Kaelin Escapes Doing Homework

Kato Kaelin is being portrayed by Billy Magnussen in FX's American Crime Story: The People Vs O.J. Simpson, and he told ET how he really feels about the casting of the series.

"My hair was never that long," Kaelin pointed out to ET as he looked at a photo of Magnussen in character.

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"Otherwise, that's a great looking girl," Kaelin joked.

Kaelin was used as a minor witness for the prosecution in the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and waiter Ronald Goldman, as he was staying in O.J.'s guest house at the time the crime took place.

"I thought he was guilty," Kaelin said. "The jury came up with a not guilty, and that's what the jury decided."

No matter the verdict, once he was called to the stand, Kaelin's life was changed for good.

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"I realized how powerful the media was because I walked in with people not knowing me and I walked out on the first day with people screaming my name," Kaelin said. "I realized this is the most powerful medium and that was before social media. It got so bad that I never wanted to go out."

Other cast members include American Horror Story's Sarah Paulson, who stars as prosecutor Marcia Clark; Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who plays O.J.'s friend and former teammate Al Cowlings; Friends star David Schwimmer, who plays Kim Kardashian's late father, attorney Robert Kardashian; John Travolta, who stars as attorney Robert Shapiro; Selma Blair, who plays Kris Jenner; and Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr., who portrays O.J.

"Robert Shapiro, I thought, was a very compassionate man and I think Travolta will be incredible," Kaelin said. "When they first had David Schwimmer casted I go, 'Are you kidding me?' and then I saw the picture. They did kind of the Pepe Le Pew and I said, 'Wow!'"

Despite his first-hand knowledge of the trial, Kaelin still anticipates that he'll be captivated by the series.

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"I can't wait for this to come out," Kaelin said. "I already know what the ending will be."

The 10-episode anthology series is based on Jeffrey Toobin's book, The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson, and tells the story of the trial from the perspective of the lawyers.

Since the trial, Kaelin has accumulated a multimillion-dollar fortune thanks in part to the Slacker clothing line he developed with Rhonda Shear.

2016 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award

Oxygen sensing – an essential process for survival

For the discovery of the pathway by which cells from humans and most animals sense and adapt to changes in oxygen availability – a process essential for survival.

The 2016 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award honors three physician-scientists for their discovery of the pathway by which cells from human and most animals sense and adapt to changes in oxygen availability, a process that is essential for survival. Scientists had long appreciated that the success of today’s dominant life forms hinges on oxygen, yet little was known about their responses to it. William G. Kaelin, Jr. (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School), Peter J. Ratcliffe (University of Oxford/Francis Crick Institute), and Gregg L. Semenza (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) illuminated the core molecular events that explain how almost all multicellular animals tune their physiology to cope with varying quantities of the life-sustaining element, thus exposing a unique signaling scheme. 

Award presentation by Michael Brown

A false dichotomy plagues American medical schools. The dichotomy states that basic scientists make discoveries and physicians apply discoveries to patients.  This year’s Lasker Awards expose the fallacy of this dichotomy.  The Basic Award goes to three physicians and the Clinical Award goes to three basic scientists. The physicians discovered a fundamental property of nature, and the basic scientists translated discoveries into a cure for a fatal liver disease.

The Basic Award recognizes three physicians who discovered the universal mechanism by which animals respond to a deficiency of oxygen.  The three doctors are Gregg Semenza of Johns Hopkins, Peter Ratcliffe of Oxford and William Kaelin of Harvard. 

Our cells use oxygen much like a fireplace does—oxygen combines with carbon to release energy. Cells cannot store oxygen.  They require a constant supply.  When deprived of oxygen, brain and heart cells die within minutes.  The result is a stroke or a heart attack.  The body needs to sense oxygen deficiency and to correct it.

Cell Interview

Acceptance Remarks, 2016 Lasker Awards Ceremony

I grew up during the space race, so science and engineering were celebrated and supported throughout my childhood and our household had toys that fostered curiosity and creativity, including a microscope and chemistry sets.

In high school, I attended an NSF-sponsored summer program for 32 mathematically gifted students that changed my life.   I was delighted to learn that I wasn’t the least gifted of the 32 but I certainly had, due to my abysmal study habits, the lowest grades.  I learned that school was more fun when I was challenged, that it is really helpful to be surrounded by people who are smarter than you are, and that I, too, could get good grades if I actually did my homework.

Cell Interview

Acceptance Remarks, 2016 Lasker Awards Ceremony

I am deeply honoured to receive the Lasker Foundation Award for Basic Medical Research today.

I’d like to reflect for a moment on the many twists and turns that brought me to this fortunate position. One still clear in my mind dates to the Lancaster Royal Grammar School, circa 1970. I was a tolerable schoolboy chemist and intent on a career in industrial chemistry. The ethereal (but formidable) Headmaster appeared one morning in the chemistry classroom. ‘Peter’ he said with unnerving serenity ‘I think you should study medicine’. And without further thought, my university application forms were changed. To this day, I am unsure whether he felt I would be a good doctor or a bad chemist. But the experience is (I think) a reminder of the role of serendipity in a scientific career, at least in mine.

Cell Essay

Acceptance Remarks, 2016 Lasker Awards Ceremony

Many of us who conduct biomedical research do so with what could be described as a religious fervor. This would not have come as a surprise to Mary Lasker. She once told a reporter, “I am opposed to heart attacks and cancer the way one is opposed to sin.”


Seven months ago, Antonin Scalia died. He had a heart attack, which occurs when the flow of blood through one of the coronary arteries is blocked, cutting off the heart muscle’s supply of oxygen. 

Video Credit:Flora Lichtman

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