CNN Showbiz

Simpson trial's bit players become deal makers

October 4, 1995
Web posted at: 9:15 a.m. EDT

From Showbiz Correspondent Sherri Sylvester

Kato and Mesco

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- For more than a year, as the O.J. Simpson trial has simmered and boiled, money has been made on books, movies and merchandise. Now that the trial is over, get ready for an avalanche. Everyone hopes to spin their stories into gold.

Not the least of whom is Kato Kaelin. From O.J. Simpson's house guest to radio talk show host, Kaelin has managed to spin a career from what is now being called "The Trial of the Century." But if Kaelin is perched in the spotlight, he says, it is no surprise. "I came out here, fifteen years ago, to pursue show business," he says.

Even Simpson's golf caddy, Mitchell Mesko, is getting in on the act. He's just completed a book. And what does a golf caddy have to say? A lot, it turns out. Mesko says that his 75,000-word book, "Confessions of a Caddy," is about the Riviera Country club, where Simpson golfed, and about Simpson himself.

A drug dealer who claims that Simpson was his client the night of the murders is also writing a book. It has 200 pages and "Ron X" says it will deal with "all the different levels of this case."

The well-known and not-so-well-known players in the courtroom drama are signing with talent agents. Ruth Webb and Sherri Spillane opened their Scandal Department a year ago. They call their clients scandal icons. "We look for Movie of the Week deals, publishing and personal appearances," Spillane says.

Ron X

And they do find deals. "Ron X" is one of those deal makers. Even though he says he passed a lie detector test, his connection to the case is unproven. "The main thing is, we're shopping the book that I've written. The book is called 'Kato and O.J.: Speed Kills.'"

Spillane and Webb turned down Mary Anne Gerchas, but hope to sign Johnny Cochran's ex-wife and Mesko, the golf caddy.

Few should quit their day jobs, according to Michael Viner. His Dove Books published a number of high-profile accounts. "The publishing world has signed up probably fifty books on this trial, and at some point, they're gonna fall off a cliff."

But many insiders expect big money deals for Johnny Cochran and the Simpson jury. Kaelin has already fielded hundreds of offers, one of them from an Arab sheik who wanted to buy Kaelin outright. Another offered him a spot in commercials for hair care products. He settled for a radio show.

Olson

"He took full advantage of the fact that he got a little exposure," publicist Dale Olson says. "Some females find him attractive, and so he thought, 'Let's make a career out of this.'"

And what about O.J. Simpson? The star hopes to patent his name for a product line, experts say that a second book would be a bestseller, and there are reports of a pay-per-view interview. Ultimately, only a chosen few will be able to stretch their 15 minutes into life-long careers.



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