The pantheon of classic TV shows can be a pretty small world sometimes. Take “The Andy Griffith Show” for example. Who should appear in two episodes of that show – “TV or Not TV” and “The Taylors in Hollywood” – but Gavin McLeod, captain of “The Love Boat” and trusty work buddy on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
In the former episode, during Season 5, McLeod played Gilbert Jamel. In the latter, during Season 6, he played Bryan Bender.
McLeod died this year in the early morning hours of May 29. The actor was 90.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Guest Star Appeared in Dozens of TV Shows Before Becoming Famous
Early on in his career, McLeod struggled, working in obscurity for over a decade. He appeared in dozens of TV shows, including “The Andy Griffith Show,” and in multiple movies before he got the role of Murray Slaughter on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” the Associated Press reported.
In fact, McLeod appeared in every single episode of the sitcom’s 168-episode run on CBS, according to Variety. He had initially auditioned for the part of Lou Grant, but the crusty, foul-tempered Grant was not a good fit for McLeod, who would go on to play the cheerful and patrician Captain Stubing on “The Love Boat.” That role ultimately went to Ed Asner.
When news of McLeod’s death broke, Asner wrote on Twitter, “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 and Betty White are the last surviving members of the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” cast. On the show, White’s character often sparred with McLeod, who traded insults with her as she mocked his bald head. The former “Andy Griffith Show” guest star then gave back as good as he got.
McLeod Appeared in Dramas and Comedies
The same year “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” ended, “The Love Boat” launched. The ABC comedy lasted for a decade. And after “The Love Boat” was cancelled, McLeod became a spokesman for Princess Cruises.
Around the time that McLeod guest-starred on “The Andy Griffith Show,” he was also appearing on dramas like “Perry Mason,” “Ironside,” “Hawaii Five-O” and “The Big Valley.” And he appeared on the comedies “My Favorite Martian,” “Hogan’s Heroes” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” which was his first time acting alongside Mary Tyler Moore.
The actor is survived by his second wife, his two sons and his two daughters.