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Merlin Olsen Says Asbestos Gave Him Cancer

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Football Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen claims that years of exposure to asbestos at jobs ranging from construction to working for NBC and 20th Century Fox caused his recently diagnosed cancer.

Olsen, 69, sued NBC Studios and more than two dozen other companies in Superior Court, alleging that regular exposure to asbestos since he was around 10 years old gave him mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer for which he is receiving chemotherapy.

Olsen says he was exposed to asbestos while working as a laborer and construction worker during summers and after school from the time he was 10 through college. Later in his career, he says, he was around workers who were using "asbestos drywall patching compounds."

During the period he was exposed to asbestos, "the manufacturers of asbestos products did not warn of the lethal hazards of breathing asbestos dust, despite the fact that these asbestos companies knew that breathing small amounts of asbestos dust could be fatal," Olsen says in the 28-page complaint.

Olsen was diagnosed with mesothelioma in July 2009.

Olsen spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Rams, and was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1982.

Later he became a sportscaster and an actor, starring in the show "Little House on the Prairie" and others.

Olsen named 27 defendants in his complaint, including Georgia-Pacific, Kaiser Gypsum, Kelly Moore, Union Carbide and Sherwin Williams.

He is represented by Eric Brown with Baron & Budd of Beverly Hills.

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