Alan Thicke, the Growing Pains star who played one of the quintessential television fathers of the 1980s, died on Dec 13. He was 69. Thicke’s manager confirmed the actor’s death.
According to the website TMZ, Thicke, who was the father of singer Robin Thicke, suffered a heart attack while playing hockey with his son Carter. He was taken to Providence St Joseph’s Medical Center in Burbank, California, where he died.
Thicke remained a consistent presence on TV in recent years with guest appearances on NBC’s This Is Us and Netflix’s Fuller House. He also starred on the Pop reality series Unusually Thicke, which focused on his personal life.
As an actor, he was best known for Growing Pains, the multi-camera family comedy that aired on ABC from 1985 to 1992. Thicke played Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist and patriarch of a Long Island family. Working out of the family’s home after his wife returned to her career as a reporter, Seaver balanced his professional duties with his role caring for the couple’s children. Thicke starred alongside Joanna Kerns, Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold, Jeremy Miller, and later a young Leonardo DiCaprio.
Thicke came to US television after having risen to prominence as a host and frequent talkshow guest in his native Canada. Prior to Growing Pains, he hosted a short-lived US syndicated late-night talk show, Thicke Of The Night, that was one of the first efforts at challenging the dominance of NBC’s The Tonight Show. He was also an accomplished songwriter, having composed the themes to Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts Of Life, as well as several game shows.
Born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada in 1947, Thicke attended the University of Western Ontario after graduating from secondary school. He hosted a game show, First Impressions, in Canada, as well as a talk show, The Alan Thicke Show. He also worked with Normal Lear as producer and head writer on Fernwood 2 Night, a spinoff of Lear’s Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and a parody talk show whose fictional host was played by actor Martin Mull.
Thicke married his first wife, Days Of Our Lives actress Gloria Loring, in 1970. The couple had two children, Brennan and Robin – the latter a successful pop singer best known for the song Blurred Lines. Loring and Thicke divorced in 1984. In 1994, Thicke married former Miss World Gina Tolleson, who gave birth to Thicke’s third son, Carter. The couple divorced in 1999.
Thicke married model Tanya Callau in 2005. He is survived by Callau and his three children. – Reuters/ Daniel Holloway