Kato Kaelin, Beverly Hills, California on December 15, 2011
|Born||Brian Gerard Kaelin
9 March 1959
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
|Spouse(s)||Cynthia Coulter (1983–1989)|
Kaelin was nicknamed "Kato" as a child after the character played by Bruce Lee in the television series The Green Hornet. He graduated from Nicolet High School in Glendale, Wisconsin, in 1977. He attended, but never graduated from, the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. He pledged SAE Fraternity in the fall of 1980 and was accepted at the end of the term at California State University Fullerton. During his time at Eau Claire he created his own talk show, Kato and Friends, and hosted "The Gameshow" on the campus television station, TV10. Kaelin eventually moved to Hollywood.
Kaelin was "best friends" with actor/comedian Norm Macdonald from mid-2000 to mid-2001 according to Macdonald's The Norm Show co-star Artie Lange. Kaelin was even given a guest role on the show. The two had a falling out which ended their friendship. He was married to Cynthia Coulter from 1983 to 1989; they have one child, Tiffany Kaelin Knight.
O. J. Simpson murder case
Kaelin gained notoriety for his role as a minor witness for the prosecution in the 1995 trial of O. J. Simpson for the murders of Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. In 1994, Kaelin was staying in a guest house on Simpson's property and was present at the compound on the night of the two murders on June 12; thus, he witnessed some of Simpson's movements before and after the time of the murders. Kaelin's story seemed to contradict Simpson's version of the events on some key points, as Kaelin testified that he could not account for Simpson's whereabouts between 9:36 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on the evening the murders took place, which the prosecution alleged occurred between 10:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. However, his sarcastic rambling and inconsistent testimony over four days made him a less-than-ideal witness. Prosecutor Marcia Clark had him declared a hostile witness.
Simpson's children reportedly mocked Kaelin as a freeloader. Kaelin received considerable media attention following his testimony. He was the subject of jokes by TV comedians, who made light of his surfer persona, lack of employment, and allegedly parasitic habits.
After Simpson was acquitted, the tabloid newspaper National Examiner published a cover story declaring "Cops think Kato did it!" featuring a photo of Kaelin shirtless. Kaelin sued the publisher, Globe Communications, for libel. A federal trial judge dismissed the case, saying the story was not libelous or malicious. However, Kaelin appealed and that decision was reversed. The appeals court ruling stated: "We hold that reasonable jurors could find that clear and convincing evidence established: (1) the front page headline falsely insinuated that the police believed that Kaelin committed the murders; and (2) the false insinuation was not necessarily cured by ... subheading or by the non-defamatory story about Kaelin that appeared 17 pages away. We also hold that Kaelin produced sufficiently clear and convincing evidence of the newspaper's knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth of its headline to defeat a motion for summary judgment."
The decision was a landmark case in libel law, finding that a headline could be considered libel. Kaelin later settled with Globe Communications out of court.
Before his involvement in the O.J. Simpson trial, he was in a 1987 movie called Beach Fever, in which his character created a love potion with his friend and hit on girls at the beach. He also starred in a low budget horror movie Night Shadow (1989) and had a minor role in National Lampoon's Dorm Daze 2 (2006).
Kaelin appeared on the first episode of the Fox sketch comedy MADtv (October 1995) and made a cameo appearance on the HBO sketch comedy, Mr. Show with Bob and David during the show's first season (November 1995). In the episode titled "We Regret to Inform You", he shows up at lobotomized actor Borden Grote's party.
After the Simpson trial, Kaelin made numerous forays into reality television. He was in the 2002 series Celebrity Boot Camp. In 2004, he participated in the development of a reality show called House Guest, in which he would live in other celebrities' homes; that show never aired. He was seen on an episode of the E! reality series Sunset Tan, asking specifically for a "farmer's tan". He was also a guest player on the 6th episode of the Comedy Central series Reality Bites Back. In 2008, he was a contestant in the Fox Reality Channel show Gimme My Reality Show, in which minor celebrities competed to receive their own reality show. He appeared in 2006 in the feature film The Still Life.
He has also participated in game shows. He appeared on the NBC version of The Weakest Link, most infamously remembered for answering "Alcoholics Anonymous" to a question about the Boy Scouts. He was a contestant on the game show Russian Roulette as well as the reality dating show BZZZ! with host Annie Wood. In 2005, Kaelin appeared in the first three National Lampoon's Strip Poker pay-per-view programs (Kaelin is an avid poker player). The titles were filmed at Hedonism II, a naturist resort in Negril, Jamaica, which led Kaelin to quip, "The first few days there were the hardest!" The Playboy bunnies, WWE Divas, and pin-up models competing in the no-limit Texas hold 'em games, and upon losing all their chips and clothes, had to dive into the "Pool of Shame" and visit "Kato's Guesthouse", where Kaelin would interview the nude defeated players. Kato also appeared in numerous comedic skits.
He also has worked as a host on television and radio. For a short time in 1995, he worked as a radio talk host on KLSX in Los Angeles, and provided online content for National Lampoon. From June 2005 to sometime in 2006, Kaelin co-hosted Eye for an Eye, a daytime TV court show syndicated in 34 countries. Kaelin is a recurring guest on the video game review show X-Play.
In 2010, Kaelin appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher, wearing a wig to play his younger self in a taped skit parodying 1990s television appearances by 2010 U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell. Kaelin briefly made national headlines when[when?] he claimed he never told New York Post columnist Cindy Adams that O. J. Simpson definitely killed his wife. Kato said he has expressed his opinion before, that he thinks Simpson did it, but "I have no first hand knowledge." Since 2011 Kaelin also hosts the TV talk show Tailgating with Kato.
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