Gavin MacLeod, the actor who rose to fame as the sardonic television news writer Murray Slaughter on the Mary Tyler Moore show and the jolly Captain Stubing on The Love Boat, has died at the age of 90.
MacLeod died early Saturday morning at his home in Palm Desert, California, said Stephanie Steele Zalin, his stepdaughter. She attributed her death to her age and said she had been feeling fine until very recently.
“He had one of the funniest and most amazing explosions of anyone I know. He enjoyed every minute, ”Steele Zalin said. “I don’t even think that in his wildest dreams he dreamed of the life he ended up having and creating.”
She called him “the best, the sweetest and the purest boy.”
Ed Asner, who starred alongside MacLeod on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, said on Twitter that “my heart is broken. Gavin was my brother, my partner in crime (and food), and my comic conspirator. “
Known to sitcom fans for his bald head and wide smile, MacLeod worked near anonymous for more than a decade, appearing on dozens of television shows and in several movies before landing the role of Murray Slaughter in 1970.
He had originally tried out for Moore’s head of television, Lou Grant, the role that went to Asner. Realizing he was unsuitable to play the temperamental and temperamental TV newsroom leader, MacLeod asked if he could try the prankster TV news writer instead, his banter often at the expense of silly presenter Ted. Baxter.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a hit from the start and remains a sitcom classic. It still had the highest rating when Moore, who played news producer Mary Richards, decided to end it after seven seasons.
MacLeod moved on to The Love Boat, a romantic comedy in which guest stars from Gene Kelly to Janet Jackson came aboard for a cruise and fell in love with each other.
Although scorned by critics, the series proved immensely popular, running for 11 seasons and producing several television movies, including two in which MacLeod remained in command of the cruise ship. It also resulted in him being hired as a television publicist for Princess Cruise Lines.
“The critics hated it. They called it mindless television, but we became goodwill ambassadors, “he told the Los Angeles Times in 2013.
His final television credits include Touched by An Angel, JAG, and The King of Queens.
MacLeod’s cheerful on-screen personality was in stark contrast to his private life. In his 2013 memoir, This Is Your Captain Speaking, MacLeod acknowledged that he had struggled with alcoholism in the 1960s and 1970s. He also wrote that losing his hair at a young age made it difficult for him to find work as an actor.
“I went around town looking for an agent, but no one was interested in representing a bald young man,” he wrote. “I knew what I had to do. I needed to buy a hairpiece. “A toupee turned his luck“ pretty quickly. ”By middle age, he didn’t need the toupee.
In a 2013 interview with the Associated Press, MacLeod frequently invoked the word “grateful” as he reflected on his reborn Christian faith, surviving two heart attacks and his robust life.
“That is an important word in my life. I am so grateful to have had another day, another day, another day, and that my children are doing so well, ”he said.
MacLeod, whose first name was Allan See, took his first name from a French film and his last from a theater professor at Ithaca College in New York who had encouraged him to pursue an acting career.
After college, the Mount Kisco, New York native became a supporting actor in A Hatful of Rain and other Broadway plays, and in movies like I Want to Live! and Operation Enagua.
He made guest appearances on television shows during the 1960s, including Hogan’s Heroes, Hawaii Five-O, and the Dick Van Dyke Show. He also appeared in McHale’s Navy from 1962 to 1964 as Sailor Joseph Happy Haines.
He auditioned for the role of Archie Bunker in All in the Family, but quickly realized that the character, immortalized by Carol O’Conner, was not right for him. “I immediately thought, ‘This is not the script for me. The character is too intolerant. I cannot say these things, “wrote MacLeod in his memoirs.
Other film credits include Kelly’s Heroes, The Sand Pebbles, and The Sword of Ali Baba.
MacLeod had four children with his first wife, Joan Rootvik, whom he divorced in 1972. He was the son of an alcoholic and his drinking problems led to a second divorce, from actor and dancer Patti Steele. After MacLeod stopped drinking, he and Steele remarried in 1985.
Raised Catholic, he credited Steele for their shared faith in the born again. The couple hosted a Christian radio show called Back on Course: A Ministry for Marriages.
In addition to his wife, MacLeod survivors include his children, three stepchildren, 10 grandchildren and his first great-grandson, who arrived in December, Steele Zalin said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism