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Merlin Olsen

Born: 1940-09-15 - Died: 2010-03-11
Cause of Death:
Mesothelioma - Cancer of the lung lining

Death Summary: Thursday, March 10th 2010, Merlin Olsen passed away after a long battle with Mesothelioma. Merlin's brother Orrin made the announcement.

Olsen was diagnosed with Mesothelioma in 2009 and had underwent three courses of chemotherapy. In January 2010, Olsen filed a lawsuit against NBC claiming he was exposed to asbestos while employed with the company.

Olsen is survived by his wife, Susan, and three children.

Who was Merlin Olsen : Merlin Olsen is a man known for his football career, acting, broadcasting, and humanitarian efforts. He's widely known for his legendary career with the Los Angeles Rams, and his stint as Jonathan Garvey on Little House on the Prairie.

Olsen's football career started at Utah State, where he played from 1958-1961 as a Defensive Tackle. After his junior year, Olsen was named All-American by the press association of the time. Behind Olsen's amazing abilities, Utah State held teams to an average of 6.5 points per game. A record which still stands today. Along with his football achievements, Olsen was named an Academic All-American three times, and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in finance. Olsen would later return to USU and receive a Masters Degree in Economics.

After graduating college, Olsen was chosen in the first round of the NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He would go on to have a 15 year career, all of his time spent with the Rams. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1962. Olsen's first All-Pro nomination came in 1964, and he made the Pro Bowl 14 times during his career. He was part of the Defensive Line known as the, "The Fearsome Foursome", who many consider the best Defensive Line in NFL history.

Olsen has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame, and Academic All-American Hall of Fame.

Along with his football career, Merlin Olsen was an actor appearing in Little House on the Prairie, and a show called 'Father Murphy'. Upon retirement from the NFL, Olsen became a color commentator and spent more than a decade commentating for both pro and college football.

Along with his acting, and football achievements, Olsen was known as a humanitarian. in the 1980's, Olsen co-hosted the Children's Miracle Network telethons and was involved in other charitable organizations.

In 2009, the field inside of Romney Stadium, home to the Utah State Aggies was named 'Merlin Olsen Field'
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