Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Godspeed Gavin MacLeod

Gavin MacLeod, who starred as Happy on McHale's Navy, Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Captain Stubing on The Love Boat, died on May 29 2021 at the age of 90.

Gavin MacLeod was born Allan George See on February28 1931 in Mount Kisco, New York. He grew up in Pleasantville, New York. He attended Ithaca College in New York and graduated in 1952 with a degree in drama. He served in the United States Air Force. Afterwards he moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting. He worked as an usher and then an elevator operator at Radio City Music Hall. As his stage name he took "MacLeod" in memory of his drama teacher Beatrice MacLeod and he got Gavin from the name of a character on an episode of the anthology TV show Climax!.

He made his Broadway debut in A Hatful of Rain. He made his television debut on an episode of The Walter Winchell File in 1957. He made his movie debut in an uncredited part in The True Story of Lynn Stuart (1958). In the Fifties he guest starred on the TV shows The Thin Man, U.S. Marshal, Whirlybirds, Steve Canyon, Alcoa Theatre, World of Giants, Five Fingers, Men Into Space, Man With a Camera, Lock Up, Manhunt, General Electric Theatre, Peter Gun, Mr. Lukcy, and Dan Raven. He appeared in the movies Young and Wild (1958), I Want to Live! (1958), Compulsion (1959), Pork Chop Hill (1959), Operation Petticoat (1959), The Gene Krupa Story (1959), Twelve Hours to Kill (1960), and High Time (1960).

In the Sixties he appeared on Broadway in The Captain and the Kings. On television he played Happy on the classic sitcom McHale's Navy in its first two seasons. In 1970 he began playing the role of Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He remained on the show for all seven of its seasons. He guest starred on the shows Michael Shayne, The Asphalt Jungle, Dr. Kildare, The Dick Powell Show, The Investigators, Straightaway, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Untouchables, Cain's Hundred, Slattery's People, The Munsters, Rawhide, Gomer Pyle: U.S.M.C., The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Andy Griffith Show, Perry Mason, My Favorite Martian, Ben Casey, The Rat Patrol, Run for Your Life, Combat!, The Road West, Iron Horse, Garrison's Gorillas, Death Valley Days, Ironside, The Flying Nun, Hawaii Five-O, The Big Valley, Hogan's Heroes, Judd for the Defense, Lancer, It Takes a Thief, and The Name of the Game. He appeared in the movies War Hunt (1962), McHale's Navy (1964), The Sword of Ali Baba (1965), McHale's Navy Joins the Air Force (1965), Deathwatch (1966), The Sand Pebbles (1966), A Man Called Gannon (1968), The Party (1968), The Thousand Plane Raid (1969), The Comic (1969), and Kelly's Heroes (1970).

In the Seventies Gavin MacLeod continued playing Murray on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He began a ten year run of playing Captain Stubing on The Love Boat in 1977. Mr. MacLeod guest starred as Murray on Rhoda ans as Captain Stubing on Charlie's Angels. He also guest starred on Love, American Style and Wonder Woman. He appeared in the mini-series Scruples.

In the Eighties he continued to play Captain Stubing on The Love Boat. He guest starred on Hotel and Murder, She Wrote. He was the voice of Daniel in an episode of the animated series The Greatest Stories from the Bible. In the Nineties Gavin MacLeod guest starred on The General Motors Playwright Theatre, CBS Schoolbreak Special, Love Boat: The Next Wave, and Oz.

In the Naughts Mr. MacLeod guest starred on The King of Queens, JAG, Touched by an Angel, That '70s Show, and The Suite Life on Deck. He appeared in the movies Time Changer (2002), Checking Out (2005), and The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry (2008). In the Teens he was a guest voice on the animated series Pound Puppies and guest starred on The Comeback Kids.

Gavin MacLeod was a wonderful actor with a gift for comedy. Murray was one of the many great characters on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, brought to life beautifully by Mr. MacLeod. In his autobiography, This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith and Life, he wrote, "Murray represented all the brown-baggers — not just in newsrooms, but in all sorts of professions." And he was certainly right about Murray. He was the sort of talented individual who worked day in and day out, the head writer of WJM-TV and Mary Richards's best friend and ally at the office. As Captain Stubing on The Love Boat he created a character who was congenial, but who could be stern when he had to be. He had previously demonstrated his talent in various guest appearances. On the Andy Griffith Show episode "The Taylors Go to Hollywood," he played actor Bryan Bender, who is playing Andy Taylor is a somewhat exaggerated movie based on Andy's life. He had earlier played Gilbert Jamel, a bank robber posing as a television producer, in the episode "TV or Not TV." And while Gavin MacLeod was well known for his work in comedy, he could do drama as well. In the first two episodes of Hawaii Five-O he played, of all things, a drug pusher named Big Chicken. He appeared on Perry Mason no less than three times. Gavin MacLeod was an incredible talent, and American television is so much the richer because of him.


Evil Woman Blues said...

He had about 3 appearances in Hogan's Heroes and they were memorable. He played a corrupt Nazi officer dealing in stolen art. He was so diabolical it was funny.


I am a fan of GAVIN MacLEOD. He did three episodes of THE BIG VALLEY. He played a prison guard in the one titled ALIAS NELLIE HANDLEY. It was one of his villainous roles. SUSAN OLIVER and RICHARD ANDERSON were also in it. Gavin had a more diverse career than some people probably realize.