Sitcom and film star, Gavin MacLeod (The Sandy Pebbles, McHale’s Navy), died Saturday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The actor was most known for his TV roles on long-running series such as CBS’ The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Love Boat on ABC. MacLeod was 98.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, MacLeod was born Allan George See in Pleasantville, New York, the eldest of two sons. His mother worked for Reader’s Digest and his father, the owner of a gas station, passed of cancer when MacLeod was a teenager. He would attend Ithaca College and marry his first wife of 18 years, Joan Rootvik, before starting his acting career on the stage in 1955’s A Hateful Rain. His career soon took him to Los Angeles where he changed his name and began working in film. He appeared in 1958’s I Want to Live!, followed by roles in Compulsion and The Gene Krupa Story in 1959. He also landed guest spots on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Hawaii-Five O, and legal procedural, Perry Mason.
The actor soon hit a financial snag and found steady work on TV’s McHale’s Navy, according to The Hollywood Reporter. While the work was guaranteed, MacLeod was unhappy with the quality and soon slipped into a depression. He began to drink heavily and, one night, found his car on the edge of Mulholland Drive. The aborted suicide attempt pushed him to ask to be released from the show.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, he soon landed a role opposite Steve McQueen (Bullitt, The Great Escape) in Robert Wise’s (The Sound of Music, West Side Story) 1966 film, The Sand Pebbles. The role boosted his confidence, and by the decade’s end, he had auditioned and landed a role that changed the trajectory of his career. In 1970, he starred as news copywriter, Murray Slaughter, in the groundbreaking sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. For seven years, he appeared on television screens with costars such as Moore (The Dick Van Dyke Show, Ordinary People), Ted Knight (Caddyshack, Too Close For Comfort), and Ed Asner (Up, Lou Grant). Asner tweeted a heartfelt tribute to his close friend.
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
The Hollywood Reporter details a month after The Mary Tyler Moore Show wrapped, MacLeod took a risk and starred in Aaron Spelling’s (Beverly Hills, 90210, Hotel) The Love Boat. While critics panned the series, the show was a hit, airing on ABC from 1977-1987. MacLeod starred as Captain Merrill Stubing along with Fred Grandy (Monster Squad, Maude), Ted Lange (That’s My Mama, The Love Boat II), Bernie Kopell (That Girl, B Positive), and Lauren Tewes (Eyes of A Stranger, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders).
According to The Hollywood Reporter, MacLeod would wear several different hats in his latter years. He co-hosted a couples therapy series, Back on Course, for the Trinity Broadcasting Network with his second wife, Patti. He also served as the honorary mayor of Pacifica Palisades for five years. In 2011, his autobiography This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood Faith & Life was published.
MacLeod is survived but his wife Patti, whom he married in 1974, divorced, and then remarried in 1985, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Their union bore four children: Keith, David, Meaghan, and Julie and ten grandchildren.