The Associated Press reported last week that the family of famed football and television star Merlin Olsen had settled the lawsuit it had filed against several asbestos companies. The family was seeking to hold 10 companies responsible for asbestos exposure that they say caused Mr. Olsen to contract mesothelioma, from which he died in March 2010 at age 69. The lawsuit alleged Mr. Olsen was exposed to asbestos in his youth, when working on construction sites. Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that usually affects the lining of the lungs and/or the abdomen. It typically takes mesothelioma a long time to develop after exposure.
According to the AP report, details of the settlement were not disclosed by Olsen’s family. The notice of settlement was filed in Los Angeles on Sept. 14, according to the AP report.
Merlin Olsen was a native of Logan, Utah. He played football for Utah State University and earned All-American honors during his junior and senior years. He went on to play professional football as a member of the Los Angeles Rams, where he was part of the “Fearsome Foursome” in the 1960s. Following his pro ball career, he worked as a sports broadcaster for both NBC and ABC.
Olsen is perhaps best remembered among younger generations for his television career outside the sports booth, with roles on the popular TV shows “Little House on the Prairie,” and as the title character in “Father Murphy,” and on “Aaron’s Way.” Additionally, he appeared in a number of television commercials throughout the years.
On December 8, 2009, Utah State University announced it would name its football field after him – Merlin Olsen Field. Sadly, he did not live long enough to see a USU team play on the field bearing his name.