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Merlin Olsen, Hall of Fame footballer and TV actor, dies at 69

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Hall of Fame defensive lineman Merlin Olsen, who parlayed a successful football career with the L.A. Rams into a long-running television career, has died after a battling mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining, according to The New York Times.

As an actor, Olsen is best known for playing Jonathan Garvey on Little House on the Prairie for more than 50 episodes, as well as for starring as Father Murphy on the 1981-83 series of the same name.

He was voted NFC defensive lineman of the year in 1973 and the NFL MVP in 1974, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982.