Merlin Olsen’s death today at the age of 69 was a shock for both the world of sports and the world of entertainment.

Over at, I offered my tribute to Merlin Olsen, the football player — and also has a great salute. But it’s remarkable how easily he — along with Rosey Grier, another member of a group of Rams defensive linemen called the Fearsome Foursome — emerged as the most warm and gentle of TV personalities.

Here’s the opening moments of Olsen’s starring role as “Father Murphy.”

And here’s Grier on the seminal children’s special, “Free to Be, You and Me.”

It’s quite something to think of all the people Olsen touched in his career. Rest in peace, Merlin.

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