Impeccable smile, benevolent with his crew and cap eternally screwed on his smooth skull … Gavin MacLeod remains for the general public the sympathetic Stubing of “The Cruise has fun”. He died this Saturday, May 29, at the age of 90.
He was one of those characters to whom the viewer always thinks back with a sweet nostalgia … This Saturday, May 29, 2021, the American actor Gavin MacLeod, alias the Captain Stubing of La Croisière amuses himself, died at the age of 90 years.
Graduated in drama in 1952, Allan George See completed his military service in the Air Force, before leaving for New York where he did odd jobs, especially at Radio City Music Hall. At this time, the young man decides to change his name to Gavin MacLeod, then finds himself propelled into the limelight of Broadway, thanks to the play “A Hatful of Rain“, in 1956. Enchanted by this experience, the budding comedian decides to settle in Los Angeles in order to embark on a career on the screen. He is then slowly made known in the cinema and on television by many seconds roles in the detective genre (In the clutches of the gang, Young and wild, I want to live!, The Walter Winchell File, Manhunt, Twelve Hours to Kill, The incorruptibles, Underworld barons…).
Orson Welles and Steve McQueen
In 1959, after having rubbed shoulders with Orson Welles then Gregory Peck respectively in The Genius of Evil and The glory of fear, Gavin MacLeod is truly exposed to the general public in Blake Edwards’ Operation Petticoats. The latter calls on him again for an episode of Good Luck Mr. Lucky then Peter Gunn, as well as for the musical A second youth. A change of register followed in 1964 when the actor obtained the role of sailor Joseph “Happy” Hanes in Sur le pont la marine!, sitcom depicting the adventures of the crew of a naval patrol boat during the Second World War. Regular in the first two seasons and participating in spin-off films The fleet gets wet and McHale’s Navy Joins the Air Force, however, he left the show after a last episode in season 3, in order to shoot in La gunonnière du Yang-Tsé. Directed by Robert Wise, worn by Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough, the film was a critical and commercial success when it was released in 1966.
From big to small screen
Gavin MacLeod then explores the genre of the western (The Road West, The Adventurers of the Far West, The Great Valley, A colt named Gannon…), before meeting Blake Edwards in 1968, for The Party, a comedy that has become cult. He is particularly noted for his interpretation of the drug dealer Big Chicken in two episodes of Hawaii, state police, or in The Comic, inspired by the life of Buster Keaton. In 1970, the actor returned to the front of the stage by playing Murray Slaughter, during the seven seasons of the sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. His performance, in the skin of the benevolent colleague of the heroine, certainly earned him two nominations for the Golden globes in the Best Supporting Actor category, but radically changes its image.
The Captain of the Pacific Princess
Now labeled as “the good boy”, this stereotype is reinforced when he lends his features to Captain Merrill Stubing, in charge of the crew of the luxurious ocean liner. The Cruise has fun. For 10 years, the series was a huge success, both in the United States and internationally, to such an extent that Gavin MacLeod became the ambassador of the American shipping company specializing in cruises, Pacific Princess Cruises and appears during an episode cross-over with the series Funny Ladies. Despite this period of glory, punctuated by three nominations for the award for Best Actor at Golden globes, he finds it difficult to manage his notoriety, suffers from not being able to access different types of roles and dark in alcoholism. Gradually, the actor goes up the slope and remarries with his ex-wife Patti MacLeod. In 1987, the couple co-wrote a book to share this experience: “Back on Course, the Remarkable Story of a Divorce That Ended in Remarriage“.
The return of Stubing
While The Cruise has fun is coming to an end, the actor varies his activities and goes on stage, both in plays (“Marvin and Mel“,”Love letters“,”The Last of the Red Hot Lovers“,”Moon over Buffalo“) than in musicals (“Gigi“,”CopacabanaThe audience then finds him again as his character Captain Stubing in The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage in 1990, as well as in an episode of The Fun Cruise, New Wave, eight years later. In the early 2000s, Gavin MacLeod got involved in projects dealing with the theme of the Christian religion, notably through his collaboration with director Rich Christiano for Time Changer, then for The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry. He even briefly dons the costume of cardinal in OZ. Continuing to appear regularly on the small screen, the actor winks at his fans by participating in two episodes of the Disney series, The Cruise Life of Zack & Cody. In 2013, Gavin MacLeod published his memoir, entitled “This is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life“, and in particular finds its former partners of The Cruise has fun for a meeting hosted by the CBS talk show, “The Talk“.
The credits of La Croisière have fun: