Flamboyant in public, he kept his private life shrouded in secrecy, and when some of those secrets became public following a 1978 divorce, they were startling.
His first marriage, to his college sweetheart, Barbara Berry, produced two daughters, Melodie and Tiffany. During their divorce, it came to light that for 10 years Cochran had secretly maintained a "second family," which included a son.When that relationship soured, his mistress, Patricia Sikora, sued him for palimony and the case was settled privately in 2004.
***Update as of 04/06/05***
Johnny Cochran's Funeral
Legendary Lawyer Laid to Rest
O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and others in the star-studded audience stood up and were applauded by a packed house Wednesday at the cavernous West Angeles Cathedral.
But speaker after speaker at the funeral said the lawyer's real A-list of clients was included what Cochran once called the "No Js" - ordinary black Americans profiled by police or fired because of their race.
Colorful and eloquent, Cochran became a legal superstar after helping clear Simpson during a sensational murder trial in which he uttered the famous "if it doesn't fit" quote - a reference to a glove found at the murder scene.
The line was on the back of T-shirts being sold for $10 outside the church, where 5,000 people were expected to attend the funeral. The shirts had a picture of Cochran on the front with the words: "Freedom and justice."
"Johnnie fought for his clients," Simpson told reporters outside the cathedral. "He was just a good friend, a good Christian man and a great lawyer."
The range of mourners reflected Cochran's work in high-profile civil rights cases and high-glamour trials. Also paying respects were such celebrities as Stevie Wonder and Earvin "Magic" Johnson and civil rights leaders Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
"Johnnie was to this era what Thurgood Marshall was to the era before him," Sharpton said, referring to the first black U.S. Supreme Court justice. "The press does not understand why thousands are here."
Also among mourners were other members of Simpson's legal "dream team" including Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck, as well as actress Angela Bassett, and Rep. Maxine Waters.
Former Cochran client Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant who was tortured by
Combs recounted begging Cochran for help after his arrest in 1999 in a
"He came and he saved my life. Because of him I get to see my kids, I get to see my mother and I get to make music and be here with you all today," Combs said.
In 1997, Cochran won freedom for Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, a former Black Panther who spent 27 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. The attorney called the moment "the happiest day of my life practicing law."
Before entering the cathedral, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown said Cochran was among "the great warriors who really used the legal system to gain a measure of freedom and justice for people. Johnnie was a symbol of that for all of us."
***Update as of 04/03/05****
Funeral Arrangements for Johnny Cochran
Los Angeles,CA- Funeral arrangements are complete for famed defense attorney Johnnie Cochran. Cochran died Tuesday from a brain tumor. He was 67-years old. Services for Cochran will be held in Los Angeles next week, with two viewings on Monday and Tuesday, followed by the funeral itself on Wednesday at West Angeles Cathedral. Cochran will be buried in Inglewood, California.
Los Angeles,CA- Funeral arrangements are complete for famed defense attorney Johnnie Cochran. Cochran died Tuesday from a brain tumor. He was 67-years old.
Services for Cochran will be held in Los Angeles next week, with two viewings on Monday and Tuesday, followed by the funeral itself on Wednesday at West Angeles Cathedral.
Cochran will be buried in Inglewood, California.
Johnnie L Cochran Jr, the charismatic attorney who became famous in the successful defence of football star OJ Simpson on murder charges, has died in Los Angeles of a brain tumour.
Cochran began his career as a crusader against police abuses, often in cases involving black clients.
But Cochran is best known for the trial that won a controversial acquittal for Simpson in 1995.
Simpson was accused of murder in the June 12, 1994 stabbing deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.
He was acquitted despite what prosecutors described as a "mountain of evidence" against him.
In one of the defining moments of the trial, Simpson appeared unable to put on a pair of gloves connected to the double murder.
Cochran famously admonished the jury: "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit."
Cochran became so well known during the trial that he subsequently played himself in a series of films and television series.
A statement from Cochran's family and law firm confirmed he had died.
It said funeral arrangements would be announced at a later date.
What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!