Merlin Jay Olsen (1940 - 2010) MP

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Birthplace: Logan, Cache, Utah
Death: Died in Duarte, Los Angeles County, California
Cause of death: mesothelioma
Managed by: Leslie Ann
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Merlin Jay Olsen

Merlin Jay Olsen (September 15, 1940 – March 11, 2010) was an American football player in the National Football League, NFL commentator, and actor. He played his entire 15-year career with the Los Angeles Rams and was elected to the Pro Bowl in 14 of those seasons, a current record shared with Bruce Matthews. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. As an actor he portrayed the farmer Jonathan Garvey on Little House on the Prairie. After leaving that series, he starred in his own NBC drama, Father Murphy, playing the title role of a foster dad posing as a traveling priest.

Born to Lynn Jay and Merle Barrus Olsen in Logan, Utah, the second of nine siblings and the first-born son, Merlin Olsen had three brothers and five sisters: Colleen, Clark, Lorraine, Gwen, Phil, Winona, Ramona, and Orrin.

He married Susan Wakley on March 30, 1962, and they had three children: Kelly, Jill, and Nathan, and four grandchildren. Olsen was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2009, and underwent three courses of chemotherapy. In December 2009 he filed a lawsuit against NBC Studios, NBC Universal, and 20th Century Fox for allegedly exposing him to the asbestos which he claimed had caused his cancer. Olsen died on March 11, 2010 at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, aged 69.

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Merlin Olsen's Timeline

1940
September 15, 1940
Logan, Cache, Utah
2010
March 11, 2010
Age 69
Duarte, Los Angeles County, California
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San Gabriel Cemetery, San Gabriel, Los Angeles County, California