Famed attorney F. Lee Bailey, perhaps best-known for his role as part of O.J. Simpson’s “Dream Team” of attorneys Robert Shapiro, Johnny Cochrane, Robert Kardashian, and a cavalcade of courtroom characters, has passed away. According to TMZ (which is the celebrity version of the Central Intelligence Agency minus the bungled coups and experiments on citizens):
Bailey’s oldest son, Bendrix Lee Bailey, tells TMZ … F. Lee died Thursday morning in Georgia, where he was in hospice.
He says his father’s death was NOT related to COVID-19, and the family is chalking it up to old age.
Bendrix also says Bailey didn’t want a funeral, and he’ll most likely be cremated — but the family is considering a celebration of life.
O.J. Simpson (aka “The Juice”) commented on the passing of one of the men who successfully defended him from a double homicide case. “The Juice” apparently took time from his never-ending quest to find the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman to pay tribute to Bailey:
Francis Lee Bailey, Jr. was born on June 10, 1933. No sissy Mary crybaby, Bailey served in the Marines as a jet fighter pilot and later, as a legal officer. After his service, Bailey attended the Boston University School of Law and big things soon awaited him. F. Lee rose to fame in the 1960s as one of the world’s top-flight (no pun intended) defense attorneys. He represented a number of high-profile criminal defendants, culminating in his role in the O.J. Simpson double-murder case that became known as “The Trial of the Century.” Bailey’s legendary cross-examination of Los Angeles detective Mark Fuhrman is often cited as a key moment in the trial and one that helped lead to O.J.’s acquittal.
The New York Post reported on some of his career highlights as well as his celebrity outside the courtroom:
Known for his flamboyant style and bulldog courtroom tactics, Bailey’s cadre of high-profile clients also included the Boston serial-killer Albert DeSalvo, heiress Patty Hearst and neurosurgeon Sam Sheppard, whose arrest for his wife’s murder inspired the 1993 blockbuster “The Fugitive.” …In the 1960s, he hosted “Good Company,” a celebrity interview show, and was also the frontman of “Lie Detector,” another TV-series that aired in the 1980s.
Lie Detector was a fun series that ran after the network news and before prime-time programming and a forerunner of reality TV. Bailey would bring in a controversial subject and grill them about a topic in the public eye ranging from asking the hairdresser for then-President Ronald Reagan whether “The Gipper” used hair dye to asking motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel whether he’d aborted his infamous rocket sled jump over Snake River Canyon.
It wasn’t all fun and games and later in life, F. Lee Bailey lost his license to practice law. The New York Post article on Bailey’s demise noted:
Bailey was disbarred in Florida and Massachusetts in 2001 and 2003 for misconduct while defending Claude Louis DuBoc, an accused marijuana dealer. He declared bankruptcy in 2017.
As a former attorney myself (see my prison memoir Laughing All the Way to the Bank (Robbery): How an Attorney Survived Prison (you didn’t think I was going to write about F. Lee without plugging my book now did you?), I can understand it’s easy to lose your way. That doesn’t justify any misbehavior but all you can do is learn from your past and make amends.
According to the TMZ.com article, Bailey was married 4 times and had 3 children.