SIMPSON'S SAGA ARRESTS MAGAZINES' ATTENTION

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The Juice couldn't outrun the law in June-nor could he escape magazine cover editors, who made former football great and now accused murderer O.J. Simpson last month's Cover Story winner.

Cover Story is a monthly ranking of celebrities' popularity as reflected by their appearance on the covers of more than 30 of the nation's leading publications.

The seemingly charmed prime-time life of Mr. Simpson-Heisman Trophy winner, NFL Hall of Famer and Hertz Corp. spokesman-fell apart before a nation of stunned and titillated TV viewers last month.

The week of June 12 began with the brutal deaths of Mr. Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. That Friday night, TV viewers across the country were watching a police chase of Mr. Simpson and his subsequent surrender on first-degree murder charges.

Weekly magazine editors worked through the weekend, putting Mr. Simpson on eight magazine covers, to earn 8 points. The National Enquirer and Star found themselves covering a twisted Hollywood tale even they couldn't sensationalize. Sports Illustrated chronicled the tarnishing of a sports icon.

Newsweek and Time weighed in with nearly identical covers featuring Mr. Simpson's mug shot. But civil rights groups criticized Time for darkening his features in the photo, saying it perpetuated negative stereotypes of black men. Coming in a close second was Academy Award-winning thespian Jodie Foster with 6 points, thanks to her performance in "Maverick."

Finishing third in the Cover Story race was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis with 5 points. The widow of President Kennedy died in May, and coverage of her life and death spilled over into June. People even devoted a special issue to Ms. Onassis.

A three-way tie for fourth began with funnyman Tim Allen, star of ABC's smash hit sitcom "Home Improvement." TV Guide cited Mr. Allen as one of TV's 10 best loved stars.

Mr. Allen got knotted up with much-in-the-tabloids actress Julia Roberts. Hollywood's "Pretty Woman" was once again fending off reports that her marriage with country crooner Lyle Lovett was on the rocks, while also revving up the hype machine for her new movie, "I Love Trouble."

And the 50th was remembered by magazines like Time. Mr. Allen, Ms. Roberts and D-Day each picked up 4 points.

A slew of celebrities gridlocked the infotainment highway to finish in seventh place, each accumulating 3 points. They included music groups Beastie Boys, Counting Crows and Soundgarden; and actors Ted Danson, Tom Hanks, Keanu Reeves and Meg Ryan.

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