Gavin MacLeod, the veteran television actor known for his roles on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Love Boat” has died, his nephew Mark See confirms. The five-time Golden Globe nominee was 90 years old.
MacLeod passed away early Saturday morning at his home in Palm Desert, California. According to TMZ, the actor had been in and out of the hospital with various illnesses for the last few months, although COVID was not one of them.
MacLeod found his breakout role on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” where he played Murray Slaughter, the head writer at Mary’s fictional television station. He appeared in all 168 episodes of the sitcom’s seven-year run. Betty White and Ed Asner are now the only surviving cast members of the classic series. The latter star has already posted a sweet tribute to the actor in which he describes him as “my brother, my partner in crime (and food) and my comic conspirator.”
MacLeod also found national fame as the captain of “The Love Boat.” He portrayed Captain Merrill Stubing in 250 episodes and even made-for-TV movies inspired by the series.
In addition to his starring roles on the aforementioned programs, MacLeod’s resume could double as a television history course. He nabbed guest starring spots on everything from “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E” to “The King of Queens” and “That ’70s Show.”
Prior to becoming a mainstay of TV sets in the 1970s and 80s, MacLeod enjoyed a brief but successful film career. His first credited role was opposite Susan Hayward in the 1958 prison drama “I Want to Live!” This caught the attention of director Blake Edwards who cast him as a nerve-wracked navy yeoman in “Operation Petticoat,” which also starred Cary Grant and Tony Curtis. MacLeod would also work for Edwards in “High Time” and “The Party,” starring alongside Bing Crosby and Peter Sellers, respectively.
MacLeod’s first regular television gig was playing “Happy” Haines on the seafaring Ernest Borgnine sitcom, “McHale’s Navy,” although he would leave the show after two seasons to appear in the Steve McQueen flick, “The Sand Pebbles.”
Even with multiple memorable characters under his belt, MacLeod would embrace his iconic turn as Captain Stubing for decades after “The Love Boat” went off the air. In addition to launching several ships for Princess Cruises as the company’s Global Ambassador, he also participated in a number of reunions with the show’s cast, most recently on the “Today” show in 2018.
MacLeod is survived by his wife Patti Kendig and the four children he had with his first wife, Joan Devore.