Goodbye Dear Friend: Merlin Olsen – September 15, 1940 – March 11, 2010
Football legend, TV star, and well known Utah born philanthropist Merlin Olsen died on Thursday after a year long battle with mesothelioma. Merlin’s first claim to fame came as one of the NFL’s greatest defensive linemen playing for the Los Angles Rams. He was drafted to the Rams after his successful college football years as a Utah State University Aggie. During his professional football career, he was named to 14 Pro Bowls (an NFL record), and was known as one of the famed “Fearsome Foursome”. Not long after his legendary football days he found further fame in the world of TV. In 1977, Merlin became a trusted face in millions of homes portraying Michael Landon’s friend Jonathan Garvey on “Little House on the Prairie” and later as the title character in his own series “Father Murphy”. Mr. Olsen was seen in our office and although his 6’5” stature seemed intimidating, when meeting him face to face, he demonstrated such warmth and genuine kindness to our staff and had a way of putting everyone at ease. Our doctors and a few staff members were fortunate to have lunch with Merlin where we were treated to fun stories from his years in the NFL, his extensive travels abroad, and lessons learned while working with his friend Michael Landon. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. The NFL has lost a legend, TV has lost an icon, and many have lost a wonderful friend.