10 times Gavin MacLeod stole the show as a guest star on 1960s TV

He was in sitcoms, Westerns and cop shows — more often than not as the villain!

Before he was The Love Boat’s lovable Captain Stubing, even before he was Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Gavin MacLeod was making his mark in television. After first landing small roles in the late 1950s, he hit his stride a few years later guest starring in everything from The Dick Van Dyke Show to Hawaii Five-O.

The first decade of his career saw him playing roles very different from the ones he is most famous for. He played all sorts of bad guys, villains and con men — even in comedies! Here are ten times Gavin MacLeod stole the show as a guest star in the 1960s.

1. Peter Gunn (1960)


In the episode “Take Five for Murder,” MacLeod plays an old World War II buddy of Gunn’s who hires the stylish private detective to find the man blackmailing him. MacLeod’s character is the manager of a teen idol rock 'n' roll singer with a shady past – which the blackmailer wants to exploit. It’s an interesting role for MacLeod and shows off his ability to play both friendly and malicious characters.

2. The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961)


After appearing in shows like Peter Gunn and The Untouchables, Gavin MacLeod gave one of his first comedic performances in the Dick Van Dyke Show episode “Empress Carlotta’s Necklace.” MacLeod plays Mel Cooley’s cousin, Maxwell, who sells jewelry wholesale. Each piece, whether it’s cuff links, earrings or the titular gaudy necklace, somehow works out to be $35 dollars “after the discount.” Rob buys the replica necklace – much to Laura’s dismay! Though he’s only in the beginning of the episode, MacLeod’s gum-chewing jewelry salesman perfectly sets up the story.

3. Rawhide (1965)


In the episode “The Meeting,” MacLeod plays mastermind Rian Powers who gathers the West’s most notorious outlaws together with Gil Favor and another trail boss. Powers is a sharply dressed villain who knows he can control the entire beef industry if he takes control of just a few of America’s largest cattle herds. It’s a role that proves why MacLeod was a go-to bad guy in the 1960s.

4. Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (1965)


MacLeod played another bad guy, though one with a considerably less nefarious plan, in the Gomer Pyle episode “Dance, Marine, Dance.” It actually originally aired one week after his Rawhide episode in January 1965. MacLeod plays Fred Fay who, along with his partner Ginger, trick Gomer into signing a contract for dancing lessons. It comes to only eight cents a lesson but there’s a catch – it’s a lifetime contract!

5. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1965)


Also in 1965 was MacLeod’s turn as a villainous but charismatic T.H.R.U.S.H. operative who faces off against U.N.C.L.E. agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin in “The Hong Kong Schilling Affair.” This episode also features Glenn Corbett, who was in everything from Star Trek to Dallas, and a young Richard Keil as a towering henchman.

6. Perry Mason (1965)


Though MacLeod appeared in three Perry Mason episodes, “The Case of the Grinning Gorilla” stands out not only for MacLeod’s role but for everything else in this strange story as well. It follows a wealthy scientist who keeps all kinds of animals, including a gorilla, in his mansion. MacLeod plays the scientist’s money manager, Mortimer Hershey, a stuffy, business-minded man who seems to be hiding something.

7. The Andy Griffith Show (1965)


MacLeod appeared in two 1965 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, one toward the end of season five and the other early in season six. Coincidentally, both involve Andy as a “Sheriff Without a Gun.” In “TV or Not TV,” MacLeod plays a criminal posing as a TV producer who is intrigued by Mayberry’s seemingly defenseless sheriff after seeing an article titled “The Sheriff Without a Gun.” In “The Taylors in Hollywood,” Andy, Opie and Aunt Bee visit the set of a movie based on Andy which uses the same title as the article. MacLeod, in a toupee, plays the actor playing the fictional Andy, seen here.

8. Hogan’s Heroes (1966)


MacLeod’s gestapo character in “Hello, Zolle,” the first of four Hogan’s Heroes episodes he appeared in, was straight out of an Indiana Jones movie – two decades before there was such a thing. MacLeod’s Major Zolle is a comically suspicious person. He doesn’t trust his own mother! He visits Stalag 13 to investigate why there haven’t been any escapes, something he sees as highly suspect. MacLeod’s exaggerated accent and mannerisms steal every scene he’s in.

9. Hawaii Five-O (1968)


MacLeod played the drug boss known as Big Chicken in two early episodes of this classic police drama. He was first introduced in “…And They Painted Daisies on His Coffin” (seen here) where his soft-spoken performance, and stylish turtlenecks, were perfectly juxtaposed against the character’s sinister nature. Big Chicken turned up again, this time in prison, in the episode “The Box.”

10. The Big Valley (1968)


MacLeod played a brutal prison guard, a con man working with a bogus faith healer and a cattle rustler in three different episodes of this classic Western. He is great in each but the rustler in “Presumed Dead” actually has the most redeeming qualities of the three – though he’s not exactly a good guy. MacLeod even gives the character, named O’Leary and seen here, an Irish accent.

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LarryAJacobsen 17 months ago
He'd gained a lot of weight by 1968!
Steve 18 months ago
What a wonderfully long and rich career he had! That thick East Coast accent and that beautiful bald head could do drama, comedy and everything in between. It's always a joy when he pops up on a classic TV show.
AndreaZ 35 months ago
Underrated as a character actor. Loved him in Kelly's Heroes. But his best role that I've seen him in is as the sleazy Big Chicken in Hawaii Five-O
35 months ago
He was a great comedic actor. Loved his performances on the DVD Show and TAGS. I remember his appearance and one line on The Untouchables: "Happy Fourth of July, Mr. Bernard!"
Pilaf 35 months ago
I HATE "Autocorrect!!!"
vinman63 36 months ago
In 7 was he wearing a toupee
Big3Fan 36 months ago
He was great in pretty much every role he took on. But he'll always be Murray to me.
MichaelCardiff 36 months ago
I was hoping you would mention a strong appearance in the great Combat!
MrsPhilHarris 36 months ago
My he looks like a rotisserie chicken on #9. 🍗 I would never have guessed it was him in #10.
texasluva MrsPhilHarris 36 months ago
Ha ha! Looks like Larry The Lobster wearing a turtleneck
musicman37 36 months ago
They forgot his turn as actor Paul Newmar in "The Sleeping Cutie" episode of "The Munsters".
Adanor 36 months ago
That was the STRANGEST Perry Mason ever! Two men in gorilla suits, a chimp, and Gavin!
Moody 36 months ago
Hey MeTV, is there any chance Man From Uncle is coming back to your schedule? I think a lot of people here would love to see it again, especially if its on at a decent time. Please consider bringing it back. Thx.
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Moody texasluva 36 months ago
Yea Yea Yea! Enjoy it now Padres fan! We'll see where we are at the end of the season. Your Padres will probably choke sometime this season like they always do! Fernando Who? LOL1!
Moody MrsPhilHarris 36 months ago
I agree Sunday nights would be a good night for MFU. It would be nice to have it on M-F but I don't think that will happen either. Let's hope MeTv is reading these posts though. We need a good spy show.
texasluva Moody 36 months ago
The roller coaster Yanks. Start off bad. Win most every game on long road trip. Then start to slip. Go to Bottom Dweller Detroit and get swept first time in decades. Come home and bombed by Rays a couple of days. Boone could not take the heat so the boys sent him out to fight with the umps. Poor Yanks not getting calls, lose by 7 runs and blame someone else. This almost as much fun as when the Non-Americas team looses and they have not won Jack this century
RedSamRackham Moody 20 months ago
* As a kind of MFTV James Bond knock-off Man From U.N.C.L.E. was THE spy show to watch in mid-late 1960's. However by late 1960's Mission: Impossible eclipsed MFU as THE spy show to watch being more serious and not as campy as MFU. ☺
Moriyah 36 months ago
Well, at least Gomer was mentioned in it, right?!
Pacificsun Moriyah 36 months ago
The popularity of GP has come along way since it was first featured on MeTV. Not that it wasn't always a great show!! But that a lot of the conversation you've generated around it (questions, comments, quizzes) kept it continuing to be mentioned. And that helps to promote it's popularity!!

Good work, Moriyah!!
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 36 months ago
I second that.
Moriyah Pacificsun 36 months ago
Thanks! I appreciate that!
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