Gavin MacLeod, ‘Love Boat’ and ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ actor, dies at 90; reports

Veteran actor Gavin MacLeod, known for his role as Murray Slaughter in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” has died. He was 90. 

MacLeod died early Saturday, his nephew, Mark See, told Variety. MacLeod’s health had been poor recently but no cause of death was given, the trade publication reported. TMZ first reported his death after getting confirmation from his ex-wife Joan Devore. 

USA TODAY has reached out to MacLeod’s reps.

MacLeod’s acting career took off when he was cast alongside legendary actress Mary Tyler Moore as the news writer for the fictional “Mary Tyler Moore Show” WJM-TV news station. With a balding head, MacLeod’s character served as a foil to Betty White’s happy homemaker Sue Ann Nivens. His role on the groundbreaking sitcom landed him two Golden Globe nominations for best supporting actor. 

Gavin MacLeod, on the left, from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" has died. Former cast members of the show reunited for the Museum of Television and Radio's 9th annual Television Festival in Los Angeles on March 21, 1992. (Photo: Craig Fujii, AP)

After his stint on “Mary Tyler Moore” MacLeod served as the lead character for “The Love Boat” sitcom. The show lasted for almost 10 years on ABC as it followed captain Merrill Stubing on the MS Pacific cruise ship. The hour-long comedy depicted fictional passengers and crew involved in adventures and romances at sea. MacLeod added three more Golden Globe nominations, this time for best actor, for his role as Stubing.

Gavin MacLeod as Captain Merrill Stubing on "The Love Boat." (Photo: USA TODAY)

In 2013 he released his memoir “This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life” and wrote about the highs and lows of his long-running career in show business. 

“My life has taken one incredible turn after another,” MacLeod wrote. “I’ve gotten to do what I wanted to do. I’ve been a captain! I’ve been given this incredible gift of life and now I want to use it to give back. That’s why I’m sharing my story here, the fun parts and even some not-so-fun parts, in the hopes that maybe someone will take a nice walk down memory lane with me – and maybe I’ll even give someone a little bit of hope.”

One major role he auditioned for: Archie Bunker in “All in the Family.” But he quickly realized the character, immortalized by Carroll O’Connor, was wrong for him. “Immediately I thought, ‘This is not the script for me. The character is too much of a bigot.’ I can’t say these things,” MacLeod wrote in his memoir.

Other movie credits included “Kelly’s Heroes,” “The Sand Pebbles” and “The Sword of Ali Baba.”

FILE – IN this July 31, 2018 file photo shows actor Gavin MacLeod during a panel discussion on the PBS special "Betty White: First Lady of Television" during the 2018 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. Gavin MacLeod has died. His nephew told the trade paper Variety that MacLeod died early Saturday, May 29, 2021. (Photo: Chris Pizzello, Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

MacLeod’s former “Mary Tyler Moore Show” costar Ed Asner remembered him on Twitter on Saturday as his “partner in crime.” 

“My heart is broken. Gavin was my brother, my partner in crime (and food) and my comic conspirator. I will see you in a bit Gavin. Tell the gang I will see them in a bit,” Asner wrote. “Betty! It’s just you and me now.”

My heart is broken. Gavin was my brother, my partner in crime (and food) and my comic conspirator. I will see you in a bit Gavin. Tell the gang I will see them in a bit. Betty! It’s just you and me now.

“Clerks” Director Kevin Smith also remembered MacLeod on social media with a tribute to his iconic roles. 

“As a 70’s/80’s kid, I spent many a Saturday night with my Mom, Dad, Brother and Sister watching LOVE BOAT. So I was unexpectedly sad to see Gavin MacLeod has cruised on to that Puerto Vallarta in the sky! Thanks for the many memories, Captain Stubing – here and at WJM-TV! #RIP,” Smith wrote. 

Contributing: The Associated Press.

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