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Overview for Merlin Olsen
Merlin Olsen

Merlin Olsen


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Also Known As: Merlin Jay Olsen Died: March 11, 2010
Born: September 15, 1940 Cause of Death: cancer
Birth Place: Logan, Utah, USA Profession: Cast ... actor sports commentator professional football player


A strapping and celebrated defensive lineman in college and professional football, Merlin Olsen spun his success on the gridiron into an acting career on television series like "Little House on the Prairie" (NBC, 1974-1983) and "Father Murphy" (NBC, 1981-83). Olsen established his talent for defense while at Utah State University, and further proved it as one of the infamous "Fearsome Foursome" of defensemen for the Los Angeles Rams from 1962 to 1976. Olsen dabbled in acting while still a pro, but did not achieve real stardom until he joined the cast of "Prairie," which transformed his image from football powerhouse to kindly, wise soul. He continued to try his hand at series until the late 1980s, before simply enjoying the fruits of his sports career until his death in 2010. A workhorse on the field and a gentleman on screen and off, Olsen's spectacular sports accomplishments and good-natured screen persona made him a favorite of TV viewers for nearly three decades.

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