R.I.P. Gavin MacLeod of The Love Boat and The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Before becoming Stubing and Slaughter, he made memorable appearances in Mayberry. He was 90.

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Gavin MacLeod grew up in Pleasantville. How perfect is that? No, not the fictional town from the 1998 movie — but rather Pleasantville, New York. What an apt name for a place that produced one of the most beloved, likeable stars in TV history. 

Born Allan George See, the aspiring actor changed his name upon moving to New York City after serving in the United States Air Force. The actor told Parade in 2013 that he felt his original name, Allan See, was getting in the way of his success. He pieced together his stage name from two sources. 

MacLeod took his new last name from his drama coach at Ithaca College, Beatrice MacLeod. He took his new first name, however, from a physically handicapped victim on a TV drama. There you have it: Gavin MacLeod.

His screen career began in earnest in the late 1950s. Early on, he often played a bad guy, popping up on hip crime shows like Peter Gunn, Mr. Lucky and The Untouchables, playing characters with names like "Bugsy," "Whitey" and "Three-Fingered Jack White."

MacLeod appeared on The Dick Van Dyke Show in 1961 in the episode "Empress Carlotta's Necklace." He played Maxwell Cooley, a wholesale jeweler who sells Rob Petrie a hideous necklace. That, obviously, would not be the last time he worked on a sitcom with Mary Tyler Moore.

Although people best remember MacLeod for his roles on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Love Boat, he got his big break on the sitcom McHale's Navy in 1962. MacLeod played Happy Haines for the show's first two seasons, eventually leaving to appear in the film The Sand Pebbles

MacLeod made two memorable appearances in Mayberry. He played a suspicious "television" man named Gilbert Jamel in "TV or Not TV." Later, in the color seasons, he played an actor portraying Sheriff Andy! Oddly, both plots revolved around Hollywood filming a tale titled "Sheriff Without a Gun," though MacLeod was different characters.

Can you imagine Murray Slaughter uttering the line, "You've got spunk…. I hate spunk!"? It almost happened. TV executive Grant Tinker wanted MacLeod to audition for the role of Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. However, everyone decided MacLeod was a better fit for the friendlier Slaughter character instead.

"I didn't think I was right for Lou Grant, and I didn't think I was right for Ted Baxter," MacLeod told MeTV in 2014. "I thought, though, this guy Murray, maybe I could have some fun with him, you know?"

When The Mary Tyler Moore Show wrapped its legendary run, the close-knit cast was broken up.

"It was sad!" MacLeod told us. "I remember standing there in the back next to Mary before we went on, and I said, 'You know, Mare, this has been a great seven years…' and she said, 'Oh, Gavs…' She used to call me Gavs'… She said, 'Don't start it now, I won't be able to take it!' I was sad the whole last year, waiting for the last show!"

Like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Love Boat did not set out intended to cast MacLeod in his eventual role. The Love Boat began as a TV movie with an utterly different cast. Well, there were two trial TV movies before the Pacific Princess found her crew for a series.

MacLeod, Bernie Kopell and Ted Lange would end up being the only actors to appear in every episode of the series. Only the captain, the doctor and the bartender were there throughout all 250 episodes.

MacLeod took his role as Captain Merrill Stubing very seriously after The Love Boat wrapped in the late 1980s. After 1986, MacLeod served as a spokesperson for Princess Cruises, the cruise line featured in the series.

On Saturday, May 29, MacLeod passed away in his Palm Desert home, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 90.

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jacko3 38 months ago
a tremendous entertaining actor GOD Rest Gavin's Soul and Legacy....
RobertK 38 months ago
So sorry to hear of Gavin's passing. We'd like to keep our favorite stars around forever but it just doesn't work that way... Rest Well Gavin
moax429 38 months ago
Yet another great talent has left us.

RIP, Gavin MacLeod. Hopefully you are sailing the Pacific Princess up above. You will be missed.
MichaelP 38 months ago
Bon voyage, Captain and thanks for the memories!!!
Wufferduck 38 months ago
Thankfully we have Gavin on tape. The beauty of this is he’s never truly gone. His humor and characters are with us forever. RIP Murray, Capt Stubbing and all the rest!!
Barry22 38 months ago
RIP. Read his Auto-Biography, pretty interesting. The best part of the book was his career in the 60's, between McHale's Navy and MTM. He worked like crazy, so many parts in so many shows and movies.
15inchBlackandWhite 38 months ago
RIP. He was always one of my mom's favorites. I remember him as a particularly creepy bad guy in a episode of the original Hawaii Five-O.
LoveMETV22 38 months ago
Some very nice comments coming on Twitter for Gavin. Ed Asner, Maureen McCormick, Marie Osmond, Nancy Sinatra and others. He will truly be missed.
Peter_Falk_Fan 38 months ago
I hate that you can't edit your post on here! I was answering Wiseguy and forgot a word in the post. When I went to delete that post, I deleted my original post by accident.

Anyway, I posted that "Kelly's Heroes" was one of my favorite movies. I liked the interaction between Gavin MacLeod's Moriarty and Sutherland's Oddball. I salute a fellow airman. RIP

Wiseguy, to answer your post: "Kelly's Heroes" is a dark comedy movie. Sutherland's character, with his 60s vocabulary, is a deliberate inclusion for the audience to make that link.
Not really up on war movies, but caught part of it yesterday. What I saw was pretty good. I did not realize Gavin MacLeod had done anything other than sitcoms.

I agree about the inability to edit a comment. Drives me nuts! 🥜
GaryWalden 38 months ago
He also was on several episodes of "Hogan's Heroes".
Pacificsun 38 months ago
Hey Stephanie, I forgot he was in an MFU episode.

WITHOUT looking, do you remember which one! 😉
Pacificsun 38 months ago
You have to search for it, but here's a list of his filmography

Should save contributors some time, who all don't want to forget yet another great role that he played. 😉

cageman115 38 months ago
As I went down the comments I see others mentioned Kellys heroes, sorry but I loved moriarity chomping his cigar.
cageman115 38 months ago
Does anyone remember Gavin in Kellys heroes with Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, Donald Sutherland, I do but I could be dating myself.
OldSkool56 38 months ago
Coincidence that yesterday's episode of The Love Boat 'This Year's Model' was filmed on May 3 1981, - (May 29 2021).
sablesheltie 38 months ago
Everyone seems to be forgetting Gavin was a cast member of McHale’s Navy also
Pacificsun sablesheltie 38 months ago
No they're not. All the comments need to be read.
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