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Gavin MacLeod on 'The Love Boat': 'The critics hated it'

Gavin MacLeod on 'The Love Boat': 'The critics hated it'
This Oct. 15, 1982 file photo shows Gavin MacLeod, center, with actress Debbie Reynolds, right, and Marilyn Michaels as special guest stars on ABC's "Love Boat." (Douglas C. Pizac / Associated Press)

"The Love Boat" may have made him world famous, but Gavin MacLeod remembers some choppy waters for the show.

Now 82, MacLeod is promoting his new memoir, "This Is Your Captain Speaking." In the book he recalls how he landed the part of Capt. Merrill Stubing, the good-natured skipper of a cruise ship where singles found romance. "Love Boat" ran on ABC from 1977 to 1986.

"The critics hated it," MacLeod told Savannah Guthrie on Wednesday's "Today" on NBC. And they weren't the only ones. MacLeod recalled that his agent included a review when he sent him the script: "I think it sucks."

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But when the actor — at that point best-known as the wisecracking Murray on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" — read it, he said he thought: "I don't think there's ever been anything on television like this." His wife told him the show would work with the right cast.

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MacLeod credited the show with helping revive the cruise industry. But it also led to some personal inconveniences. Vacationers would sometimes send him complaints if they'd been disappointed with a cruise.

"They thought I was a real captain," he said.

What did you think of "Love Boat"?

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