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2 items from 2010

Little House On The Prairie Star Olsen Dead At 69

11 March 2010 5:31 PM, PST | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Little House On The Prairie regular and Father Murphy star Merlin Olsen has lost his battle with cancer. He was 69.

A former American football star, Olsen was inducted into the sport's Hall of Fame in 1982 after playing for the Los Angeles Rams, where he was part of the Fearsome Foursome, a formidable defensive force in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

He started his acting career in The Undefeated in 1969 and went on to appear on TV shows like Walking Tall, Kung Fu and Petticoat Junction, while still playing with the Rams.

But he really made his mark as Jonathan Garvey in episodes of Little House on the Prairie between 1977 and 1981. That led to lead roles in Father Murphy in the early 1980s and Aaron's Way in 1988 and 1989.

Olsen was also a respected sports broadcaster in America. »

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Merlin Olsen, actor and football star, dies

11 March 2010 8:06 AM, PST | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News 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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