Hall of Famer, ‘Little House’ star Merlin Olsen dies

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Hall of Famer, ‘Little House’ star Merlin Olsen dies

Post by Snaz on Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:45 pm

Hall of Famer, ‘Little House’ star Olsen dies
69-year-old once was star on L.A. Rams’ “Fearsome Foursome” defense

Associated Press
updated 31 minutes ago


Merlin Olsen, right, of the Los Angeles Rams, battles Atlanta guard Gregg Kindle in Olsen's final regular-season game with Los Angeles on Dec. 4, 1976.

SALT LAKE CITY - Pro Football Hall of Famer and former television actor Merlin Olsen has died. He was 69.

Utah State University assistant athletic media relations director Zach Fisher says Olsen died Wednesday night at a Los Angeles hospital.

He was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year.

Olsen was an All-American at Utah State and a first-round draft pick of the Los Angles Rams in 1962.

The burley giant from northern Utah joined Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy and Rosey Grier on the Rams’ storied “Fearsome Foursome” defensive line known for either stopping or knocking backward whatever offenses it faced. The Rams set an NFL record for the fewest yards allowed during a 14-game season in 1968.

Olsen was rookie of the year for the Rams in 1962 and is still the Rams’ all-time leader in career tackles with 915. He was named to 14 consecutive Pro Bowls, a string that started his rookie year.

Olsen was also an established television actor with a role on “Little House on the Prairie,” then starring in his own series, “Father Murphy,” from 1981 to 1983 and the short-lived “Aaron’s Way” in 1988.

Olsen was a consensus All-American at Utah State and won the 1961 Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman. The Rams drafted Olsen third overall in 1962 and he spent the next 15 years with the team before retiring in 1976.


NBC via Getty Images file
Merlin Olsen poses for a promotional portrait for the television series, "Father Murphy," 1981.

Utah State honored Olsen in December by naming the football field at Romney Stadium “Merlin Olsen Field.” Because of his illness, Olsen’s alma mater didn’t want to wait until football season and made the announcement during halftime of a basketball game.

Olsen was well enough to attend, but did not speak at the event. He stood and smiled as he waved to fans during a standing ovation and chants of “Merlin Olsen!” and “Aggie Legend!”

Utah State is also planning a statue of Olsen at the southeast corner of the stadium.

The Rams also honored Olsen during a game Dec. 20, with a video tribute narrated by Dick Enberg, Olsen’s longtime broadcast partner. Olsen did not attend because of his health. His name was already part of the Ring of Fame inside the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis along with other franchise standouts.

He was voted NFC defensive lineman of the year in 1973 and the NFL MVP in 1974, and was voted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982.


http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/35817296/ns/sports-nfl/

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Re: Hall of Famer, ‘Little House’ star Merlin Olsen dies

Post by Justice4all on Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:08 pm

I'm sad to hear about this. I didn't even know he was sick. I always enjoyed watching him on Little House and Father Murphy and listening to him in the broadcast booth with Dick Enberg.
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Re: Hall of Famer, ‘Little House’ star Merlin Olsen dies

Post by Piper on Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:48 pm

I always enjoyed watching him on Little House. Mesothelioma is rare, almost always caused by asbestos handling, inhaling the dust particles or being exposed to it in some way. He lived an exciting life, pro football hall of famer and established actor. An extremely talented man. This is sad news.
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Re: Hall of Famer, ‘Little House’ star Merlin Olsen dies

Post by sitemama on Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:11 pm

Merlin Olsen's death is a great loss to all of us. Even if we didn't know about his greatness in his football life, everyone knew him from TV.

My father died in 1995 from this same disease, and I know what a horrible death this is. I'm sure Merlin had a very hard and painful last few months, but now he is well, and in a much better place. RIP, we all loved you.

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Re: Hall of Famer, ‘Little House’ star Merlin Olsen dies

Post by Piper on Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:18 pm

Mama, I'm sorry to hear that about your father. Did you know where the exposure came from? I know of a friend of my father's that suffered greatly at the end from this horrible disease as well. His was work related.
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Re: Hall of Famer, ‘Little House’ star Merlin Olsen dies

Post by sitemama on Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:24 pm

My dad's came from the submarines he was stationed on in the Navy during WWII. We did not find out until after he died, and we got the autopsy report exactly what he had.

He was entitled to compensation from the DAV if we had known about it at the time. But, once he died, they didn't have to pay anything. If you know anyone who served on subs, and has a breathing problem, PLEASE have them checked out. Atleast get what they are entitled to from the government, before they give everything away to the illegals, who seem to know every loophole to get free medical, drugs, food, housing and money without working a day.

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Re: Hall of Famer, ‘Little House’ star Merlin Olsen dies

Post by Piper on Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:00 pm

That is sad. That is why I think they call this form of cancer "rare", people don't tend to find out what caused the breathing problems until it's too late. My dad's friend was a cook in the Navy, I know that. Then he worked for years in a foundry inside a steel mill. That particular group of employees later filed a class action suit, I think they ended up with a very small sum. A little too late.
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Re: Hall of Famer, ‘Little House’ star Merlin Olsen dies

Post by sitemama on Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:49 pm

Piper, my dad was also a cook on the subs. He was a great cook, and he actually taught me to cook, not my mom. My mom worked Monday thru Friday till 3:30pm. My dad didn't go into work Monday thru Thursday until 5:30. So, when I got home from school, he and I cooked dinner.

He had some great recipes from the Navy, it took a lot of figuring to get his recipes cut down to feed 4 to 6 ppl, instead of an entire ship full.

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Re: Hall of Famer, ‘Little House’ star Merlin Olsen dies

Post by Piper on Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:19 pm

You learned from the best, Mama! My dad's friend made awesome everything...from chili, chicken and dumplings, veggie soup. But the desserts! He was an amazing baker, and you would never, ever think that of him. His cakes and pies were out of this world! God bless them and the memories they left for us.
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