82-year-old actor Gavin MacLeod, known for his roles on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "The Love Boat," has recently released a new book that details his lifelong journey through acting, love and faith and his ultimate transformation into a born-again Christian.
MacLeod, who now resides in Southern California, is most well-known for playing Murray on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and Captain Stubing on "The Love Boat," but few of his fans have known about his personal struggle with faith before the release of his new book, This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life.
MacLeod writes in the opening pages of his autobiography that when he was younger, he still believed in God but was afraid of the concept of evangelism and being a born-again Christian. "It would take time for me to fully understand what Paul said in the Bible: that when you're born again, you become an 'ambassador for Christ,'" MacLeod writes.
"For me, that role with evolve and grow stronger with each passing day, as I lived my life to the fullest and gave thanks to Jesus for this new life I had," MacLeod continued. "But it would take some time before I stood comfortably in those shoes."
The book details many of MacLeod's life experiences, such as his first beginnings in Hollywood working cameos for DesiLu shows, to his struggle with excessive drinking and unhappiness in his first marriage. MacLeod writes that a major change in his life came after he had divorced his second wife, Patti, after being cast for a role of the popular television series "The Love Boat."
MacLeod said he was living in Hollywood at the time and was enjoying the success of "The Love Boat" when he was told his mother developed a cyst on her brain while in her seventies. Feeling distraught, he called his estranged wife, Patti, after not speaking to her for three years and asked if they could see each other.
After reuniting, Patti introduced MacLeod to God and evangelism: "I came [to her house] and she said, 'I have something for you,' and she brings me in a Bible with my name on it […] So I said, 'So you're a born again Christian, What does that mean?' and she explained everything. I said, 'Patti, that's what I want!' That was the beginning of me becoming who I am today, a different person," MacLeod said in a recent interview with Fox News.
Since then, MacLeod has dedicated himself to Jesus, writing in his new book that everything "works out eventually" thanks to God's plan.
"For a lot of years I wondered, Why [does everything always work out]?" MacLeod writes in the book. "Only now I know: even if you don't believe it, even if you're not fully appreciative of it, God is there watching over you. Always."
"My greatest wish, though, is that whoever reads my story will walk away at the end with a smile. And maybe, just maybe, there's something to be found in my journey- especially in my journey of faith- that will help give someone a little bit of hope. Maybe even change someone's life for the better," MacLeod added.
In addition to "The Love Boat" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," MacLeod also starred in a small Christian movie, "The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry" in 2009, a role that he describes as the highlight of his acting career. After finishing "The Love Boat" in 1986, he and his wife hosted a spiritual television show, "Back on Course," to encourage separated couples to work through their marital difficulties. The retired actor has also served as an ambassador to Princess Cruises for the past 30 years, even once speaking at a nondenominational Sunday service during one of the cruises in the Mediterranean.