O J Simpson
Arguably one of the best running backs in NFL history, Simpson gained celebrity carrying the ball for the Buffalo Bills. With a broad handsome face and winning smile, his transition from sports hero to performer was a natural one. Simpson began his off-field assignments by hosting segments of ABC's "Wide World of Sports" and popping up in movies such as "The Klansman," opposite Richard Burton, and "The Towering Inferno" (both 1974), opposite everybody. He became less enchanted with football and more interested in showbiz though he continued to play the game until 1979. Simpson became best known to the general public as the spokesman for the Hertz car rental company in a series of popular TV ads which began airing in 1975. He was featured performing his patented broken-field running style--in a business suit--en route to a departing plane. These commercials soon became the hallmark of the company and kept Simpson in the public eye.