Mary Tyler Moore
A wide-smiling bald star of TV since the 1960s, Gavin MacLeod, born Allan See, is best known for playing the news writer Murray Slaughter on the long-running CBS sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1970-1977), from which he gained lasting fame, and two Golden Globe nominations, and the ingratiating Captain Merrill Steubing on the ABC series “The Love Boat” (1977-1984), earning him another three nominations. Without becoming a foremost star, MacLeod has snugged to television audiences and had maintained to be an audience darling throughout the 90s, appearing on stage in numerous light comedies and musicals. The New York native actor also has played supporting roles in such films as I Want to Live (1958), Operation Petticoat (1959), High Time (1960), Kelly’s Hero (1970), Time Changer (2002) and Checking Out (2006).
As for his personal life, 5-foot-11-inch MacLeod married first wife Joan for 18 years and has four children with her. Two years after the divorce, he tied the knot with Patti, but MacLeod’s failure to deal with success led to divorce from his second wife in 1981. At this same time, he also became addicted to alcohol. Fortunately, MacLeod could turn his life around, remarried his wife in 1982, and wrote a biography called “Back on Course: The Remarkable Story of a Divorce That Ended in Remarriage.”
Childhood and Family:
The son of a Chippewa Indian and gas station owner, Allan See, who would later be famous as Gavin MacLeod, was born on February 28, 1930, in Mount Kisco, New York. He grew up in Pleasantville, New York, and studied acting at Ithaca College in upstate New York. Following his 1952 graduation, he served in the Air Force and then moved to NYC, where he worked as an escort and elevator operator at Radio City Music Hall for a short time while searching for acting work. At about this time, he changed his name to Gavin MacLeod.
While working at Radio City Music Hall, MacLeod met Joan, who at the time was a Rockette, and they got married in 1954. After 18 years of marriage, the couple divorced. MacLeod shares four children, sons David and Keith MacLeod and daughters Meghan and Julie MacLeod. In 1974, he married second wife Patti, from whom he has three step-children, Andrew, Tommy and Stephanie. They divorced in 1981, but remarried a year later, after they both converted to Evangelical Christians.
The Love Boat
Gavin MacLeod got his start on the stage when in 1956 he debuted on Broadway in a production of “A Hatful of Rain.” His solid break led him to relocate to Los Angeles to try his luck in television and film. MacLeod made his first TV guest appearance in the syndicated series “The Whirlybirds” in 1957 and had his feature film debut with I Want to Live in 1958, a prison drama where he appeared as a policeman opposite Susan Hayward, who netted an Academy Award for her performance. MacLeod’s appearance soon put him on the radar of director Blake Edwards, who in 1959 had the actor play a disturbed navy clerk in Operation Petticoat, along side Tony Curtis and Cary Grant. Operation Petticoat confirmed to be a breakout role for MacLeod, and he was soon reunited with Edwards for the comedy film High Time (1960), opposite Bing Crosby.
Following a string of guest spots, MacLeod finally scored a series regular in the 1962 ABC comedy/war series “McHale’s Navy,” playing Joseph ‘Happy’ Haines, a role he later reprised for the movies McHale’s Navy (1964) and McHale’s Navy Joins the Air Force (1965). Considering his was not one of the main roles (MacLeod frequently only had a few lines per episode), the actor decided to leave the sitcom during its run in 1964 and started to assume numerous heavies or villains in guest spots, including his two-episode turn as ‘Big Chicken’ on the CBS series “Hawaii Five-O” (1968-1969). In 1968, MacLeod also found himself playing Peter Sellers’ arch-rival in the comedy film The Party, again for director-writer Blake Edwards. He continued with appearances in Boris Sagal’s The Thousand Plane Raid and Carl Reiner’s The Comic (both 1969) and, after a small role in the Clint Eastwood vehicle Kelly’s Hero (1970), he took a long-term hiatus from filmmaking and concentrated on television.
MacLeod’s huge television break arrived when he won the role of Murray Slaughter, the balding, sunny news writer on the CBS sitcom “Mary Tyler Moore,” which ran from 1970 until 1977. The role won the actor enduring prominence as well as two Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actor - Television in 1975 and 1977. After the series departed the airwaves, CBS did not offer MacLeod a follow-up series and he then moved to ABC to star in the piloting “The Love Boat,” portraying the sycophantic Captain Merrill Stubing from 1977 to 1984. Delivering an impressive turn, he nabbed another three Golden Globe nominations, this time for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Comedy/Musical in 1981 and 1982 and for Best TV Actor - Musical/Comedy in 1979. MacLeod also reprised his role of Captain Steubing in several TV-movie based on the comedy show.
In the 1990s, MacLeod made sporadic stage appearances in musical and light comedies. He also occasionally appeared as a guest star on TV, including one in “Murder, She Wrote” (1990), and acted in the made-for-TV films The Last Act Is a Solo (1991) and If I Die Before I Wake (1993). He and his wife Patti, who separated in 1981 and remarried in the following year, hosted a talk show for Trinity Broadcasting Network called “Back on Course: A Ministry for Marriages,” about solving problems in marriages.
MacLeod continued to have frequent guest spots on TV in the new millennium, like in “Oz” (2000), “The King of Queens” (2001-2002), “JAG” (2003), “Touched by an Angel” (2003), and more recently “That ‘70s Show” (2006). As for film, he revisited the cinematic industry as Norris Anderson in the drama/ sci-fi Time Changer (2002), costarring D. David Morin, and a Doorman in the Peter Falk starring vehicle Checking Out (2006), which has been released in numerous film festival since April 2005.
A TV star since 1960s, MacLeod presently serves as the honorary Mayor of Pacific Palisades.