Classic SI Photos of Merlin Olsen

Merlin Olson, a fearsome Hall of Fame defensive end who later became famed for his gentle-giant roles on television, was born 76 years ago on Sept. 15, 1940. He died from cancer at the age of 69 in 2010​. Olsen was one-fourth of the "Fearsome Foursome" — a famed defensive unit that consisted of he, Deacon Jones, Roosevelt Grier and Lamar Lundy. During his 15-year NFL career he was a 14-time Pro Bowler and missed only two games. Olsen's post-football career including acting on TV's Little House on the Prairie and as the title role in Father Murphy. He was also a longtime NFL broadcaster and served as a popular commercial spokesperson.
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