Merlin Olsen, the famed forth member of the Los Angeles Rams “Fearsome Foursome” passed away March 11, 2010 from the rare cancer mesothelioma. Merlin Olsen was one of the best to play the game, a career that included 15 years on the Rams roster as a defensive lineman.
Before his career in the NFL, Olsen was All-American at his “alma mater” Utah State. He was a first round draft pick of the Rams in 1962, and earned the title rookie of the year in his first year in the NFL. During the next 14 years of his career he appeared in 14 consecutive Pro Bowls, until his retirement in 1976. In 1982 Merlin Olsen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was voted the NFL MVP in 1974, as well as being voted the NFC defensive lineman of the year in 1973.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said; “[Olsen] was an extraordinary person, friend and football player. He cared deeply about people, especially those that shared the game of football with him. Merlin was a larger-than-life person, literally and figuratively, and leaves an enormously positive legacy.” Olsen was diagnosed with mesothelioma is 2009, and believed that his asbestos exposure to products and materials that cause the disease came from his adolescent work as a painter, and his later presence on studio sets. After his football career was over, Olsen became an actor and appeared on television.
Mr. Olsen claimed that during his years on the studio television sets of “Little House on the Prairie,” “Father Murphy,” and “Aaron’s Way” he frequently noticed drywall hangers and construction equipment. This he believes led to his exposure of carcinogenic materials. On December 31st 2009 Olsen’s mesothelioma lawsuit was filed a few months before his death. The defendants named in the case were NBC Studios, NBC Universal, paint maker Sherwin Williams, 20th Century Fox, and other lesser known companies. Merlin Olsen passed away at the age of 69.
Hall of Fame lineman Olsen dies