Robert Kardashian, Sr., was an entrepreneur and lawyer, most notably for his involvement in O.J. Simpson’s murder trial. Robert is best known posthumously as the father of Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, and Robert Kardashian, Jr., and the ex-husband of their mother and manager, Kris Jenner.
Robert Kardashian, Sr., met Kris Jenner (then Houghton) in 1978 when she was working as a flight attendant. They were married for 12 years, until Kris filed for divorce in 1990, citing marital difficulties. Kris met now-husband Bruce Jenner before her divorce from Robert was finalized, and married Bruce in 1991.
Robert Kardashian, Sr., pioneered the idea of playing music between movies in theaters and was the CEO of a company called Movie Tunes. In 1996, after two decades away from legal practice, Robert returned to law after the arrest of his good friend, O.J. Simpson. Kris Jenner, then Kardashian, counted O.J.’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson as her best friend, and the trial became a point of contention within the Kardashian family.
In Kim Kardashian’s E! True Hollywood Story, she remembers attending the O.J. trial with her parents: "Kourtney and I would go to the trial with my dad and we'd sit on one side and I remember looking over and my mom was on the other side sitting next to Nicole's parents, and it was so much tension."
In a 1996 interview with ABC, Robert Kardashian said ''I have doubts. The blood evidence is the biggest thorn in my side; that causes me the greatest problems. So I struggle with the blood evidence.''
O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of killing Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ron Goldman. In 1997, a jury found O.J. liable for the deaths in a civil suit brought against him by Ron Goldman’s family.
Robert Kardashian, Sr., died in 2003 at age 59, just eight weeks after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Kim told Harper’s Bazaar: "For a while, we really thought he was going to be okay. And Dad told us he was fine. But then one day, when he was in chemo, the doctor told us, 'This is terminal.' So we learned how to take care of someone, having to feed them, all this stuff. The last thing Dad ever said to me was 'I know you're going to be okay. I'm not worried about you at all. But take care of your brothers and sisters.'"
Each of the Kardashian kids has found a way to build their father into their lives. Rob Kardashian, Jr., had his father’s face tattooed on his forearm. Khloe often blogs about her dad, and wrote in June 2010: “I was seriously the luckiest girl in the world growing up because I had two amazing dads who not only loved us kids more than anything, but adored each other as well. My dad and Bruce were always really close.” Kim paid special tribute to her father on her wedding day by having heart-shaped patches of his old button-down shirts sewn into her three wedding dresses.
Sources: ABC (via The New York Times), Khloe Kardashian’s Official Blog, E!, Harper’s Bazaar