Canadian actor Alan Thicke dead at 69
Carleen Donovan, a publicist for one of Thicke’s three sons, singer Robin Thicke, said the Canadian-born actor died from a heart attack Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Thicke was playing hockey with his youngest son Carter when he suffered the fatal attack, Robin Thicke told the Los Angeles Times.
Born in Kirkland Lake, Ont., in 1947, Thicke was best known for his role as Dr. Jason Seaver, the responsible and lovable father in the ’80s sitcom Growing Pains, who despite being a well-respected psychiatrist, has a handful with his wife and three children, particularly his oldest son.
In an interview earlier this month, he said he was proud about the show’s history of touching on difficult subject matter while maintaining a light and comedic tone.
Thicke said the character of Jason Seaver was a blend of his own experiences and the talented writers on the show.
“I think I brought some of my own values, my good old Canadian, northern Ontario backwoods values to the character and, in turn, I learned something from what they were writing, so it was a nice exchange,” he said.
The show debuted in September 1985 and helped form a strong Tuesday night for ABC, often with Who’s the Boss and Moonlighting also in the lineup. Growing Pains ended its run in April 1992.
By the time of his biggest hit, Thicke was already a veteran of nearly two decades in the entertainment business in a host of roles.
His career began with a host of writing credits for CBC shows and variety specials, including The Tommy Hunter Show, Time for Living, and That’s Showbiz.
Thicke worked as an actor, talk show host and a songwriter who wrote theme songs, often with his first wife Gloria Loring, for famous shows including Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life and Wheel of Fortune.
Between 1980 and 1983, he hosted a Canadian afternoon talk show on CTV called The Alan Thicke Show, which he followed up with the short-lived U.S. late-night show Thicke of the Night, an unsuccessful competitor to The Tonight Show.
“It was a complete dog. Johnny Carson kicked my Canadian butt,” Thicke joked. “I wasn’t very good at late night, which is the domain of stand-up comedy. I was a schmooze-ier kind of guy.”
Most recently, he starred in the film I Don’t Care and It’s Not My Fault Anyway, which premiered Dec. 2 at the Whistler Film Festival in B.C., where he was given the Canadian Icon Award.
Thicke also appears in season 2 of Fuller House, Netflix’s reboot of the ’90s family sitcom Full House.
Fellow comedian Bob Saget of Full House fame called Thicke “a good husband, father, brother and friend,” while comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres declared: “America loved Alan Thicke.”
He was nominated for three Emmy Awards for his work in the late 1970s as a writer for Barry Manilow’s talk show, and later for a satirical take on the genre in the variety show America 2-Night.
When not on screen, Thicke often toured in various musical theatre productions.
Thicke told CBC’s Stroumboulopoulos Tonight that he was secure with his place in the entertainment industry.
“Instead of me being able to do anything particularly well, I did a bunch of things that were fun and I did them OK … my career has been different just about every day.”
Thicke was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2013.
He leaves behind his third wife, Tanya, and sons Brennan, Carter and Robin.