Joe Bosco – Dead At 61


Ron Olsen        Joe Bosco        Walter Richards

It’s funny how things sometimes come to you.

I was reading the posts on Facebook and saw a note from Linda Deutsch, who wrote , “I’ve found a very sad flaw in Facebook.  They don’t eliminate people’s birthdays when they die.  So Facebookers are sending greetings to my dear departed friend Joe Bosco today.  Wish he was here to see the good wishes.”

I’ll second that, and admit to my shock at learning of Joe’s death.  He was 61 and had spent the past several years teaching journalism at Beijing Foreign Studies University. Beyond that, Joseph Bosco, was a colorful and accomplished character.

Joe and I became friends during the first O.J. Simpson trial.    He had a seat down in Judge Ito’s courtroom on the 9th floor, while I was stuck doing a live broadcast up on the 12th floor.  I needed someone who could give me a firsthand account of what it felt like down in the courtroom.  I needed info on the “atmosphere” down in the “lion’s den.”  There were others who appeared on camera with me, including Dominick Dunne, but Joe  frequently served as my guest analyst.   I put him on the air repeatedly, because he was smart, articulate and personable (and willing to go on the air).   He was also an interesting character.  Like the day he came to the courthouse wearing a neck brace.  I remember it clearly.   “What happened?” I said.  “Well Ron” he said,”I broke my neck.”  Those were his exact words.  I’ll never forget them.  It involved a party at a house author Joe McGinniss was renting and a swimming pool.  I won’t get into all of it here, but there he was, back on the job covering the trial.

It was at about this same time that he was subpoenaed by the defense and ordered to reveal his source for an article he had written for Penthouse.   Joe took the stand and invoked the California “shield law” for journalists and refused to give up his source.   The stress was unbelievable, as he was on and off the phone with Penthouse, trying to arrange for the magazine to hire an attorney.   Those of us who knew him,  were worried the additional stress might lead to a permanent injury, or worse.   Somehow though, he got through the ordeal.  He took the stand, held pat, and Judge Ito eventually ruled that Joe would not have to reveal his source.

Joe Bosco, did the right thing.  Not everybody always does.

Early on in the trial,  he kept telling me about Dr. Henry Lee.  Joe had seen Dr. Lee in action at an earlier trial while working on his book “Blood Will Tell:  A True Story of Deadly Lust in New Orleans.”   During the trial, Joe had to fight a subpoena ordering him to turn over tapes of confidential interviews.  He won that fight and had moved on to Los Angeles and O.J. Simpson and a broken neck.  “Just wait until Dr. Lee gets here,” he would say, repeatedly.  I was inclined to believe he might be overstating things, at least just a bit, but came to agree with his assessment of the forensic pathologist’s impact on the jury, at least in part.   Lee’s explanation of blood spatter patterns and his words, “something wrong!” undoubtedly helped tilt the case in Simpson’s favor.   And yes, in the world of forensic science they do say “spatter” and not “splatter.”  I don’t know why.

There was also the tip he gave me after gleaning word of a rift within the prosecution.   I went on the air with it.  The PR rep for the DA’s Office cornered me in an elevator and issued the angry warning that “Marcia’s pissed!  She’s really pissed!”  There was an implied threat that I had better give up the source of my information or there could be real trouble.    Joe thought he might lose his seat in the courtroom, which was a big deal, since he was both filing stories for Penthouse and working on a book.  I convinced him that it was all a bluff.   Turned out that it was.

When the trial ended, Joe wrote “A Problem of Evidence:  How the Prosecution Freed O.J. Simpson.”   Probably not Marcia Clark’s favorite book about the trial.   He also received a number of awards, including a citizenship award from the Sons of Italy here in Los Angeles.   The presentation took place at a local country club.  I was there.  So was reporter Michelle Caruso, and a few other friends and colleagues from the Simpson ordeal.

I think that was the last time I saw Joe.  I last spoke with him when he called to tell me about a magazine piece he had written involving an ex-con who was allegedly paid by one of the key players in the Simpson case to steal Nicole’s SUV, and then stalk her for several days before being arrested down in Newport for grand theft auto.  The detective who wanted to follow the trail was removed from the case, he told me.  Good stuff, but way to involved to take it much further here.

Joe Bosco, was born in Biloxi, Mississippi in August of 1948.  He died of natural causes in Beijing on July 8th.  He is survived by his son, Joe Bosco, and a sister Sylvia, in Ocean Springs, Miss.

The following poem is from Joe’s blog “The Longbow Papers”-


Would you forgive me
could you forget it
Would you hold it against me
if I did?
I’m tired
I’ve seen too much
and too much I’ve seen
I have also felt
And too much I’ve felt
brought little joy
and too much joy
was only an illusion
of lost salvation
And too many illusions
brought only pain
and too much pain
was self inflicted
if you could forgive
and hold no grudge
I’ll ask your permission
to quit

-Joseph Bosco

One thought on “Joe Bosco – Dead At 61”

  1. I knew Joe quite well when he was in Beijing, he played a judge in “The Tokyo Trial” and quite a lot of other parts also and became quite well known to Chinese TV and film fans.

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