Gavin MacLeod played the beloved Captain of “The Love Boat” in the ‘70s and ‘80s and now the accomplished actor is charting a new course with his recently released book, This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life. MacLeod appeared at Port Everglades last month to welcome the Royal Princess cruise ship to U.S. waters for the first time.
This ship, which was christened by Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton in June, will be sailing Sundays from Port Everglades on seven-day Eastern Caribbean itineraries through April 20.
Although it was MacLeod’s first time boarding the Royal Princess, he is no stranger to Princess Cruises. In 1997 he christened the Dawn Princess with fellow “Love Boat” cast members and in 2007 he connected Princess Cruises with some of America’s most beloved TV moms.
“They asked me to get television mothers to name the ship with me,” MacLeod recalled. “So I called Marion Ross from ‘Happy Days’ and Florence Henderson. So they came over to Greece and they were the godmothers of Emerald Princess. When you see my book you’ll see a lot of this stuff you didn’t know.”
MacLeod, who is just as personable and charming in real life as his TV character Captain Merrill Stubing, had so many memories to pack his book with he admits waking up in the middle of the night, almost every night, thinking ‘I should’ve put that in the book.”
Chronicling everything from legendary encounters with Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe to the roles he never took and battles with health issues, MacLeod wrote the book in two sessions with his writer Mark Dagostino. “I met with him and we talked. He’s from New Hampshire and flew out to see me,” MacLeod recalled. “We talked for 92 hours and we put together 90 pages as a presentation. They bought it and we met up again for another two days and talked on the phone in between. It was a complete collaboration.”
Although it would seem logical for a longtime TV star to release an autobiography, writing a book about his life was something MacLeod never thought he’d do. “At first I was thinking ‘a story about my life? Come on!” MacLeod laughed. “On ‘The Love Boat,’ you’d think there’d be a lot of stuff going on on that set, but I was the leader and it was pretty square. It was a great run and wonderful to work on that show. We’re here now talking because of that television show.”
As for his fans, MacLeod is often stopped to pose for photos, sign autographs and he regularly gets fan requests from boaters who dream of him steering their own boats on the sea.
“I’ve been grabbed a few times by fans and a lot of women want to say they kissed the captain,” MacLeod said. “I have to keep telling them, I’m not a captain, I’m only an actor. And people all over the world, including real captains, have asked me to steer their boats. It’s funny how people really think you are that character.”
When he’s not touring to promote his book, MacLeod says he’s home in Palm Springs where he enjoys attending church and spending time with his wife. “I want to bring people to Jesus,” MacLeod said. “That is what my life is all about now. Isaiah 40:31 is my favorite Bible verse. Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles; They shall run, and not be weary; They shall walk and not faint. And when you’re 82, that really works.”
For more information on MacLeod and his new book, visit Gavinmacleod.com.
Contact Joanie Cox-Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her tweets @joaniecox.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun