Sunday, October 27, 2013

Book Review: This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life by Gavin McLeod and Mark Dagostino

We all know this author. Gavin McLeod has been an almost constant presence in our living rooms for decades. First as newsroom worker on the Mary Tyler Moore Show and then as Captain Stubing on the Love Boat. Few people know that Mr. McLeod has transformed the Love Boat stint into a long-term association with Princess Cruises, for which he acts as a global ambassador. He regularly attends cruises, speaking to passengers and signing autographs for his many fans.

In this book, Mr. McLeod shares his memories from his TV roles on the Mary Tyler Moor Show and the Love Boat, but also discusses his memories from other television and movie adventures that included such notables as Cary Grant, Steve McQueen and Gregory Peck. We get to know Gavin McLeod the movie actor that also starred in serious roles and freely acknowledges that he benefited a lot from the exposure with better known stars such as Peck and Grant. I think it is this humbleness that really makes Mr. McLeod such a likable character and makes you feel as if you are listening to a neighbor talking about his adventures in Hollywood.

McLeod also describes his upbringing, which was not glamorous at all, and this too helps the reader to connect to Gavin McLeod on a more personal level. The book also covers his life away from the theater, including personal issues that he dealt with, but also the joy he experiences when he attends another wedding and plays the proud father. This book really makes you feel part of his family and you can understand in the end, why Mr. McLeod feels that God is such an integral part of his life and why he is so intent on including God in this mission in life. Now with McLeod happily remarried again, after a divorce that proved a difficult time to McLeod, this book ends on a very optimistic note by McLeod, who feels very confident about his future.

I enjoyed this book. It is not that overtly Christian, although his belief in God is explicitly mentioned throughout the book. I did not feel that this book read like a sermon, but McLeod makes no apologies for his belief (and he should not have to). If you are looking for a book to learn more about one of the main TV stars from the 60s and 70s, this book is an interesting read. I found the private person Gavin McLeod to be quite charming and someone that could fit into my neighborhood, without looking like a Hollywood transplant.

Disclaimer: I was provided this book for free through in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are solely my own and have not been influenced by any third party.

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