About Gavin MacLeod, Biography (Theater, Film, Television)

Gavin MacLeod
Gavin MacLeod
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Biography of Gavin MacLeod
February 28, 1931 - May 29, 2021

Iconic characters of television are imbedded in American pop culture. Two classic and endearing characters, Captain Merrill Stubing and Murray Slaughter remain household names even today thanks to the actor who lovingly played them, Gavin MacLeod.

In his six decades on television, MacLeod will always be readily identified for his roles in the groundbreaking “Mary Tyler Moore Show” and America’s beloved “The Love Boat,” but like so many in Hollywood, MacLeod wasn’t an overnight success and he worked his way up following his dream to become and actor starting at the young age of four.

MacLeod made his television debut in 1957 on “The Walter Winchell File” at the age of 26. In December 1961, MacLeod landed a guest role on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” as Mel's cousin Maxwell Cooley, a wholesale jeweler. This was his first time working with Mary Tyler Moore.

In 1962, MacLeod made his debut as a series regular on “McHale's Navy” as Joseph Haines and appeared more than 70 times between 1962 and 1964. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” debuted on CBS in September 1970. He starred as Murray Slaughter alongside Mary Tyler Moore, Betty White, Ed Asner, Ted Knight and Valerie Harper. MacLeod appeared on all 168 episodes of the series and received two Golden Globe nominations for his role.

In 1977, “The Love Boat” premiered on the ABC Television Network’s popular Saturday night lineup. MacLeod starred as Captain Merrill Stubing, his most popular leading television role. “The Love Boat” ran for 10 seasons from 1977 to 1986.

During its run, MacLeod worked with some of the biggest guest stars of the day including Florence Henderson, Marion Ross, Michael J. Fox, Tom Hanks, Loni Anderson and Andy Warhol. This role earned him three Golden Globe nominations and the lifelong recognition of being everyone’s favorite cruise ship captain.

MacLeod was featured in ABC’s Saturday night primetime line up for 16 years straight

Highlights of his numerous of television roles throughout his career include:

  • Burke’s Law
  • Hawaii Five-O
  • Hogan’s Heroes
  • Hotel
  • Ironsides
  • McHale’s Navy
  • Murder She Wrote
  • Run For Your Life
  • That 70’s Show
  • The Andy Griffith Show
  • The Big Valley
  • The Catch a Thief
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • The King of Queens
  • The Love Boat
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show

In addition to television, MacLeod has also appeared in dozens of movies and Broadway plays.

MacLeod has also contributed to the community throughout his career and been recognized prominently, including:

  • Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, Ithaca College, 1982
  • Honorary Mayor of Pacific Palisades, 2007-2012
  • Humanitarian of the Year, “Gift of Life Foundation” in New York
  • Man of the Year, The Shriner’s, 1992
  • “Hall of Fame” Inductee for Cruise Lines International Association (2006)
  • Spokesman for “Feed the Children”
  • Sponsor of five children through “Compassion International”
  • Palm Springs Walk of Stars, 2014
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame, 2018
  • Princess Cruises Spokesperson, 1986-2021

In 2013, MacLeod’s autobiography “This is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life” hit bookshelves with rave reviews and shared his stories and memories of his long and distinguished career and personal life.

In 2015, MacLeod appeared on stage for the world premiere of George Eastman’s “HAPPY HOUR” at the Coachella Valley Repertory Theater in Rancho Mirage, California performing to sold-out audiences for the entire run of the show.

MacLeod and his wife Patti are founding donors of King’s University which has grown to over 1,500 students enrolled annually since its formation in 1997. In 2015, they both served as co-chairs of the annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, California Division.

Gavin MacLeod is survived by his wife Patricia (Patti) MacLeod, seven children and 11 grandchildren.

Children (7)
David MacLeod
Keith MacLeod (Daughter in law: Carolyn MacLeod)
Julia MacLeod (Son in law: Patrick Ruffino)
Megan MacLeod Lanier (Son in law: Sean Lanier)
Stephanie Steele Zalin (Son in law: Mark Zalin)
Tommy Steele (Daughter in law: Fiona Steele)
Drew Steele (Daughter in law: Jill Steele)

Grandchildren (10)
Keilyn / Liam MacLeod (Keith MacLeod)
Andrew / Peter Lanier (Megan MacLeod Lanier)
Jane Steele / Annie Steele (Tommy Steele)
Shelby Steele / Jade Steele (Drew Steele)
Mack Zalin / Anjelica Zalin (Stephanie Steele Zalin)

Great Grandchild
Dora Elyse Zalin (Mack Zalin)

Ron See (Sister in law: Anna See)

DATE OF BIRTH: February 28, 1931

PLACE OF BIRTH: Mount Kisco, New York

DATE OF DEATH: May 29, 2021

PLACE OF DEATH: Rancho Mirage, California

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Gavin MacLeod

Gavin MacLeod as The Love Boat’s Captain Merrill Stubbing
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Princess Cruises celebrating Gavin MacLeod on his 80th Birthday with a Pacific Princess cruise ship cake.
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Gavin MacLeod with The Love Boat co-star Jill Whelan celebrating his 30th Year serving as Princess Cruises Global Ambassador and Spokesperson.
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Original ensemble cast of The Love Boat celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Princess Cruises (Dec 4, 2015).
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Original ensemble cast of The Love Boat and Princess Cruises honored by Hollywood Walk of Fame. Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises (behind cast).
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Gavin MacLeod

Gavin MacLeod
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Gavin MacLeod

Gavin MacLeod
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Gavin MacLeod

Gavin MacLeod
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