As a Generation Xer, seeing Gavin MacCleod on T.V. was a given when I was a kid. I was introduced to him when he played Murray Slaughter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. And just as that went off the air, he was suddenly Captain Merrill Stubing on The Love Boat. So his passing the other day was very sad for me to hear, indeed.
I was still pretty young when the Mary Tyler Moor Show was on. Young enough, in fact, where a lot of the jokes went completely whoosh over my head. But I have good memories of watching the show with my parents. This tweet from Ed Asner, upon hearing of MacCleod’s passing, was particularly heart-wrenching:
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. pic.twitter.com/se4fwh7G1G
— Ed Asner (@TheOnlyEdAsner) May 29, 2021
The Love Boat, though….that was “my” show. I was old enough to appreciate the premise and pretty much every celebrity who sailed on the MS Pacific Princess from 1977 to 1986, and I was a fan until the very end.
Of course, the show eventually ended and life went on. However I was thrilled when I discovered that most of the cast from the Love Boat (Gavin MacLeod as Captain Stubing, Ted Lange as Isaac The Bartender, Bernie Koppel as “Doc” Bricker, Jill Whelan as Vicki Stubing and Lauren Tewes as Cruise Director Julie McCoy) took part in an actual Princess Cruises safety video that was shown as part of the in-room TV on Princess Cruises a few years back. It made for a lot of smiles. Take a look:
I promised myself that someday I would sail on The Love Boat. I never actually did, but I think young Sharon forgave not-so-young Sharon, who turned out to not really be a huge fan of cruising, LOL!
Gavin MacLeod served as Princess Cruises’ global ambassador for 35 years, starting in 1986, distinguishing him as the longest-serving celebrity spokesperson and brand ambassador in history. Of his passing, Princess Cruises made the following statement:
It is with sadness felt to the depth of the oceans that we mourn the passing of actor Gavin MacLeod our beloved global ambassador, dearest friend and treasured member of the Princess Cruises family for more than 35 years.
From his 10 seasons staring as Captain Merrill Stubing on the hit TV show “The Love Boat” (1977 to 1986) and for more than three decades following the show’s final season, Gavin enthusiastically shared his passion about the joys and adventures of exploring the world while cruising. He always reminded us that – like the popular TV series, “cruising gives people something to dream about.”
Gavin, who celebrated his 90th birthday in February, officially became Princess Cruises’ global ambassador in 1986, appearing in a vast array of advertising campaigns and countless public and media appearances for the company. His role for Princess continued until his passing.
All of us at Princess Cruises and our loyal guests around the world whom, to this day, remain avid fans of Gavin’s, send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Patricia (Patti) and his entire family who have lost a loving husband, father and grandfather. We offer our sincerest gratitude to them for sharing Gavin with all of us for so many years.
Rest in peace, Gavin MacCleod.
Feature Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
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I enjoyed his acting in a variety of movies and shows. He wrote a couple books about his experiences that are worth the read as well.