom called ‘A Family Affair.’ Before quitting the show in 1989, Cowlings appeared in 11 episodes of the sitcom. His final appearance was reportedly in the fourteenth episode of season five.
After the show, Cowlings worked as a technical advisor on an action-comedy, ‘The Last Boy Scout.’
The movie, released in 1991, was about a private detective investigating a crime. It featured actors like Bruce Wills, Damon Wayans, and Halle Berry. As a technical advisor, Al advised the filmmakers to shoot the football scenes for the movie.
Furthermore, Cowlings also worked for a sports drama called ‘Rudy’ in 1993. There he acted as a football coordinator for the movie team.
The movie is about a boy told he is too small to play college football. It features actors like Sean Astin and Jon Favreau.
Overall, Al was doing great career-wise until his involvement in the murder case of OJ Simpson. Although the police released him due to a lack of evidence, his career never remained the same.
Achievements and Recognition
Regardless of Cowlings’s career downfall, USC still remembers him for his contribution. Some of his achievements and recognition are listed below:
|1969||Named as All-American defensive tackle at University of Southern California|
|2009||Inducted into USC Athletic Hall of Fame with stars like Junior Seau, Rodney Peete, and John Robinson|
|2017||USC named its residential college after him|
List of movies
|1974||OJ Simpson: Juice on the Loose||Himself||TV Series Documentary|
|1986-1989||1st & Ten||Coach Nabors/ Casting Director||TV Series|
|1986||Bubba Until It Hurts||Himself||Video|
|1991||The Last Boy Scout||Technical advisor||Movie|
|2010||30 for 30||Himself||Documentary|
Al’s involvement in the murder case of Nicole Brown and her friend Ronald Goldman
From what we have covered above, there is no doubt that Al Cowlings was a loyal friend to OJ Simpson. Everyone who knew the two stars were not surprised to learn that Cowlings had helped Simpson flee.
Simpson tried to flee the police while Cowlings was driving him around Southern California highways. Cowlings drove him in his white Ford Bronco on June 17th, 1994.
Before the incident, the police had labeled Simpson a person of interest in the murder on June 12th, 1994. The authorities were expecting Simpson to surrender on June 17th but got caught fleeing away.
The televised low-speed chase had interrupted the 1994 NBA finals. Approximately 95 million people only in the United States alone watched the incident.
In 2016, Cowling’s had confessed to Knick’s coach that OJ was listening to the 1994 NBA Finals throughout the chase.
During the hunt, Cowlings had contacted the police telling them his friend was holding a gun to his head. Simpson had threatened him that he would shoot himself if he would not take him to his estate in Brentwood.
Later, police cars trailed the SUV, and helicopters thwapped to keep track of the Bronco. During the event, Cowlings famously quoted, stating to the police,
“My name is AC. You know who I am. God damn it!”
Finally, after more than one hour at around 8 p.m., Cowlings had pulled the vehicle outside Simpson’s house. Simpson had only surrendered after a confrontation between Cowlings and the police.
After the incident, Simpson went through an 11-month legal battle in a series of court trials. And on October 3rd, 1995, the judge declared Simpson not guilty for the two murders in a live hearing.
However, the case did not end just there. Ronald Goldman’s family filed a civil lawsuit against Simpson after he got acquitted. And on the second trial, the judges held Simpson liable for both the murders. Simpson had to pay $33,500,000 in damages on February 5th, 1997.
Despite his involvement, Cowlings was able to be on the positive side under the public’s eyes. After his bail, the public portrayed Al as a stand-up friend who tried to prevent OJ from killing himself. Moreover, a psychologist named Michael Peck also said,
“I think he saved his friend. I think that is what anybody would want in a friend to be there like that.”
What happened to Al Cowlings?
While Simpson turned himself in, Al got arrested on the charges of aiding and abetting, too. But, he luckily got released after submitting a $250,000 bail. It was also because the district attorney filed no case against him due to a lack of evidence.
Several sources said that police and prosecutors were furious at him for helping OJ flee. They claimed he was dangerously aggravating an already tense situation.
Eyewitnesses revealed that Al pushed Simpson’s son, Jason, in OJ’s Brentwood home’s driveway. He was also yelling at the police posted in the area.
During a trial, Cowlings had held a press conference a block away from the courthouse. It was reportedly conducted by a public relations firm, Edward Lozzi & Associates, at Cowlings’s request.
Al announced that he had created a ‘900 phone number’ for the public to ask him questions about anything except the murder. The conference was the only time Cowlings directly spoke to the media about the Simpson case.
Al Cowlings’s Bronco
In 1994, Al Cowlings sold his infamous white Ford Bronco to his former sports agent Mike Gilbert. After the purchase, Gilbert had parked the car in a garage without using it for more than 17 years.
In 2017, the Alcatraz East Crime Museum had loaned the vehicle to put it as an exclusive display.
Did Al Cowlings testify?
On December 3rd, 1996, Al got called upon the witness stand, where he contradicted OJ’s testimony. He admitted that he had taken Nicole Brown to the hospital after fighting with OJ, on New Year’s eve in 1989. Cowling’s confessed that Nicole had told him that Simpson had hit her on their way to the hospital.
Al Cowling’s testimony had differed from what OJ had claimed that he had “never … never … never” hit his wife.
Furthermore, Al’s friend Jennifer Peace also testified during the trials. In front of the grand jury, she claimed that Cowlings had confessed about Simpson calling him on the murder night.
“He (OJ Simpson) kept saying over and over. I did not mean to do it. I’ve done something terrible; I didn’t mean for things to turn out this way.”
Peace added that Cowlings had confessed that the knife used to kill the two victims “sleeps with the fishes.” Al Cowlings, however, completely denied he had said anything to Peace about the murder.
Are Al Cowlings and OJ Simpson still friends?
Once upon a time, both Al Cowlings and OJ Simpson’s were quite inseparable. Cowlings had followed Simpson from Galileo High School to San Francisco City College. Two years later, he joined Simpson’s stardom at UCLA.
But, after the chase incident and his testimonies, Al disappeared from the public eyes.
Simpson is quite active on social media platforms like Twitter. But, he never talks about his long-term friend and confidant Al Cowlings today. It difficult for us to be sure whether the two are still in touch or not.
Where is Al Cowlings now?
After the OJ Simpson trial, Al Cowlings has mainly remained hidden from the public eyes for good. It was also why he had got rid of his white Bronco right after the police chase incident.
In 2012, FOX News and TMZ had reported that Cowlings had gone bankrupt. His bankruptcy had led him to sell handbags to earn a living in California.
In 2014, the media claimed that one of Cowlings’s teammates stated that he worked under B. Wayne Hughes. Bradley Wayne Hughes is an American businessman and founder of Public Storage.
Two years later, Radar Online reported that Al was working as a personal trainer. It mentioned that he also worked as a volunteer at a horse therapy ranch in Santa Barbara.
People saw Cowlings out in public for the first time in 2017. It was when he attended the Trojan’s spring game. His presence in the game was one of the few appearances he had made in the last 25 years after the murder trials.
In 2018, Simpson admitted he was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Athletes who go through a series of injuries or concussions during the games are usually diagnosed with this condition. He revealed that his teammates, including Al Cowlings, also suffer through CTE symptoms.
Al Cowlings: Quicks facts
|Full name:||Allen Cedric “A.C.” Cowlings|
|Birthdate:||June 16th, 1947|
|Birthplace:||San Francisco, United States|
|Occupation:||Former football player/ actor|
|Weight:||250 lbs (113 kg)|
|High school:||Galileo High School|
|College:||University of Southern California|