A nephew of The Mary Tyler Moore Show star confirmed the news.


Gavin MacLeod, the actor who famously played Captain Merrill Stubing on the classic TV show The Love Boat, has died at 90.

The actor's nephew, Mark See, confirmed his uncle's passing to Variety. The actor died in the early hours of Saturday, May 29.

MacLeod played Murray Slaughter, the head news writer for the fictional WJM-TV in Minneapolis, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 1970s (1970-1977). His part as Capt. Stubing came up not long after TMTMS finished and then ABC-Entertainment president Fred Silverman pushed for him to be cast in the role of the often saluting seafaring ship helmsman.

Gavin Macleod
Gavin MacLeod in 'The Love Boat'
| Credit: Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

"My agent said, 'Aaron Spelling wants you to do this thing called The Love Boat.' I said, 'What do you think about it?' He said, 'I think it sucks. Do you want to read it?' I said, 'Yeah.' I read it and said, 'There hasn't been anything like this on television. This could be interesting….'" MacLeod told EW when we reunited the cast in 2007.

Stubing and his shipmates welcomed guest stars each week, as the boat went to various ports while their passengers found love. Each episode of the show involved romance, mystery, and drama. In the early days of the show, which ran for a decade (1977-1987), MacLeod said the press wanted the show to sail away.

"I went to a [press junket]. Most people I knew from The Mary Tyler Moore Show were coming over, saying, 'How could you do a mindless show like this?' I said, 'I did it because I believe in it and I'm going to make people forget their own problems and vicariously see the rest of the world. I did it because I thought it would be a hit,'" he told EW at the time.

After The Love Boat, MacLeod continued to work across television, appearing in such memorable series as Murder, She Wrote (1990), HBO's Oz (2000), CBS' Jag (2003), and The King of Queens (2001, 2002)

Ed Asner, who co-starred with MacLeod in TMTMS, turned to Twitter to share his grief over the loss of his friend. "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," Asner tweeted (Betty White was also in the show).

Maureen McCormick of The Brady Bunch, and who appeared many times on The Love Boat, also shared her condolences on Twitter, writing, "Rest In Peace my dear friend Gavin Macleod❤️ Thank you for all the special and beautiful heart filled conversations about life. I will always treasure the time I was lucky enough to spend with you. Love you #GavinMacleod"

Marie Osmond also mourned the loss of the actor. "It seems like I just wished you a happy 90th birthday #GavinMacLeod, and now you have set sail on to a new adventure. So many fun memories through the years!!! Love you with all my heart, thank you for the light you brought to others #CaptainStubing #LoveBoat," she tweeted.

A rep for the actor didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from EW.

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