Gavin MacLeod

Active - 1958 - 2008  |   Born - Feb 28, 1931 in Mount Kisco, New York, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama

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Biography by Nathan Southern

Best remembered for his high-profile acting roles on two 1970s television sitcoms -- that of genial news writer Murray Slaughter on CBS's The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977) and that of sweet-natured Captain Merrill Stubing on ABC's The Love Boat (1977-1986), stage-trained actor Gavin MacLeod in fact began his career typecast as a villain. He landed parts in Hollywood features including The Sand Pebbles (1966), Deathwatch (1966), and The Comic (1969), and enjoyed a tenure as Joseph "Happy" Haines on the sitcom McHale's Navy from 1962 through 1964.

After The Love Boat permanently laid anchor in the mid-'80s, MacLeod signed on as a spokesperson and pitchman for Princess Cruises and returned to regional theatrical work. He also tackled guest spots on programs including Touched by an Angel and (in a move that surprised everyone) the HBO prison drama Oz. Off-camera, MacLeod is an outspoken born-again Christian. He hosted a popular talk show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, along with his wife, Patti (whom he divorced in 1982 and remarried three years later), called Back on Course, and personally funded many of the Greatest Adventure Stories from the Bible animated videos for children.

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  • Raised in Pleasantville, NY.
  • Won a drama scholarship to attend Ithaca College; received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the institution in 1984 and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
  • Served three years in the Air Force.
  • Made Broadway debut in the 1955 production of A Hatful of Rain.
  • First film role was in the 1958 biographical drama I Want to Live! 
  • Starred in two iconic television comedies: CBS's The Mary Tyler Moore Show and ABC's The Love Boat
  • Was a spokesman for Princess Cruises after The Love Boat went off the air in 1986.
  • Divorced second wife Patti in 1982, but the pair reconciled and remarried in 1985. The duo would later host the TBN talk show Back on Course.