Merlin Olsen’s Widow Drops NBC From Asbestos Lawsuit

Merlin Olsen died of mesothelioma that he had claimed was caused by his exposure to asbestos.Lawyers for Merlin Olsen's widow removed NBC as a defendant in a toxic substance lawsuit brought on over Olsens' death from an asbestos-related cancer.

Olsen, who played for the Los Angeles Rams before working as a sports commentator and actor, sued NBC and a slew of other defendants after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. The Mayo Clinic reports the disease is a rare cancer that develops in the thin layer of tissue covering a majority of the body's internal organs and is often caused by asbestos exposure.

The lawsuit claims Olsen's cancer was the result of considerable lifetime exposure to asbestos products commonly found in heavy equipment parts and construction materials used in Hollywood sets. Olsen's wife, Susan, became the lead plaintiff after his death in March 2010.

Susan Olsen dropped the suit against NBC after a year-long investigation concluded the network, which employed Olsen, was not responsible for his exposure to asbestos.

Olsen had a monumentally successful college and professional football career before he began acting. He played Jonathan Garvey on NBC's "Little House on the Prairie" for years before receiving the starring role in the short-lived series "Father Murphy."