Robert Kardashian (1944-2003) was an American lawyer, businessman, and socialite who gained prominence as a member of the legal team that defended O.J. Simpson during his 1995 murder trial. He was the ex-husband of Kris Jenner and father to their four children, Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, and Rob. Kardashian passed away in 2003 at 59 due to esophageal cancer. Here is all you need to know about his life.
Robert Kardashian Early Life
Robert Kardashian was born on February 22, 1944, in Los Angeles, California, to Armenian-American parents. His father, Hyeonos “Harry” Kardashian, was an immigrant from Armenia who became a successful businessman, and his mother, Helen Kardashian, was also of Armenian descent.
Robert Kardashian grew up in the affluent View Park area of Los Angeles County, where his family lived at 4908 Valley Ridge Avenue. He had a brother named Thomas “Tom” Kardashian and a sister named Barbara Kardashian Freeman. The Kardashians were originally from Kars Oblast and belonged to the Armenian Spiritual Christian faith.
Kardashian attended Dorsey High School and later went to the University of Southern California, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He then attended law school at the University of San Diego and earned his law degree in 1969. After passing the bar exam, he began his legal career and built his reputation as a prominent attorney.
Robert Kardashian had several high-profile clients during his legal career. One of his most notable cases was the defense of O.J. Simpson during his 1995 murder trial, in which Simpson was acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. Additionally, he was a co-counsel for the defense in the trial of businessman and investor Michael Milken, who was charged with several counts of securities fraud.
Robert Kardashian was known for his legal career, high-profile clients, and entrepreneurial ventures. One of his early successes was co-founding the trade publication Radio & Records in 1973, which was later sold for a large profit in 1979.
Kardashian also had an innovative idea of playing music between movies in theaters, which he turned into a business venture by founding a company called Movie Tunes. As the President and CEO of the firm, he introduced the concept to several theaters across the United States.
In addition to Movie Tunes, Kardashian also invested in other businesses. He invested in Juice Inc., a frozen yogurt company, and helped it become a popular franchise. Moreover, he co-founded a music video business called Concert Cinema, which specialized in producing and distributing live concert videos.
Robert Kardashian married Kris Houghton (now Kris Jenner) in 1978, and the couple had four children together: Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, and Rob Kardashian.
The couple divorced in 1991 but remained on good terms and continued to co-parent their children. Kardashian was known to be a devoted father and was actively involved in his children’s lives.
Robert Kardashian had a tumultuous love life, which included a couple of failed marriages and engagements. After separating from his first wife, Kris Jenner, in 1991, he became engaged to Denice Shakarian Halicki, his third cousin and the widow of movie producer H.B. Halicki. However, the couple never tied the knot.
In 1998, Kardashian married Jan Ashley, but the marriage was annulled 30 days later. Ashley later claimed that frequent upset and turmoil related to Kardashian’s ex-wife, Kris, and their children played a significant role at the end of their relationship.
After dating for three years, Kardashian proposed to his girlfriend, Ellen Pierson (née Markowitz), in 2001. The couple got married just six weeks before his death. Despite their short marriage, Pierson has been a controversial figure in Kardashian’s legacy, with some claiming that the marriage was not genuine.
Health issues and passing
In July 2003, Robert Kardashian was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He underwent aggressive treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation, but unfortunately, his cancer had already spread, and his prognosis was poor. On September 30, 2003, Robert Kardashian passed away at 59.
His passing shocked his family and friends, and his legacy continued to be felt by his children and loved ones. Following his death, the Kardashian family has been vocal about the impact that Robert had on their lives and the continued influence that he has had on their success.
Influence on popular culture
Robert Kardashian had a significant influence on popular culture through his high-profile legal career and his family’s subsequent celebrity status. As a legal team member defending O.J. Simpson, Kardashian became a household name, and the media widely covered his presence during the trial.
His life and legacy would become the subject of various depictions in film and television. In the 2016 F.X. miniseries American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson, Kardashian was portrayed by David Schwimmer. The miniseries was a critical success, with Schwimmer’s performance garnering him a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie category.
The same year, ESPN Films produced a five-part miniseries called O.J.: Made in America, which heavily featured Kardashian through archive footage. The miniseries, produced by Ezra Edelman, was also well-received by audiences and critics alike.
Additionally, in 2017, Kardashian was the subject of the pilot episode of the T.V. comedy series Over My Dead Body on Amazon Prime. The show explored the bizarre and unexpected consequences of a man’s untimely death, with Kardashian’s involvement in the O.J. Simpson trial being a central plot point.
Robert Kardashian’s Net Worth
It’s unclear what Robert Kardashian’s exact net worth was at the time of his death. However, at the time of his death, he had accumulated significant wealth through his various business ventures, including his work as a successful attorney and his investments in companies such as Movie Tunes and Juice Inc.
It’s safe to say that Robert Kardashian was a wealthy individual at the time of his death, but the exact amount of his net worth is not publicly available. While there have been conflicting reports about the exact amount of Robert Kardashian’s net worth at the time of his death, some sources, such as Celebrity Net Worth, estimate it to be around $30 million.
It was also reported that he left his children a significant estate worth around $100 million in trust. However, Khloé Kardashian has since denied these reports, stating in a 2017 interview with You magazine she and her siblings did not receive any financial assistance after their father’s passing.
Family life after the death of Robert Kardashian
Despite the loss of their father, the Kardashian family achieved significant success in the years following Robert Kardashian’s death. Robert’s ex-wife, Kris Jenner, went on to become a successful reality television personality, producer, and businesswoman, launching the popular reality series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” in 2007, which brought widespread attention to the Kardashian family and helped to launch the careers of his daughters, including Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, and Khloé Kardashian.
Since then, the Kardashian family has become one of the most well-known and influential families in the entertainment industry, with various business ventures, including fashion and beauty lines, mobile apps, and social media sponsorships. They have also used their platform to advocate for various causes, such as criminal justice reform, mental health awareness, and social justice issues.
Kardashian’s involvement in the O.J. Simpson trial brought him even more public attention and opportunities. Additionally, his legacy extended beyond his legal career, and he will always be remembered as an influential businessman with a keen eye for innovation and potential business opportunities.
Kardashian’s children have become household names in their own right, with successful careers in entertainment, fashion, and beauty. Kardashian’s legacy continues to be felt through the continued success of his family and their cultural influence.