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2 items from 2010

'Little House on the Prairie's' Merlin Olsen dies at 69 of mesothelioma

11 March 2010 4:35 PM, PST | Pop2it | See recent Pop2it news »

NFL Hall of Famer and actor of "Little House on the Prairie" fame, Merlin Olsen, has died at his Utah home of cancer. He was 69.

Olsen had undergone several rounds of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2009.

When Olsen's former "Little House" co-star, Melissa Gilbert (@MelissaEGilbert) heard of his death, she tweeted:

"Just heard about the passing of Merlin Olsen. I an so sad. My heart go out to his dear family. He was one of the sweetest, kindest, men I have ever known. The personification of the Gentle Giant. Forever now, a guardian angel."

Before Olsen graced the small screen as the likeable Jonathan Garvey in "Little House" and later in "Father Murphy," he was known more for striking fear in his opponents on the football field. The original "Fearsome Foursome" -- including Olsen, Deacon Jones, Rosey Grier and Lamar Lundy -- were responsible for helping popularize defensive »


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Merlin Olsen, actor and football star, dies

11 March 2010 8:06 AM, PST | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Merlin Olsen, a bearded, gentle-giant Pro Football Hall of Famer who went on to a successful TV career as an actor, announcer, host and pitchman, died Thursday of cancer near Los Angeles. He was 69.

He was diagnosed last year with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining.

Olsen played his entire 15-year career with the Los Angeles Rams, who drafted the All-American defensive lineman from Utah State with the third overall pick in 1962. A member of the defensive line known as the Fearsome Foursome -- with Rosey Grier, Deacon Jones and Lamar Lundy -- that helped glamorize defensive players, he was named rookie of the year, went to 14 consecutive Pro Bowls, was voted NFL Mvp in 1974 and remains the franchise leader in tackles with 915.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday lauded Olsen as an "extraordinary person, friend and football player."

"He cared deeply about people, especially those that shared the game of football with him, »

- By Erik Pedersen

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