DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Merlin Olsen (aged 69)
American football player and actor (Little House on the Prairie)
Merlin Jay Olsen (September 15, 1940 – March 11, 2010) was an American football player, announcer, and actor. He played his entire 15-year professional football career in National Football League (NFL) as a defensive tackle with the Los Angeles Rams. He was selected to the Pro Bowl a record 14 straight times, missing selection only in the last year of his career. This record of 14 seasons selected to play in the Pro Bowl, consecutive or otherwise, is shared with current New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, former offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, former tight end Tony Gonzalez, and former quarterback Peyton Manning. A recipient of the 1961 Outland Trophy as the best lineman in college football, Olsen is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. As an actor, he portrayed farmer Jonathan Garvey on Little House on the Prairie. After leaving that series, he starred in his own NBC drama, Father Murphy.
DEATH: He was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2009, and underwent three courses of chemotherapy. In December 2009 he filed a lawsuit against 25 defendants including NBC Studios, NBC Universal, and 20th Century Fox, Georgia Pacific, Sherwin-Williams, and Lennox Corp. for allegedly exposing him to the asbestos which he claimed had caused his cancer. Olsen died on March 11, 2010 at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, at the age of 69.