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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'
Popular YouTube videos about Merlin Olsen

13 Signatures in Merlin Olsen's guestbook

  1. Victoria Says:

    Safe journey”Jonathan”say hello to”Charles” for me

  2. adam zamora Says:


  3. Rita Johnson Says:

    I am so sorry to hear of the recent death of Mr. Olsen. I wasn’t familliar with his football career, but I remembered his wonderful role on Little House. May his family recieve the comfort and strength that they need from our loving heavenly father to help them to endure until the day we are all reunited with our loved ones. Indeed, God promises that there will be a ressurection of the dead. They will hear the voice of his son, Jesus, and they will come out of the memorial tombs. May these promises from God, as well as your cherished memories shared with Merlin over the years, bring happy thoughts to your hearts.

  4. R. Hesford Says:

    Your Utah State Aggies will always be proud of you. You were a tallented man! You will be missed.

  5. Rick McPheron Says:

    Merlin Olsen was a great actor and will be missed greatly by many. R.I.P. Merlin

  6. Ricky A Schiller Says:

    Mr.Olsen will always be a great athlete and i will never forget him as Mr. Darby in Little House On The Praire. Merlin was a gentle giant.

  7. Jonathan Hilton Says:

    In accordance with RCW 9A.72.085, I declare under the Probate Laws of Essex-London, United Kingdom that l have a record of an unclaimed Estate proceed left in a codicil by a deceased Merlin Olsen you can contact my email as soon as possible for further details,Barristerhiltonoffice.esq@gmail.com.
    Thank you

  8. Milly Grace Says:

    I am so sorry that Mr. Olsen died at such a young age. May he be in Gods’s Kingdom and may God grant peace to the Olsen family. Mr. Olsen will surely be missed.

  9. Joe Scalise Says:

    As a young lad, I remember the Los Angeles Rams” Fearsome Foursome, made up of Deacon Jones, Rosey Grier, Lamar Lundy, and yes, Merlin Olsen. Hard-hitting, on the football field, and later on, playing the role, of Mr.Darby, on Little House on the Prairie. I am saddened, by the passing, of this giant of a man. God bless the Olsen family!

  10. Dan Brumley Says:

    What a great man, great football player and a great example to us all to be as good as we can be and help others, especially children and the unfortunate. I had the pleasure of watching Merlin play football when I lived in Southern California and he was as good as there was. God Bless you Merlin Olsen and your family, you really will be missed.

  11. Riley Simmons Says:

    it was’nt you. it was something else. yo didnt deserve this

  12. Brendan Moran Says:

    What an unbelievebly gifted person. I grew up watching you play football, and of course sorry to hear of your passing. The world is a better place because of you.

  13. robert doverspike Says:

    sorry to hear of your death we lost another ram.

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