Classic TV fans lost a star on Saturday when “The Love Boat” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” star Gavin MacLeod died at 90 years old. Ed Asner, though, lost a true friend.
Asner worked with MacLeod on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the 1970s. It turns into a grand-slam hit that scored big ratings on Saturday nights for CBS. Asner played news director Lou Grant while MacLeod played news writer Murray Slaughter.
“He made everything easy,” Asner said in an interview with “Variety.” “I realized that whenever I was tense, (MacLeod) was there to relieve it. I treasured his friendship.”
‘The Love Boat’ Star Receives Kind Words In Memorium From Asner
The actors worked together on the show between 1970-77.
Asner writes, “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.”
His reference to Betty is Betty White, who is “Happy Homemaker” star Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” White is 99 years old.
MacLeod Tells ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ Producers He Is Better Fit For Murray Role
Asner told “Variety” that MacLeod actually played a role in him getting the Lou Grant role. He says that MacLeod told “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” producers “he thought he was more right for Murray than for Lou. He made the job the easier for me to get.”
In closing, Asner said, “He was a lovely soul who will make heaven brighter.”
“The Love Boat” became the first show MacLeod, a longtime character actor, held a leading role in for his career. Earlier in his career, MacLeod played on “McHale’s Navy” with Ernest Borgnine and Joe Flynn. Other TV show appearances were on “Peter Gunn,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Perry Mason,” “Ironside,” and additional shows.
MacLeod also was a man of devout faith. He and his second wife Patti were Christians and would talk about their faith journeys on TV as well as at churches. MacLeod overcame a battle with alcoholism to find long-term sobriety in his life.
Funny thing about “The Love Boat” is that it, too, was a Saturday night staple. The show provided a strong lead-in to “Fantasy Island” during its time on ABC. Classic TV fans remember both shows fondly, plus watch reruns these days as well.