MERLIN OLSEN BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
Merlin Olsen was born on September 15th, 1940 in Logan, Utah to parents Lynn Jay and Merle Barrus. He was the second born of nine siblings total. After high school Olsen went on to study at Utah State University and excelled in football. He later earned his degree from Huntsman School of Business with a bachelor's degree in Finance and later an Economics degree in 1972.
His football career involved being part of the National Football League and he played and starred with the Los Angeles Rams as part of the famed 'Fearsome Foursome' along with David Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy and Rosie Greer. He remains a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.
Along with his professional football career he also worked as a television commentator on NBC covering the AFC during the 1980's and later moved to CBS reporting on NFL games.
His career as an actor began in 1969 when he was still in college and playing football. He appeared in the film The Undefeated starring John Wayne and Rock Hudson, followed by a role on the television series Petticoat Junction (1970). In 1971 he worked on two more films, One More Train to Rob and Something Big.
His most well known role came in 1977 when he was cast on the television series Little House on the Praire, portraying farmer Jonathan Garvey. When this series came to an end Olsen continued to work as an actor, starring on the television drama series Father Murphy (1981-1983).
Other roles he added to his resume were appearances on the television series Fathers and Sons and Aaron's Way. He also worked on the television movies Time Bomb (1984) and Circle of Love (1988).
Olsen resided in Coachella Valley near Palm Desert, California and did television commercials for the El Paseo Bank and FTD Florists. In 1988 he retired from acting.
Merlin Olsen married only once to Susan Wakely in 1962 and they had three children together and remained married until he passed away on March 11th, 2010 at City of Hope in Duarte, California after suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma, a type of cancer that he claimed he got because he was exposed to asbestos when he worked at NBC Studios and 20th Century Fox.
1988 Aaron's Way
1988 Circle of Love
1986 Fathers and Sons
1984 Time Bomb
1981-1983 Father Murphy
1982 The Juggler of Notre Dame
1977-1981 Little House on the Prairie
1981 Walking Tall
1980 The Golden Moment: An Olympic Love Story
1978 A Fire in the Sky
1973 Kung Fu
1971 Something Big
1971 One More Train to Rob
1970 Petticoat Junction
1969 The Undefeated