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RIP Gavin Macleod, the Love Boat Captain

We never like to be the bearers of bad news, but once again we have another Hollywood tragedy to report. Legendary actor Gavin Macleod, made famous for his memorable roles in shows like The Love Boat and The Mary Tyler Moore Show has just passed away at the age of 90. Macleod died sometime in the early morning hours of May 29 at his home in Palm Desert, California. 

The actor’s nephew, Mark See, confirmed this grim news first to Variety. At the moment we don’t have a precise cause of death but we are aware that he was dealing with some particularly serious health issues for the past few months.

Macleod entered our world on February 28. 1991. He was born in an affluent little town in New York State named Mount Kisco which is located in The Empire State’s historic Westchester County. At birth, he was named Allan George See. He received his middle name in honor of his father, George See.

Gavin, along with his mother Margaret, younger brother Allan, and his father grew up in Pleasantville, New York. They continued to live there even after the death of the family patriarch, George, in 1945. When it came time for him to go to college, Macleod relocated to Ithaca, New York home of Ithaca College where he studied acting. He excelled academically and ended up graduating with honors in 1952.

Before moving to the Big Apple to pursue his promising new acting career, Gavin served a stint in the US Air Force. After moving to New York City he adopted his stage name. He came up with the name drawing from a character on a TV show called Climax combined with the name of his drama coach back at Ithaca. Speaking on the name change some years later, Macleod further revealed that his birth name proved to be a bit of an obstacle to his career in the beginning and that once he adopted the new moniker, everything changed for the better. Join Facts Verse to learn more about Gavin Macleod, the Love Boat Captain.

Macleod’s Career Was Picking Up Steam Before The Mary Tyler Moore Show

For all intents and purposes, Macleod’s acting career got its start in 1957 when he was 26 years old. He landed several guests and bit parts on a number of TV programs and films like Operation Petticoat. It is where he got to work with the likes of superstars like Cary Grant and Tony Curtis, The Party which starred Peter Sellers, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. The latter presented him with his first opportunity to work with comedic genius Mary Tyler Moore. Although as you will soon see that wouldn’t be the last time those two would collaborate.

Throughout the 1960’s Macleod also got the chance to appear in acclaimed series like Perry Mason, Hawaii Five-O, The Man From UNCLE, Hogan’s Heroes, and The Andy Griffith Show. In 1962, Gavin scored his first recurring role in the series McHale’s Navy as the character Joseph Haines. It is whom viewers might better remember as Happy.

The wartime sitcom introduced Macleod to his castmate actress Ernest Borgnine. Gavin appeared in two seasons of the series and later reprised his role for the show’s two theatrical films, McHale’s Navy in 1964 and McHale’s Navy Joins the Air Force in 1965.

In 1970 MacLeod was given one of the most iconic roles of his acting career when he joined the cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. That series revolutionized the world of television at the time. Cast members Mary Tyler Moore, Valerie Harper, Ed Asner, Betty White, and Cloris Leachman gave audiences a fresh new take on modern life in the big city.

Macleod was given the role of Murray Slaughter. The perpetually frazzled head writer of the Six O’Clock News who was constantly irked by news anchor Ted Knight. Throughout the series, his character slowly became a good friend to the show’s lead Mary.

As Slaughter, MacLeod appeared in all 7 seasons of the groundbreaking show. He even reprised his role once more for an episode of the spin-off series Rhonda. For his contribution to the series, Macleod also received two Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actor.

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And don’t you dare think about sneaking off so soon. Stick around to find out how Gavin was able to save his failed marriage even after they had already divorced. Stay tuned to find out what he says the secret is to a happy, healthy relationship. Join Facts Verse to learn more about Gavin Macleod, the Love Boat Captain.

From A High Stakes Desk Job To A Life At Sea 

When The Mary Tyler Moore Show wrapped up in 1977, Macleod felt no need to take a break from the small screen. In fact, he immediately hopped aboard the cast of the romantic comedy series The Love Boat which premiered in the fall of that same year.

The whimsical series was set on a luxury cruise liner called the MS Pacific Princess. It was produced by the prestigious – and not to mention very experienced – television producer Aaron Spelling. MacLeod took the reins of the MS. Pacific Princess as the vessel’s captain. He appeared in every installment of the series as well as its three made-for-TV movies. In fact, he was just one of three of his castmates to do so. Bernie Kopell and Ted Lange persevered to the end as well. That role also earned MacLeod three more Golden Globe nods for Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy or Musical. 9*.

Macleod’s acting career continued after the show’s cancellation. He frequently found himself in guest roles on a number of classic and modern shows. You might have seen him most recently in series like Oz, That 70’s Show, The Suite Life on Deck, and The King of Queens. His last appearance on TV was in 2014 on the series ‘The Comeback Kids’. Join Facts Verse to learn more about Gavin Macleod, the Love Boat Captain.

MacLeod’s Family Life 

In addition to being an actor, MacLeod was also quite the family man, although it would take a faith-awakening experience for him to fully acclimate himself towards that role. He married three times, twice in fact to actress Patti Kendig whom he remained with until his death. 

They married for the first time in 1974 but divorced just 8 years later in 1982. After having a change of heart they got back together and picked up where they left off in 1985. MacLeod credited his and Kendig’s conversion to Evangelical Christianity for their second chance at marriage. He touched on that chapter of his life in his 1987 memoir Back on Course: The Remarkable Story of a Divorce That Ended in Remarriage.

Gavin also fathered four children whom he loved very deeply.

He Struggled With Alcoholism 

MacLeod shared in his book This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood. Faith and Life that he regretted signing on to do McHale’s Navy. He was unsatisfied with the discouragingly low number of lines that he got to deliver each week. And oftentimes felt more like a living prop than a member of the cast. He knew that he had a lot more to offer than that but being so new to the scene he still had to prove himself worthy before he could land more substantial and fulfilling work. Even though he was readily aware of this fact, he still felt miserable most of the time while on the set and this led to him seeking solace in the bottle.

He felt worthless but when he drank all of that seemed to melt away. That is until his drinking started interfering with his personal life. His relationship with his first wife Joan Rootvik was the first thing to suffer as a result of his excessive drinking. The more he drank, the more irritable and short-tempered he became. When he would drink, he would often become a different person – someone that he didn’t recognize, someone who was bitter, selfish, and cruel.

After McLeod and Rootvik divorced, his second wife, Patti, insisted that she would not marry him until he was sober. So in the year 1974, MacLeod put the bottle down for good and hasn’t had a drink since. Join Facts Verse to learn more about Gavin Macleod, the Love Boat Captain.

He Went Bald Early On In Life

Gavin lost his hair early on in life. He went almost completely bald, in fact, while he was still in college. MacLeod touched on this a bit in that memoir we already mentioned. He commented on how surprised he was to lose his hair as fast as he did.

To him, however, it didn’t matter that much that he was going bald. He explained that there were a lot of young men playing senior citizen’s in college theater back then so if anything. His early baldness was more of a blessing rather than a curse.

That is until he moved to New York City. That’s when his ‘chrome-dome’ started presenting more of a problem. He looked far and wide to find an agent but it seemed like no one wanted to represent a young bald man. After running into one brick wall after another, MacLeod eventually decided that it was within his best interest to invest in a hairpiece. After purchasing a toupee, MacLeod’s life and career prospects quickly changed for the better. Join Facts Verse to learn more about Gavin Macleod, the Love Boat Captain.

He Could Have Played Archie Bunker 

Before being handed his career-changing role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. MacLeod tried out for the part of Archie Bunker on All in the Family. Although after examining the script he realized that the part wasn’t a very good fit. He found the character to be too much of a bigot. He refused to say the hateful things required of his prospective character for the sake of the script. Regardless of his apprehensions and moral objections, MacLeod auditioned for the part anyway.

When the show’s creator Norman Lear called him up to inform him that he had selected Carroll O’Connor for the part instead, Macleod let out a big sigh of relief. He knew he wouldn’t have been happy doing that show.

The Love Boat Curse 

In his book, Macleod made a rather curious observation. It seems that every regular character on The Love Boat had been divorced at least once in their life. He also expressed bewilderment that the tabloids hadn’t caught wind of that fact and ran with it dubbing it ‘The Love Boat Curse’ or something like that.

Despite their marital troubles, fortunately, each cast member ended up happy – MacLeod included of course. Everyone ended up finding new love interests and moved on to bigger and better things in their lives despite the fact that they went through some significant ups and downs before they got there.

Well, that’s about all the time we’ve got for this video. We just want to wish all of Gavin MacLeod’s friends, family, and fans our sincerest of condolences for their loss. MacLeod may no longer be here with us, but he won’t soon be forgotten. His legacy will remain intact as a shining reminder of the incredible man he was for many years to come.

Now that you’ve listened to me ramble for a while, it’s finally your turn to let your voice be heard. In the comments section, let us know which Love Boat cast member you recall most fondly, Gavin MacLeod or Ed Asner.

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We’ll see you next time for another Facts-sinating video.

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