Home / General / Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 1,593

Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 1,593


This is the grave of Robert Kardashian.

Born in 1944 in Los Angeles, Kardashian grew up in the prosperous Armenian-American community that had established itself there. His grandfather, who had immigrated escaping the genocide in Turkey, had started a garbage business and grew that into a mini-empire. His sons weren’t going to be collecting any garbage and neither were his grandsons. So by 1944, the family was quite well off. Kardashian went to fancy schools and then to USC. He had a business degree there, but that didn’t stick, so he decided to go to law school. He attended the University of San Diego School of Law and graduated with his JD. He would spend his life combining his business and legal interests.

In 1973, Kardashian became an initial investor in the publication of Radio & Records, which became an important music trade publication from the industry’s perspective. He sold it for huge profits in 1979 and it ran until Billboard picked it up and ended it in 2009. He was an early investor in the frozen yogurt mania of the 1980s and ran a company that streamed music in theaters before movies started. He also had investments in the music video industry. None of this sounds all that exciting or life changing, but it did make him a lot of money.

Kardashian had become buddies with O.J. Simpson beginning in 1967, when they met at a wedding. In fact, OJ was the best man at Kardashian’s wedding in 1978. Well, we know where this is leading. Before OJ killed his wife and the poor bastard who was with her in 1994, Kardashian was just a locally known corporate lawyer and mogul. But he would become famous as part of the team defending his buddy against the obvious fact that he was guilty. Now, by this time, Kardashian hadn’t been practicing in awhile, focusing on the business interests. He actually had to renew his law license to get on the case. But though Johnny Cochran and Robert Shapiro were the more famous lawyers at the time, Kardashian became part of the case, and the more famous guys at least tolerated him.

There were a couple of good reasons to have Kardashian on board. First, since he had known OJ forever, and of course knew all the terrible things the former football player had done, he couldn’t be compelled to testify against his client. This was extra important because there was video footage of Kardashian carrying a garment bag away from OJ’s house the day after the murder. You think the prosecution would have liked to know what’s in the bag? Yeah, I think they would! But nope! Second, he was someone who kept OJ settled down, so his job was to sit next to the Juice during the trial.

Unconscionably, OJ got off. Later, Kardashian told Barbara Walters in an interview that he personally questioned OJ’s innocence too. Oh you think? This led OJ to stop speaking to his old friend. I assume Simpson, who is by no means an intelligent human being, actually convinced himself that he was the victim in all of this. Also though, Kardashian may have loved OJ, but he loved money and celebrity more and there was no way he wasn’t going to profit off of this after he got his old buddy off the hook. So he did the whole media circuit, wrote a book, etc. Was this an abuse of attorney-client privilege? I don’t know the specific details of the law here, but it does seem kind of sketchy, kind of helping your friend get away with killing his wife.

Kardashian also became the father to some of the most worthless children in American life. In an era where people are famous for being famous, no one better personifies this than his children, who are huge Hollywood celebrities and models and sexy icons for some. As someone pretty distant from celebrity culture, the whole thing boggles my mind, but people love this shit and I suppose they always have. And hey, it’s not like Dad didn’t engage in that too. He dated Priscilla Presley for a year in the mid-70s, among other things.

Kardashian got taken out young thanks to esophageal cancer. He died in 2003, at the age of 59.

Robert Kardashian is buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, California.

If you would like this series to visit other Armenian-Americans, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. Former Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian is in Notre Dame, Indiana. Harry Daghlian, the physicist who notoriously irradiated himself shortly after World War II while working on an atomic experiment and unwittingly became a key medical experiment on the impact of radiation on human bodies in the days before he died, is in New London, Connecticut. Previous posts in this series are archived here and here.

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