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Top 3 Culture-Changing Celebrity Crimes

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Celebrities get in trouble all the time. Famous people already have our attention, and when they do something wrong, the media spotlight is only magnified. And every now and then, a celebrity crime will reshape our culture and redefine how we view celebrities and prosecute crimes.

Here are three of the biggest celebrity crimes, and how they changed our culture:

O.J. Simpson

Obviously this one leads the list. Never had such a high-profile celebrity been involved with such a public trial with such high stakes. The case combined sports celebrity, domestic violence issues, and a city's strained race relations boiling to the surface. "The Trial of the Century" gripped the nation for months, from the charges to the Bronco chase to the verdict. And the fact that a new 6-hour documentary and separate drama series were released this year shows that we're still living in a post-O.J. society.


The mother of all conspiracy theories. Sure, everyone says it was Lee Harvey Oswald, but that's just what they want you to think, man. You could make the argument that JFK was already our first celebrity president, given the rumors about him and Marilyn Monroe, and the decades of speculation about his murder served to create generations of citizens who will forever be skeptical of anything that the government tells them. (The moon landing was fake!!)

Adam Walsh

The 6-year-old wasn't a celebrity when he was abducted in 1981, but his father John became one when he started hosting "America's Most Wanted" in 1988. The show was the longest-running in Fox's history until "The Simpsons" surpassed it recently, and it paved the way for other catch-the-criminal shows like "The Hunt" and "To Catch a Predator." For children growing up in the '80s, Adam's kidnapping became a cautionary tale and the reason to have a password for anyone who offered you a ride, and the show was evidence that there were uncaptured criminals roaming the entire country. By the time it went off the air, "America's Most Wanted" was responsible for the capture of over 1,200 people.

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