This Is Your Captain Speaking

This Is Your Captain Speaking
Author: Gavin MacLeod
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Memoir
ISBN: 978-0-8499-4762-9
Pages: 288
Price: $22.99

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Gavin MacLeod is well-known for his roles as Murray Slaughter and Captain Merrill Stubing, and for his work with Princess Cruises. After a lifetime of acting in TV shows, movies and theater, MacLeod shares his thoughts on Hollywood, faith, and life.

Being born into a poor family makes breaking into show business difficult, but MacLeod rises above the challenges of his upbringing. His years on Broadway are fascinating, as we see a glimpse of how young actors attempted to get into the theater in an earlier era. Soon he finds himself in Hollywood, trying to make a name for himself there. An actor’s work is sporadic, and he jokes about who he sees on the unemployment line from time to time. But he finally gets his big break on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and his career takes off from there.

Interspersed throughout the stories about his work, he shares some of his personal life – two marriages, a bout with alcoholism, and his conversion. But MacLeod spends most of this biography talking about all the famous people he met over his long career. Hopping from one name to the next, he tells of small moments shared with them all, making sure the reader knows how grateful he is for the chance he had to be in show business and to be able to meet them.

I read this book hoping for a testimony of faith. While MacLeod does mention his eventual acceptance of Jesus Christ as his savior, he doesn’t share much of a “before” or “after” story with us. His conversion is matter-of-fact and complete. But this book isn’t really about faith at all – it’s mostly a who’s-who of people he’s met over the years. Christians looking for a great story about MacLeod’s faith and conversion will be disappointed with this book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger