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Gavin MacLeod, ‘Love Boat’ captain, dies at 90

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Gavin MacLeod, the veteran supporting actor who achieved stardom as Murray Slaughter, the sardonic TV news writer on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” before going on to even bigger fame as the cheerful Captain Stubing on “The Love Boat,” has died. He was 9…

Gavin MacLeod, the veteran supporting actor who achieved stardom as Murray Slaughter, the sardonic TV news writer on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” before going on to even bigger fame as the cheerful Captain Stubing on “The Love Boat,” has died. He was 90.

MacLeod died early Saturday, his nephew, Mark See, told Variety. MacLeod’s health had been poor recently but no cause of death was given, the trade publication reported.

Known to sitcom fans for his bald head and wide smile, MacLeod toiled in near anonymity for more than a decade, appearing on dozens of TV shows and in several movies before landing his “Mary Tyler Moore” role in 1970.

Gavin MacLeod, an original cast member in the television series "The Love Boat," salutes the crowd as he speaks at a Friends of Hollywood Walk of Fame honorary star plaque ceremony for the cast and Princess Cruises.

He had originally tested for Moore’s TV boss, Lou Grant, a part that went to Ed Asner. Realising he wasn’t right for playing the blustery, short-tempered TV newsroom leader, MacLeod asked if he could try instead for the wisecracking TV news writer, his jokes often at the expense of the dimwitted anchorman Ted Baxter.

“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was a smash from the start and remains a classic of situation comedies. It produced two spinoffs, “Rhoda” and “Phyllis,” starring Valerie Harper and Cloris Leachman, who had portrayed Mary’s neighbors.

It was still top-rated when Moore, who played news producer Mary Richards, decided to end it after seven seasons.

Former cast members of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, sans Mary Tyler Moore, are reunited back in 1992. From left are Gavin MacLeod, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Betty White and Ed Asner.

MacLeod moved on to “The Love Boat,” a romantic comedy in which guest stars, ranging from Gene Kelly to Janet Jackson, would come aboard for a cruise and fall in love with one another.

Although scorned by critics, the series proved immensely popular, lasting 11 seasons and spinning off several TV movies, including two in which MacLeod remained at the cruise ship’s helm. It also resulted in his being hired as a TV pitchman for Princess Cruise Lines.

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“The critics hated it. They called it mindless TV, but we became goodwill ambassadors,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 2013.

Among his final TV credits were “Touched by An Angel,” “JAG” and “The King of Queens.”

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 helped lead to a second divorce, to Patti Steele. But after MacLeod quit drinking, he and Steele remarried in 1985.

The couple later hosted a Christian radio show called “Back on Course: A Ministry for Marriages.”

Source: Entertainment News, TV and Celebrity Gossip - 9Celebrity https://celebrity.nine.com.au/latest/gavin-macleod-love-boat-captain-dies-at-90/ac5576ca-4bc1-4947-8dab-e93b4bab3848

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