Gavin MacLeod, Star Of ‘The Love Boat,’ Dies At 90
Gavin MacLeod, a long-time actor who became one of the biggest television stars of the 70s and 80s, died in his home on Saturday at the age of 90. MacLeod’s death was confirmed by his nephew, Mark See, who said that, while the cause of death is unknown, his uncle had been having health problems.
MacLeod was born Allan George See on Feb. 28, 1931. His father was an electrician who died of cancer in 1945 and his mother worked for Reader’s Digest. After graduating from Pleasantville High School in 1947, MacLeod pursued a degree in drama at Ithaca College. He spent a short time in the Air Force before moving to New York City to look for acting gigs. While working as an usher and an elevator operator at Radio City Music Hall, MacLeod met his first wife, a Rockette named Joan Rootvik. They had four children together but divorced in 1972.
During this time, MacLeod landed a multitude of stage, television and film roles, but none brought him stardom. His luck changed when he was cast as Murray Slaughter, the head news writer on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The show, which ran from 1970-1977, received extensive critical acclaim for its portrayal of a single professional woman, something rare at the time. It also addressed subjects like women’s rights, homosexuality and premarital sex.
One of MacLeod’s costars from the show, Ed Asner, took to Twitter to express his heartbreak at the actor’s death. Asner said, “My heart is broken. Gavin was my brother, my partner in crime (and food) and my comic conspirator. 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.”
My heart is broken. Gavin was my brother, my partner in crime (and food) and my comic conspirator. 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. pic.twitter.com/se4fwh7G1G
— Ed Asner (@TheOnlyEdAsner) May 29, 2021
Asner was referring to Betty White, who was also on the show
MacLeod’s most famous role came soon after The Mary Tyler Moore Show wrapped filming on its final episode. He played Capt. Merrill Stubing on The Love Boat. The show featured a host of regulars, as well as weekly guest stars. While the series was not loved by critics, it was hugely successful. MacLeod was so famous for his role that he became a spokesperson for Princess Cruises.
Two years after MacLeod’s divorce in 1972, he married a dancer named Patti Kendig. The two would also divorce in 1982, but remarried in 1985. Both had become born-again Christians by that time.
MacLeod is survived by his wife, a brother, four children, ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild.