F. Lee Bailey, the celebrity attorney who defended O.J. Simpson, Patricia Hearst and the alleged Boston Strangler, but whose legal career halted when he was disbarred in two states, has died, a former colleague said Thursday. He was 87.
The death was confirmed Thursday by Peter Horstmann, who worked with Bailey as an associate in the same law office for seven years.
In a legal career that lasted more than four decades, Bailey was seen as arrogant, egocentric and contemptuous of authority. But he was also acknowledged as bold, brilliant, meticulous and tireless in the defense of his clients.
“The legal profession is a business with a tremendous collection of egos,” Bailey said an in interview with U.S. News and World Report in September 1981. “Few people who are not strong egotistically gravitate to it.”
Some of Bailey’s other high-profile clients included Dr. Samuel Sheppard — accused of killing his wife — and Capt. Ernest Medina, charged in connection with the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War.
“I have never known a greater intellect than that possessed by F. Lee Bailey,” said J. Albert Johnson, Bailey’s longtime legal partner and childhood friend.