Merlin Jay Olsen (September 15, 1940 – March 11, 2010) was an American football player in the National Football League, NFL commentator, and actor.
He played his entire 15-year career as a defensive tackle with the Los Angeles Rams and was selected to the Pro Bowl a record 14 straight times, only missing selection in the last year of his professional career. This record of 14 seasons selected to play in the Pro Bowl, consecutive or otherwise, is current and shared with former offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, former tight end Tony Gonzalez, and current quarterback Peyton Manning. A recipient of the 1961 Outland Trophy as the best lineman in college football, he 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.
By Dean Hanley
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