Gavin MacLeod, who played a wise-cracking news writer on the classic 1970s US sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the hospitable cruise ship captain on The Love Boat, died on Saturday, May 29, aged 90.

His nephew, Mark See, confirmed his death to Variety. No cause of death was given, it said, but MacLeod’s health had declined in recent months.

The bald MacLeod often played villains on TV before being cast in the acerbic comic role of Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which ran on CBS from 1970-1977 and was one of the most honored shows of its decade, winning 29 Emmy Awards.

After The Mary Tyler Moore Show, MacLeod was signed for the starring role of Captain Merrill Stubing on ABC’s The Love Boat, which ran for 10 seasons from 1977-1987.

The series, which featured guests stars in each episode as passengers looking for romance aboard a cruise ship, was not a favorite of critics – a New York Times reviewer once called it “a dreadful porridge” – but it was frequently amusing and popular with viewers.

“I remember TV critics saying, ‘How could you do it?'” MacLeod told Entertainment Weekly in 1997, referring to his jump from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to The Love Boat. “But I loved it. I said, ‘This is going to take people away from the everyday burdens of life. It’ll give them something to dream about.'”

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