‘The Love Boat’ captain Gavin MacLeod dead at 90


Television veteran Gavin MacLeod, who started as Captain Stubing on “The Love Boat” after successful runs on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “McHale’s Navy,” died Saturday at age 90.

No cause of death was given.

MacLeod had a small part in “McHale’s Navy,” before getting cast as newswriter Murray Slaughter, one of the central characters in the WGN newsroom of “Mary Tyler Moore.” He appeared in every one of the classic comedy’s 168 episodes during its 1970-77 run on CBS, according to Variety.

Gavin MacLeod acting on an episode of "The Love Boat" with Barbara Rush.
Gavin MacLeod acting on an episode of “The Love Boat” with Barbara Rush.
Walt Disney Television via Getty

He originally auditioned for the role of Lou Grant, won by Ed Anser.

“My heart is broken,” Asner posted on Twitter. “Gavin was my brother, my partner in crime (and food) and my comic conspirator.

“I will see you in a bit Gavin,” Asner, 91, continued. “Tell the gang I will see them in a bit. Betty! It’s just you and me now.” he added, shouting out to Betty White, the last two living cast members.

Gavin MacLeod (center) and the cast of "The Love Boat" at the Great Wall of China.
Gavin MacLeod (center) and the cast of “The Love Boat” at the Great Wall of China.
AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing, File

He also auditioned for the role of Archie Bunker on “All in the Family,” but of reading the script for the first time, he wrote in his memoir, “Immediately I thought, this is not the script for me. The character is too much of a bigot. I can’t say these things.” When Norman Lear called the actor to say that Carroll O’Connor had gotten the part, MacLeod was relieved.

The fall after “Mary Tyler Moore” concluded its seminal run, MacLeod welcomed his first passengers aboard “The Love Boat,” as Captain Stubing. The show sailed for 10 years, featuring a rotating series of guest stars representing the swath of television and entertainment history.

Gavin MacLeod on a panel discussion on July 31, 2018.
Gavin MacLeod on a panel discussion on July 31, 2018.
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

MacLeod was born Allan George See in Mount Kisco, N.Y. His mother worked for Reader’s Digest, while his father was an electrician who was part Chippewa. He grew up in Pleasantville, N.Y., and went to Ithaca College, where he studied acting and graduated in 1952.

After serving in the US Air Force, he moved to New York City and worked at Radio City Music Hall as an usher and elevator operator while seeking work as an actor. During this time he changed his name.

Gavin MacLeod speaking in Los Angeles on May 10, 2018.
Gavin MacLeod speaking in Los Angeles on May 10, 2018.
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

He worked bit parts in films and on television before landing a role in the World War II comedy “Operation Petticoat,” and on “McHale’s Navy.” He left the show for more film roles, frequently working with director Blake Edwards, and also guest starred on multiple TV shows before working for the first time with Mary Tyler Moore on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” in 1961.

After “The Love Boat” went off the air, he worked on Broadway, made numerous guest spots on TV, did several “Love Boat” reunion movies and was a spokesman for Princess Cruises for years. He was also a devout Christian and appeared in several Christian-themed shows and movies.

MacLeod was married to Joan Devore, with whom he had two sons and two daughters, from 1955-1972. He married actress Patti Kendig in 1974. They divorced in 1982 but remarried in 1985. She and his children survive him.


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