The Love Boat: Cast List Of The Pacific Princess (Come Aboard, They're Expecting You)

By | November 30, 2020

test article image
Pictured, from left: Fred Grandy (Gopher Smith), Ted Lange (Isaac Washington), Gavin MacLeod (Captain Merrill Stubing), Bernie Kopell (Dr. Adam Bricker), Lauren Tewes (Julie McCoy) , (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Di

The Love Boat was on the air for nearly 10 years, and you don't survive a long cruise like that without a solid cast list. The nucleus, including Captain Stubing, Doc, Gopher, Isaac and Julie, became more than actors or even characters to us -- they really did seem to be expecting us aboard the Pacific Princess every week. After a steady diet of The Love Boat from 1977-87, American cruise-goers might be surprised if their captain didn't look like Gavin MacLeod and there weren't multiple amorous plotlines unfolding every night.

Like many great shows, The Love Boat was based on a book written by Jeraldine Saunders. An actual cruise director, Saunders detailed the many wild and steamy stories she experienced over many years on the high seas. However, prior to “The Love Boat’s” stellar 9-year run, Saunders’s book inspired three made for TV movies. Clearly, people couldn’t get enough ocean infatuations.

Headed by Hollywood heavyweight Aaron Spelling, The Love Boat fielded more crossovers than a railroad system. Most of The Mary Tyler Moore Show cast made appearances on The Love Boat, including Betty White, Ted Knight, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, and Georgia Engel. The show also saw a who’s who of Hollywood cameos. Everyone from Gene Kelly to Tom Hanks made magical mischief on the open ocean. The iconic show, filmed on the Pacific Princess cruise line, lives on today as the theme music for the cruise’s safety video and the tune they play upon leaving port. 

Gavin MacLeod As Captain Merril Stubing

test article image
Your Love Boat captain. (looper)

The Mary Tyler Moore standout Gavin MacLeod was told by his agent that The Love Boat script "sucked," but Spelling really wanted him at the helm. Unlike his agent, MacLeod saw plenty of potential in the script and immediately signed up for the feel-good voyage. Perhaps he saw similarities to his other ocean-going big break, McHale’s Navy. MacLeod played one of three characters to appear in every episode of The Love Boat, and enjoyed the experience so much that he became a spokesman for Princess Cruises.