Notable Deaths in 2021

A look back at the esteemed personalities who left us this year, who’d touched us with their innovation, creativity and humanity.By senior producer David Morgan. The Associated Press contributed to this gallery.

Born Allan See, Gavin MacLeod (February 28, 1931-May 29, 2021) took as his stage name a figure from a French film and the last name of an Ithaca College drama teacher who’d encouraged him to pursue an acting career. But in his 2013 memoir, “This Is Your Captain Speaking,” MacLeod wrote that losing his hair at an early age had compromised his job prospects: “I went all over town looking for an agent, but no one was interested in representing a young man with a bald head,” he wrote. He bought a used hairpiece, and his luck changed “pretty quickly.”

By the time he reached middle age, the toupee was no longer needed – certainly not to portray the wisecracking news writer Murray Slaughter on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” nor Capt. Merrill Stubing on the long-running series “The Love Boat.” He would later become an ambassador for Princess Cruise Lines.

MacLeod’s early credits included the Broadway play “A Hatful of Rain,” and the films “I Want to Live!,” “Pork Chop Hill,” “Operation Petticoat,” “High Time,” “The Sword of Ali Baba,” “Kelly’s Heroes,” “The Sand Pebbles,” and “The Party.” His TV roles included appearances on “Peter Gunn,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “The Untouchables,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” and “Hawaii Five-O,” and the supporting role of Seaman Joseph “Happy” Haines on “McHale’s Navy,” for which he dumped the hairpiece for good. “I wore it for one episode,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 2013, “but it was so dry it looked like a rat. We threw it on the ground and shot it.”

MacLeod struggled with alcoholism until he quit, cold turkey, in 1974. He then remarried his second wife, actor-dancer Patti Steele, and became a born-again Christian. He and his wife hosted a Christian radio show, “Back on Course: A Ministry for Marriages.” “If it wasn’t for the Lord, I wouldn’t be alive,” MacLeod told the L.A. Times.

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