NPR logo Merlin Olsen, Football Star And 'Father Murphy' Actor, Has Died

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Merlin Olsen, Football Star And 'Father Murphy' Actor, Has Died

Olsen, as "Father Murphy" in 1981. (Photo by NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images) hide caption

toggle caption (Photo by NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images)

Olsen, as "Father Murphy" in 1981.

(Photo by NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images)

Merlin Olsen, who went from being a member of the Los Angeles Rams' legendary "Fearsome Foursome" defensive line in the 1960s to playing Jonathan Garvey on TV's Little House on the Prairie and the lead role on TV's Father Murphy in the '70s and '80s, has died.

ABC 4 New in Salt Lake City reports that Olsen, 69, succumbed to cancer last night.

Also from Utah, the Cache Valley Daily writes that Olsen, "perhaps the most accomplished athlete to ever come out of Cache Valley ... was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2009 and had been undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy. "

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