‘Love Boat’ captain Gavin MacLeod dead at 90

Gavin MacLeod, who played Capt. Merrill Stubing on “The Love Boat” and television newswriter Murray Slaughter on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” died Saturday, his nephew said. He was 90.

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MacLeod’s death was confirmed to Variety by his nephew, Mark See. MacLeod’s death was also confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter by Ron Celona, artistic director of the Coachella Valley Repertory.

MacLeod also played Joseph “Happy” Haines on “McHale’s Navy” during the 1960s.

After several minor roles, MacLeod landed the role of Murray Slaughter, appearing in all 168 episodes of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” from 1970 to 1977. MacLeod’s wise-cracking persona and his proximity to Moore’s Mary Richards character endeared him to television audiences.

MacLeod originally tried out for the part of Lou Grant, which went to Ed Asner, but said he was happy in his role as Slaughter, Variety reported. He also auditioned for the lead role of Archie Bunker on “All in the Family,” but later decided against it, saying it was not the kind of character he wanted to portray.

MacLeod went from the newsroom to the captain’s bridge when he starred in “The Love Boat” from 1977 to 1987. He appeared in all 250 episodes of the hourlong romantic comedy, according to IMDb.com.

Capt. Stubing, who was known for his signature salute, was played again by MacLeod in 1990′s “The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage” and “Love Boat: The Next Wave,” in 1998, Variety reported.

The hourlong romantic comedy set on a cruise ship ran for 10 years. The actor’s Captain Stubing was known for his signature salute. Even after the end of the voyage in 1987, the actor returned for telepic “The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage” in 1990 and for the “Reunion” episode of rebooted series “Love Boat: The Next Wave” in 1998.

In addition to “Love Boat” and “McHale’s Navy,” MacLeod appeared in a pair of notable films with a nautical theme -- “Operation Petticoat” in 1959 and “The Sand Pebbles” in 1966.

MacLeod also had roles on the silver screen in “Kelly’s Heroes” (1970), “Pork Chop Hill” (1959), “War Hunt” (1962) and “The Thousand Plane Raid” (1969), according to The Hollywood Reporter.

MacLeod was born Allan George See on Feb. 28, 1931, in Mount Kisco, New York. His mother worked for Reader’s Digest, and his father was an electrician who was part Chippewa, according to Variety. He grew up in Pleasantville, New York, and studied acting at Ithaca College before graduating in 1952. He served in the U.S. Air Force and then took a job as an usher and elevator operator at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

After finding work as an actor, he changed his name, Variety reported.

MacLeod’s memoir “This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life,” was published in 2013.