The Power of Love

Gavin MacLeod reflects on Hollywood, life, and relationships in a new tell-all biography

Gavin MacLeod, Betty White, George Burns, Patti MacLeod, and David Wayne.


Born Allan George See (he changed his name in his early 20s), the actor-turned-author, now 82, sits at his “usual” table at Palms Café, fiddling through a row of tea packets. “They’re all herbal!” he says. Shrugging off the disappointment of no Earl Grey, he settles for Enchanting Raspberry, concluding, “Well, I guess I’ll have an enchanting day.”

MacLeod seems to look at everything this way, through raspberry-colored lenses. As he recounts his life experiences — losing his father as a young boy, the tribulations of fame and marital life — he always finds the proverbial silver lining.

Sporting a Hawaiian-print shirt and bronzed skin, MacLeod looks like many residents of Rancho Mirage. But peer closely, and beneath the passage of time you can see the glistening blue eyes and cheerful smile of Murray Slaughter (Mary Tyler Moore) or Cpt. Merrill Stubing (The Love Boat). An actor since Kindergarten, he’ll tell you (“I was the lead in the Mother’s Day play … when I heard that first applause, I knew I wanted more of that!”), it was these TV roles that made MacLeod a household name. But it almost never happened.

“It was my first day shooting a new sitcom with Hal March called The $64,000 Question … I thought it was gonna be a hit,” MacLeod says. “I bought a new sweater from Bullocks, rented a car, the whole bit. When we broke for lunch — I was having cherry Jell-O because I was on a diet — someone came over and said ‘The casting director wants to see you … why don’t you bring your sweater … and your script.’ As I was walking to his office, I suddenly realized — I’m a little slow that way — ‘Oh, they’re letting me go.’ Well they did.  They never even gave me a chance. I cried all the way to the car, cried all the way to the agent. I thought acting was the only thing I could do. I thought about giving up, just going back to New York.”

Later that afternoon, MacLeod’s agent called. He was asked to audition for a lead in the private-eye series, Peter Gunn. “It changed my life,” MacLeod says.

The actor, who cut his teeth on the theater stage before going on to play an array of TV and movie characters, recounts this story among many others in his new book, This is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Love (W Publishing Group, 2013).

More recently, MacLeod is known for being the spokesman for Princess Cruises and for his spiritual radio show, the latter a result of a revelation he had through trials of marriage. 

At the pinnacle of his career, MacLeod says he was so immersed in work that he had little time for his wife, Patti. Ultimately, he decided to divorce. “It was a very selfish thing to do,” he says, tears rolling off his cheeks. “We were divorced three years. Then, one day, I felt I needed to call her. I didn’t know why. I just had to talk to her … had to see her.” It turns out, Patti had been praying to get her husband back — the force the pair believes helped them reunite. 

From Broadway to The Love Boat, marriage to divorce, children to born-again Christianity, MacLeod aims to provide readers the advice he’d give his younger self. “Hang in there. As Mary (Tyler Moore) used to say, ‘Nobody escapes.’ Stop thinking you’re going through this life by yourself. You have God. Don’t ever give up — not on work, not on love. When one door closes…”

And that is the title of Chapter One in his book.

Comments to this website are moderated by staff. While all comments are welcome, we encourage all to be polite and please do not use this system for advertising or business promotions. Any complaint towards a business or service should be directed directly to that business and not posted here. If anyone has a complaint that a comment is defamatory, please contact me at and I will take appropriate action promptly. Thank You

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Palm Springs Life
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

The Desert's Best

Here are the Readers' Choices for: Best Pizzeria, Best Continental Restaurant, Best Outdoor Dining, and Best Place for Women's Apparel.

The Service is the Show

PS Underground has created culinary experiences in the desert since 2013 — from a picnic at the polo grounds to a full-scale re-creation of the last dinner on the Titanic.

ShortFest Entries Present a Range of Techniques, Emotional Journeys

A trio of short films to see at this year's Palm Springs International ShortFest - Double Negative, Speed Dating, and Touch - range from human issues to animation to true stories.

The Inside Scoop on Palm Springs’ International ShortFest

Darryl Macdonald, executive director of the Palm Springs International Film Society, tells his favorite aspect of the Palm Springs International ShortFest, which opens June 16.

Palm Springs International ShortFest Picks Online Selections

The 2015 Palm Springs International ShortFest & Short Film Market has chosen the first 13 films to represent the ShortFest Online Film Festival.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Romantic Palm Springs Getaway

Romantic Palm Springs Getaway

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couples getaway
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.