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Kardashian-Simpson Bond Stands Test of Time, Trouble

July 06, 1994|BETH SHUSTER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Currently, Kardashian lives in a spacious, two-story Mandalay Drive home in the Encino hills where his fiancee, Denice Shakarian-Halicki, regularly stays. He says wedding plans now are on hold as the legal proceedings against Simpson unfold. Shakarian-Halicki regularly appears in the courtroom with Kardashian.

In business, Kardashian's first big success came in 1973. He joined his brother and another investor, Robert Wilson, to found a trade magazine called Radio & Records. When the publication was sold in 1979, it went for about $12.5 million. Kardashian made about $3 million on the deal.

Other investments have not gone as well. "Some click, some don't," said George Mason, the senior managing director of Bear Stearns & Co., who some consider to be Kardashian's mentor. "I think he's more entrepreneurial. He's not the kind who wants to be chained to a desk and take a briefcase full of work home with him every night."

Irving Azoff, the owner of Giant Records who worked with Kardashian in the radio syndication division at MCA, said Kardashian is an even-tempered businessman who has had some good ideas. "Some have and some haven't been as successful," Azoff said. "But he's real dependable and honest and quite an entrepreneur."

With Simpson and another investor, Joe Leach, Kardashian started the USC boutique and a corporation called Juice Inc., which established one of the first frozen yogurt shops in Westwood Village, first called Joy, then Forty Carats. The group sold the store after a couple of years.

In the 1980s, Kardashian and Simpson also invested in a music video business called Concert Cinema, which would screen music videos before the feature film in theaters. But the yearlong enterprise became expensive and neither Simpson nor Kardashian made money on it.

Currently, Kardashian is running two companies out of his home. Movie Tunes supplies movie theaters with music to play and between films, and Hit Tunes offers movie theaters vending machines with which moviegoers to buy and listen to compact discs.

His friends and family say they are worried about Kardashian. They say he is spending all his time either with Simpson, 46, or with the lawyers who are defending him. "This is very, very traumatic for all of us," said Tom Kardashian, who is four years older than his brother. "It's got to be a real strain for him. I want him to lead a normal life and not to be distraught over where O.J. is now."

Larry Kraines, who has known Kardashian for 30 years, since they attended Dorsey High School together, said he is not surprised at the role his schoolmate is playing in the Simpson saga.

"He doesn't have any personal motives--he believes O.J.'s 100% innocent," said Kraines. "I think he truly believes there's a friend in need . . . and it does not surprise me that Bob's that type of person. He's not looking to be central stage. He's looking for the tragedy to turn out however well it can for his friend."

One friend said that as soon as Kardashian heard about the double murders, he was "banging on O.J.'s door to get in and help him."

Another said that it was not uncommon for Kardashian--even before the murder investigation--to cancel engagements and make time for Simpson.

At a surprise party held at a San Pedro restaurant for Kardashian's 50th birthday in February, Simpson presented his friend with an autographed football jersey. A friend said the event and the gift meant a great deal to Kardashian.

"He loved the lifestyle--the sports, the restaurants, the scene," said the friend.

For his part, Kardashian says he and Simpson have developed a bond that few people share.

But now Kardashian says he is having trouble seeing his friend in jail. "He's having a very difficult time. He's in a cage--seven by nine feet. He's innocent until proven guilty and sitting in a cage. . . . It's kind of surreal for me."

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