Kato Kaelin back at Wizard World
Although striving to live life in the positive and being friendly and likable, Kato Kaelin still lives with the infamy of staying at the wrong place at the wrong time and with the wrong person.
It was staying as a guest in O.J. Simpson's house during the June 13, 1994, killings of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman with the former NFL star and broadcaster himself — all of which led to Kaelin testifying for the prosecution in "The Trial of Century," Simpson's murder trial.
Every day, people recognize Kaelin for being linked to Simpson. Many a man or woman would be a little testy about being asked about such a thing, but not the 59-year-old Kaelin, who'll surely field plenty of queries during his appearance and hosting of the Wizard World Portland Comic Con, Feb. 22-24 at Oregon Convention Center.
It's been 25 years since the O.J. drama, and it's a well-documented story. For Kaelin, it's all good, "it's a thing that obviously will be with me forever. I don't mind it. I'm honest about it."
Yes, but the constant questions, how does he handle it?
"I can't change anything about the past. I know that, too, it's why I'm famous — fame in the worst possible way, it was a horrendous crime. I try paying everything forward."
Indeed, Kaelin's career has never been better. He's been an actor, reality star, show host, socialite, etc.; check out his Wikipedia page and you'll see that the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native has stayed plenty busy since 1994. Recently, he appeared on "Celebrity Big Brother" on CBS, and came across as positive, friendly and likable. It was a turning point in his career, Kaelin says, after years of being portrayed as a slacker, spun from his days at O.J.'s house and his trial appearance. (By the way, Tamar Braxton won the show.)
"I'm so glad I did it, because I see social media now and how it's changed perception about me," Kaelin says. "A lot of people would get on Twitter and be negative, and it's changed. I'd say it's now 90 percent positive. Before 'Big Brother,' I'd get a lot of negative and hate.
"I mentioned to (host) Julie Chen that I was so thankful for the opportunity, because I had been a soundbite, a 10-second soundbite (from the O.J. trial) and judged on that."
Young people, he says, could not care less about his past; they just find him fun. He's also receiving more job opportunities.
"I really enjoy being around people and the positive thing. I promote happy," Kaelin says.
Kaelin will be at Wizard World Portland for the third consecutive year. He'll meet with fans and sign autographs and serve as a host for a part of the comic con, introducing bands, jugglers, magic acts and such, and for karaoke. He's also been in Portland for New Year's Eve the past two years, helping host an event with the CW's Nicole DeCosta.
So, what kind of superhero does Kaelin portray at Wizard World events?
"They call me 'The Super Witness,'" Kaelin says. "I love talking to people."
Kaelin was a big Marvel fan growing up, and he used to draw Thor and Iron Man. He liked Silver Surfer and Namor the Sub-Mariner.
Despite being forever associated with O.J., Kaelin says he doesn't communicate with Simpson, who eventually was acquitted for the murders but was later convicted and served time for armed robbery.
"There's no need to go backward," he says. "If I saw someone, I would greet them."
He has stayed in touch with Jim Lange, a retired L.A. detective who worked the Simpson case.
"The story goes on because of TV shows; the ESPN documentary won an award. It'll be a story long after I'm dead."
Kaelin, who turns 60 on March 9, lives in Toluca Lake, a neighborhood of Los Angeles near Burbank, where he enjoys being recognized.
"I live in an area that is the greatest area. I walk everywhere, and feel like I'm Norm from 'Cheers,'" he says. "I walk pretty much everywhere, down a half-mile strip (of bars, shops, restaurants, etc.), and to every studio and network TV. In Toluca Lake, Bob Hope owned almost all the land. I'll walk and people will yell my name. It's nice. Now it's gone off the charts since I've been on 'Big Brother.'"
Wizard World Portland
When: 4-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24
Where: Oregon Convention Center, 777 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Cost: $39.99-$54.99 daily, $79.99 three-day pass
Who: Burly actor Jason Momoa, who plays the superhero in the movie "Aquaman," and eight "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" stars will be headliners for the seventh annual event for the movie/TV, graphic novel, comics, gaming and cosplay crowd.
For more: http://www.wizardworld.com