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He is also survived by his sister, actress Joyce Van Patten, and a half-brother, director-producer Timothy Van Patten.For 10 seasons, Gavin Mac Leod was the commanding, competent captain of "The Love Boat." But one thing that made his reign so remarkable was that he could be a leading man despite having what was considered in the industry at the time to be a physical detriment: A bald head. " he told TODAY's Savannah Guthrie about his early days in entertainment as they discussed his new memoir, "This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life." "I got a job at Radio City Music Hall for a week as an usher, and then I had to get a hairpiece." He was so poor that his roommate had to loan him the cash to get a used wig.
"He says, 'I think it sucks,'" Mac Leod recalled when the agent offered him the script.
"I read it and I said, 'I don't think there's ever been anything on television like this.'" And Mac Leod's wife had the final say, telling him, "If you get the right people and put it on at the right time, this is going to go." So it did.
But Guthrie had one more question for the former Captain Merrill Stubing: On "The Love Boat" he had to kiss his share of passengers. "Joan Collins," the 82-year-old said without hesitation, noting that the actress came on the show as an Elizabeth Taylor-type character looking for her 10th husband.
Depending on when you were born, if you’ve never taken a cruise before you may have learned everything you know about cruising from either “Titanic” or “The Love Boat.” Both offer a window into an era on the high seas, but ships have changed a lot since even times of Captain Stubing.
Dick Van Patten, who delighted fans with comic turns on shows like “The Love Boat” and “Eight Is Enough,” has passed away at the age of 86.