Gavin MacLeod

Gavin MacLeod (born Allan George See; February 28, 1931) is an American film and television character actor, ship's ambassador, and Christian activist and author, whose career spans six decades. He has also appeared as a guest on several talk, variety, and religious programs.

Gavin MacLeod
MacLeod in a publicity photo for The Mary Tyler Moore Show (July 1970)
Allan George See

(1931-02-28) February 28, 1931
Alma materIthaca College (BFA)
OccupationActor, ship's ambassador, Christian activist, author
Years active1955–present
Known forMurray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Captain Merrill Stubing on The Love Boat
Joan Rootvik
(m. 1954; div. 1972)

Patti Kendig
(m. 1974; div. 1982)

(m. 1985)
Military service
Allegiance United States
BranchUnited States Air Force
Rank Airman

MacLeod's long career began in films in 1957, playing opposite Peter Mann in The Sword of Ali Baba (1965). He went on to play opposite Anthony Franciosa in A Man Called Gannon (1968), opposite Christopher George in The Thousand Plane Raid, and opposite Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, and Carroll O'Connor in Kelly's Heroes (1970).

MacLeod achieved continuing television success co-starring opposite Ernest Borgnine on McHale's Navy (1962–1964), as Joseph "Happy" Haines, and on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977) as Murray Slaughter. He is best known for his starring role on ABC's The Love Boat (1977–1986), in which he was cast as ship's Captain Merrill Stubing.

Early life

MacLeod was born in Mount Kisco, New York, the elder of two children. His mother, Margaret (née Shea) See (1906–2004), a middle school dropout, worked for Reader's Digest.[1] His father, George See (1906–1945), an electrician, was part Chippewa (Ojibwa).[2] He grew up in Pleasantville, New York, and studied acting at Ithaca College, from which he graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor's degree in fine arts.

After serving in the United States Air Force,[3] he moved to New York City and worked at Radio City Music Hall while looking for acting work. At about this time he changed his name, drawing "Gavin" from a physically disabled victim in a television drama, and "MacLeod" from his Ithaca drama coach, Beatrice MacLeod.[4] MacLeod said in a 2013 interview with Parade about his stage name, he "felt as if my name was getting in the way of my success." Allan, he wrote, "just wasn’t strong enough," and See was "too confusing."[5]


MacLeod made his television debut in 1957 on The Walter Winchell File at the age of 26. His first movie appearance was a small, uncredited role in The True Story of Lynn Stuart in 1958. Soon thereafter, he landed a credited role in I Want to Live!, a 1958 prison drama starring Susan Hayward. He was soon noticed by Blake Edwards, who in 1958 cast him in the pilot episode of his NBC series Peter Gunn, two guest roles on the Edwards CBS series Mr. Lucky in 1959, and as a nervous harried navy yeoman in Operation Petticoat, with Cary Grant and Tony Curtis. Operation Petticoat proved to be a breakout role for MacLeod, and he was soon cast in two other Edwards comedies, High Time, with Bing Crosby and The Party with Peter Sellers.

Between 1957 and 1961, MacLeod made several television appearances. He was cast as the devious Dandy Martin in the 1960 episode, "Yankee Confederate", of the syndicated anthology series, Death Valley Days, hosted by Stanley Andrews and starring alongside Tod Andrews and Elaine Devry.[6]

In December 1961, he 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. MacLeod had three guest appearances on Perry Mason: in 1961 he played Lawrence Comminger in "The Case of the Grumbling Grandfather", and in 1965 he played Mortimer Hershey in "The Case of the Grinning Gorilla", and Dan Platte in "The Case of the Runaway Racer". He played the role of a drug pusher, "Big Chicken", in two episodes of the first season of Hawaii Five-O. Other guest roles include The Untouchables, Dr. Kildare, Rawhide, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., The Man from U.N.C.L.E., My Favorite Martian, Hogan's Heroes, Combat!, The Big Valley, The Andy Griffith Show, It Takes a Thief, The Flying Nun, The King of Queens, and That '70s Show.

His first regular television role began in 1962 as Joseph "Happy" Haines on McHale's Navy; he left this role after two seasons to appear in the motion picture, The Sand Pebbles with Steve McQueen.[7] Between the years of 1965 – 69, MacLeod appeared in many weekly episodes in multiple roles on the TV series Hogan's Heroes including Major Zolle (season 1, episode 19), General Metzger (season 3, episode 27) Major Kiegel (season 4, episode 1) and General von Rauscher (season 4, episode 23).[8] These roles were usually a stern and discerning officer of the Schutzstaffel (SS), Luftwaffe or Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo) which are vastly different from the lovable characters he portrayed in his subsequent TV roles.

MacLeod's breakout role as Murray Slaughter on CBS' The Mary Tyler Moore Show won him lasting fame, and two Golden Globe nominations. His starring role as Captain Stubing on The Love Boat, his next TV series, brought laughter to 90 countries worldwide, between 1977 and 1986 (9 seasons). His work on that show earned him three Golden Globe nominations. Co-starring with him was familiar actor and best friend Bernie Kopell as Dr. Adam Bricker and unfamiliar actor and best friend Ted Lange as bartender Isaac Washington. Lange said in a 2017 interview with The Wiseguyz Show of MacLeod that "Oh yeah, sure, Gavin was wonderful. Gavin lives down here in Palm Springs and we're still tight, all of us, Gavin and Bernie and Jill; we still see each other. Fred lives in a different state, we're still close, we're still good friends."[9]

MacLeod became the global ambassador for Princess Cruises in 1986. He has played a role in ceremonies launching many of the line's new ships.[10] In 1997, MacLeod joined the Love Boat cast on The Oprah Winfrey Show. After The Love Boat, MacLeod toured with Michael Learned of The Waltons in Love Letters. He made several appearances in musicals such as Gigi and Copacabana between 1997 and 2003.[11][12] In December 2008, he appeared with the Colorado Symphony in Denver.[13]

MacLeod and his wife have been hosts on the Trinity Broadcasting Network for 17 years, primarily hosting a show about marriage called Back on Course.[14] MacLeod appeared in Rich Christiano's Time Changer, a movie about time travel and how the morals of society have moved away from the Bible. He also plays the lead role in Christiano's 2009 film The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry.

Recent activity

In April 2010, the entire cast of The Love Boat attended the TV Land Awards with the exception of MacLeod, due a back operation to repair a couple of injured discs. Former co-star and long-term friend Ted Lange contacted him and received word his beloved TV friend was doing well.[15] In December, MacLeod appeared as a guest narrator with the Florida Orchestra and Master Chorale of Tampa Bay for three concerts.

MacLeod served as the honorary Mayor of Pacific Palisades for five years, until Ray Leonard succeeded him in 2011.[16] On February 28, 2011, MacLeod celebrated his 80th birthday aboard The Golden Princess on Princess Cruises in Los Angeles, California. His friends and family, wished him a Happy Birthday, and presented him with a 5 ft. long, 3D replica in cake of the original "Love Boat", representing The Pacific Princess.[17]

Gavin appeared on the special for Betty White's 90th birthday on January 17, 2012. He reunited with White to film "Safety Old School Style", an in-flight safety video for Air New Zealand in 2013.[18] By January 2013, the video had been viewed two million times on YouTube. In October 2013, MacLeod appeared on Today to begin the promotional tour for his new book This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life. This appearance included a special set change to honor McLeod's appearance on the show. In addition to television appearances, his book tour continued in New York, Los Angeles, and Central Florida. Loretta Swit and Ted Lange were both present at Gavin’s first Barnes & Noble book signing in New York City. This signing was the largest such event held at that particular location in three years. He continued his book tour throughout 2014.

On November 5, 2013, MacLeod joined his Love Boat cast mates live on the CBS daytime show The Talk. A full one-hour episode was dedicated to the cast reunion. The Talk co-hosts dressed in costumes to commemorate their special guests' arrivals. Spanish-American actress Charo also appeared on the reunion show. Charo guest starred in eight episodes of The Love Boat. Jack Jones performed the Love Boat theme song, which he introduced in 1977.[19]

In December 2013, MacLeod appeared on The 700 Club to discuss his life and career.

On February 1, 2014, MacLeod was honored with a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in downtown Palm Springs, California.

In January 2015, MacLeod appeared in the Rose Parade along with several members of the original cast of The Love Boat.[20]

In 2017, Gavin starred in the play “Happy Hour” at the Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre (CVRep) in Rancho Mirage, CA. He received a best acting award for his work on this project.


In 1987, following MacLeod's conversion and remarriage, he and his wife, Patti, wrote about struggles with divorce and alcoholism in Back On Course: The Remarkable Story of a Divorce That Ended in Remarriage.

In 2013, MacLeod released his memoir,[21] This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life. The book recalls his upbringing in upstate New York during the Great Depression, as well as his life after more than fifty years in Hollywood. He said, "...all my living has been based on what other people have written...I hope it can help others, how I overcame and never gave up. There are so many lessons in life."[22] In the book, MacLeod recounts his stories as a young actor trying to make a name for himself in Hollywood, the lifelong friends he has made, his bout with alcoholism and divorce and his journey through faith and Christianity.

Personal life

MacLeod married his current wife Patti in 1974. Both were previously divorced. The couple divorced in the 1980s, but were remarried in 1985. During the mid-1980s, MacLeod and Patti became Evangelical Protestants and credit their faith for bringing them back together.[23]

During his time as the Captain on The Love Boat, MacLeod "very selfishly" (his words) divorced his wife Patti. She then spent the next three years seeking help from psychiatrists on both the West and the East coasts. Then one day, his wife received a telephone call from Patti Lewis, first wife of Jerry Lewis, inviting her to a Christian prayer group which contained a number of famous actresses – they started to pray for Gavin. Gavin said, "From that day, I started to think about her. Something told me to call Patti. I called Patti. I went back to see her the following Monday and things haven't been the same since." MacLeod asked her what had happened. She then explained everything to him including that she had given her life to Jesus Christ.[24]

On September 20, 2009, MacLeod discussed his conversion to Christianity at The Rock Church in Anaheim, California with further guest appearances in 2012.[25]



Year Title Role
1958 I Want to Live! The Lieutenant
1959 Compulsion Padua – Horn's Assistant
1959 Pork Chop Hill Private Saxon
1959 Operation Petticoat Seaman Ernest Hunkle, USN
1959 The Gene Krupa Story Ted Krupa (uncredited)
1960 Twelve Hours to Kill Johnny
1960 High Time Professor Thayer
1961 The Crimebusters Harry Deiner
1962 War Hunt Pvt. Crotty
1964 McHale's Navy Seaman Joseph Haines
1965 The Sword of Ali Baba Hulagu Khan
1965 McHale's Navy Joins the Air Force Seaman Joseph Haines
1965 Deathwatch Emil
1966 Baby Makes Three Dr. Charles Norwood
1966 The Sand Pebbles Crosley
1968 A Man Called Gannon Lou
1968 The Party C.S. Divot
1969 The Thousand Plane Raid Sgt. Kruger
1969 The Comic 1st Director
1969 The Intruders Warden
1970 Kelly's Heroes Moriarty, Oddball's bow machine-gunner and mechanic
2002 Time Changer Dr. Norris Anderson
2009 The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry Jonathan Sperry


1957The Walter Winchell FileCrookEpisode: "Act of Folly"
1958U.S. MarshalBuckEpisode: "The Arraignment"
1958The Walter Winchell FileStone BallstonEpisode: "The Walkout"
1958–60Peter GunnGeorge Fallon / Mitch Borden2 episodes
1959–60Mr. LuckySalesman / Bugsy McKenna2 episodes
1959Men Into SpaceDave Parsons"Lost Missile"
1959–62The UntouchablesThree-Fingered Jack White / William 'Porker' Davis / Whitey Metz3 episodes
1960–68Death Valley DaysPhil Arnold / Dandy Martin2 episodes
1961Dr. KildareLorenzo LawsonEpisode: "Winter Harvest"
1961StraightawayEpisode: "The Heist"
1961The Dick Van Dyke ShowMaxwell CooleyEpisode: "Empress Carlotta's Necklace"
1961The InvestigatorsFrankie GiffEpisode: "Style of Living"
1961–65Perry MasonDan Platte / Mortimer Hershey / Lawrence Comminger3 episodes
1962–64McHale's NavySeaman Joseph "Happy" Hanes73 episodes
1964The MunstersPaul NewmarEpisode: "The Sleeping Cutie"
1965RawhideRian PowersEpisode: "The Meeting"
1965Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.Fred FayEpisode: "Dance, Marine, Dance"
1965The Andy Griffith ShowBryan Bender / Gilbert Jamel2 episodes
1965The Man from U.N.C.L.E.ClevelandEpisode: "The Hong Kong Shilling Affair"
1965–66My Favorite MartianAlvin Wannamaker2 episodes
1966–69Hogan's HeroesGen. von Rauscher / Maj. Kiegel / Gen. Metzger / Maj. Zolle4 episodes
1967Combat!British Cpl. Tommy BehanEpisode: "The Masquers"
1966The Rat PatrolSgt. GribsEpisode: "The Fatal Chase Raid"
1967The Road WestNick MarteenEpisode: "The Eighty-Seven Dollar Bride"
1967–69The Big ValleyClute / O'Leary / Mace3 episodes
1968–70It Takes a Thief3 episodes
1968Death Valley Daysprospector Phil ArnoldEpisode: "The Great Diamond Mines"
1969The Flying NunHarold HarmonEpisode: "A Star Is Reborn"
1968–69Hawaii Five-OBig Chicken2 episodes
1970–77The Mary Tyler Moore ShowMurray Slaughter168 episodes
1974Only with Married MenJordan RobbinsMovie
1974TattletalesHimselfGames Show/One Week (5 episodes) with wife Patti
1977Ransom for Alice!Yankee SullivanMovie
1977–87The Love BoatCaptain Merrill Stubing250 episodes
1980Murder Can Hurt YouNojackMovie
1980ScruplesCurt ArveyMiniseries
1998Love Boat: The Next WaveCaptain Merrill StubingEpisode: "Reunion"
2000OzCardinal Frances AbgottEpisode: "Works of Mercy"
2001–02The King of QueensUncle Stu2 episodes
2002–03JAG (TV series)Raymond Harrick1 episode
2006That '70s ShowSmitty2 episodes
2009The Suite Life on DeckMr. Barker1 episode
2011Pound PuppiesCaptain Gumble (voice)Episode: "Bone Voyage"


  1. Biography for Gavin MacLeod on IMDb
  2. Kessler, Judy (February 27, 1978). "Gavin Mac Leod, Love Boat (and Jump Rope) Skipper, Graduates from Mtm with a Hit". People. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
  3. "MacLeod, Gavin 1930- (Gavin Mac Leod, Gavin McLeod, O. D. Warbux)". 2004. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  4. MacLeod, Gavin (October 29, 2013). This is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life. Thomas Nelson. p. 32. ISBN 978-0849965289.
  5. "The Love Boat Captain Gavin MacLeod Reveals Struggle With Alcohol Abuse". Parade. October 19, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  6. "Yankee Confederate on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  7. "Gavin MacLeod – The Interview". Flamingnose. October 13, 2009. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
  8. "Gavin MacLeod". IMDb. Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  9. "Wiseguyz interview Ted Lange". The Wiseguyz Show. March 15, 2017. 1:10:00 minutes in. DDV Radio. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  10. "Princess Cruises Honors Love Boat Captain Gavin MacLeod for 30 Years Serving as Global Ambassador" (Press release). Princess Cruises. July 6, 2016. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  11. Lefkowitz, David (January 15, 1998). "MacLeod & Montevecchi, Together Again at TUTS' Gigi". Playbill.
  12. Ehren, Christine; Lefkowitz, David (December 15, 2000). "Though Skipper MacLeod Has Left, Copacabana Tour Plays On". Playbill.
  13. "Cleo Parker Robinson Dance steps in for the holidays". The Denver Post. December 10, 2008. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  14. Banks, Adelle M. (October 23, 2013). "Gavin McLeod, 'Love Boat' Captain, Now An 'Ambassador For Christ'". HuffPost. Religion News Service.
  15. Harris, Will (April 23, 2010). "A chat with Ted Lange…? You got it!". Premium Hollywood. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
  16. Cotal, Sharon (June 17, 2011). "Pacific Palisades Welcomes New Honorary Mayor". Pacific Palisades Patch. Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  17. "Princess Cruises Celebrates Gavin MacLeod's 80th Birthday" (Press release). Princess Cruises. March 2, 2011.
  18. Safety Old School Style. United States: Air New Zealand. 9 October 2013.
  19. Takeda, Allison (November 5, 2013). "Love Boat Reunion! See Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, and Other Cast Members Together Again After 27 Years". Us Weekly. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  20. Irwin, Richard (December 27, 2014). "Rose Parade 2015: 'Love Boat' cast reunites for Princess Cruise float". San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  21. King, Susan (November 8, 2013). "Gavin MacLeod captains a memoir". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  22. Sortal, Nick (November 11, 2013). "In town to promote Princess Cruises, Gavin MacLeod talks 'Love Boat' and new book". Sun-Sentinel. Deerfield Beach, Florida. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  23. Tucker, Ernest (February 27, 1987). "'Chapter Two' ends happily for MacLeods". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on June 11, 2014. Retrieved 2018-08-31 via HighBeam Research.
  24. Presenter: Bob Rogers (October 27, 2008). "Interview on The Bob Rogers Show". The Bob Rogers Show. 10:29 AEDT minutes in. 2CH.
  25. Sanchez, Steve (4 June 2012). "The One Minute Gospel: Gavin McLeod (From the Love Boat!)". Retrieved 31 March 2019.
Preceded by
Steve Guttenberg
Honorary mayor of Pacific Palisades, California
Succeeded by
Sugar Ray Leonard
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