Sad news to REPORT! Our FAVE CRUISE SHIP CAPTAIN ‘Captain Stubing’ portrayer, Gavin Macleod has passed away!
Gavin MacLeod, a sitcom veteran who played seaman “Happy” Haines on “McHale’s Navy,” Murray on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and the very different, vaguely patrician Captain Stubing on “The Love Boat,” has died. He was 90.
MacLeod’s nephew, Mark See, confirmed his death to Variety.
MacLeod played a relatively minor character on ABC hit “McHale’s Navy,” starring Ernest Borgnine, but as newswriter Murray Slaughter, he was certainly one of the stars of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” appearing in every one of the classic comedy’s 168 episodes during its 1970-77 run on CBS. Murray was married to Marie (Joyce Bulifant) but was in love with Moore’s Mary Richards. His desk was right next to Mary’s in the WGN newsroom, so MacLeod was frequently in the shot during the sitcom, and Murray, like all the other characters, was richly developed — a hallmark of MTM shows.
MacLeod originally tried out for the part of Lou Grant, which went to Ed Asner, but claimed to be happy that he ended up playing Murray. 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 “Moore” cast — MacLeod, Asner, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Betty White and Georgia Engel (Ted Knight had died in 1986) — reminisced with Moore in 2002 on CBS’ “The Mary Tyler Moore Reunion.”
Asner, one of two surviving members of the cast, said Saturday that his “heart is broken.”
“Gavin was my brother, my partner in crime (and food) and my comic conspirator,” he wrote in a tweet. “I will see you in a bit Gavin. Tell the gang I will see them in a bit. Betty! It’s just you and me now.”
MacLeod had the great fortune to roll right from one hit show to another in 1977, when “Moore” ended and ABC’s “The Love Boat” began. The hourlong romantic comedy set on a cruise ship ran for 10 years. Even after the end of the voyage in 1987, the actor returned for telepic “The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage” in 1990 and for the “Reunion” episode of rebooted series “Love Boat: The Next Wave” in 1998.
MacLeod may, indeed, hold a record for consecutive long-running series: He went straight from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (168 episodes) to “The Love Boat” (249 episodes). The actor’s Captain Stubing was known for his signature salute.
The New York Times said in 2010: “Perhaps no actor has embraced a signature role the way Mr. MacLeod has with Captain Stubing. Since ‘The Love Boat’ went off the air, he has been a spokesman for Princess Cruises.”
In a statement Saturday, the cruise line called him “our beloved global ambassador, dearest friend and treasured member of the Princess Cruises family for more than 35 years.”
In 1997, the actor joined the rest of “The Love Boat” cast on “Oprah” in what was the first full cast appearance since the show was canceled. Another cast reunion occurred in 2013 on “The Talk.”
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, New York, and went to Ithaca College, where he studied acting and graduated in 1952. After serving in the U.S. 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. He lost his hair early, which proved a barrier as a young man looking for acting work, but a hairpiece solved the problem.
His memoir “This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life,” was published in 2013.
MacLeod was first married, from 1955-1972, to Joan F. Rootvik, with whom he had two sons and two daughters.
He married actress Patti Kendig in 1974. They divorced in 1982 but remarried in 1985.
MacLeod is survived by Patti and the four children by Rootvik.
May he REST IN PEACE!!!