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TV's 'Father Murphy' Merlin Olsen dies at 69



West2_father_murphy_four 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, a rare form of cancer often caused by exposure to asbestos.

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

But to '80s fans, he's probably best known by two roles on television: "Mr. Garvey" on Little House in the Prairie from 1977 to 1981 and "John Michael Murphy" on Father Murphy from 1981 to 1983.

He also appeared in Fathers and Sons and Aaron's Way.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:57pm]


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