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The Multitalented Merlin Olsen

Published: 9/15/2012
Merlin Olsen, who would have turned 72 today, wasn't one to limit himself to a single career. Not even just two careers were enough for him… not even three.

Olsen tried and excelled at a little bit of everything, starting with football. The Utah State defensive tackle graduated to an NFL career, playing with the Los Angeles Rams for 15 seasons. He was Rookie of the Year in his first year, a Pro Bowl pick for 14 out of 15 seasons, an NFL All-Decade Team member in both decades in which he played, and a member of the Rams' "Fearsome Foursome."

This 1970 handout provided by NFL Photos, shows Los Angeles Rams football player Merlin Olsen. Olsen, a Pro Football Hall of Famer and former television actor, died early Thursday, March 11, 2010, at a Los Angeles hospital. He was 69. (AP Photo/NFL Photos)
This 1970 handout provided by NFL Photos, shows Los Angeles Rams football player Merlin Olsen. Olsen, a Pro Football Hall of Famer and former television actor, died early Thursday, March 11, 2010, at a Los Angeles hospital. He was 69. (AP Photo/NFL Photos)


After his years of success as a player, Olsen continued his work with the NFL as a color commentator. Throughout the 1980s, Olsen covered the AFC for NBC, and he covered Rose Bowls and Super Bowl XXIII as well.



But football wasn't the only thing that brought Merlin Olsen to our TV screens. There are many of us who remember him better for his acting – on Aaron's Way, Father Murphy and, of course, Little House on the Prairie.



And some of us still think of his work as a commercial spokesperson. Remember those FTD television ads?



Whatever you remember Merlin Olsen for, there’s no doubt he's unforgettable.

Written by Linnea Crowther

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