Alan Thicke was born on March 1, 1947, in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada. He got his start in show business as a writer for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In the 1970s, Thicke found success with his musical compositions, writing, and producing for TV. Back in Canada, he became a popular talk show host. In 1985, he took on one of his most memorable roles as the dad, Jason Seaver, on Growing Pains. On December 13, 2016 Thicke died of a ruptured aorta at the age of 69.
Success Behind the Scenes
Alan Thicke was born Alan Willis Jeffery on March 1, 1947, in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Ontario, Canada. From the mid-1980s to the early '90s, Thicke played one of television's most beloved sitcom dads, psychiatrist Jason Seaver, on Growing Pains. He got his start in show business as a writer for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
In the 1970s, Thicke continued to find success behind the scenes. He received his first Emmy Award nomination for his work on The Barry Manilow Special in 1977. The next year, he wrote and produced a satirical look at talk shows with America 2Night, garnering him two more Emmy Award nominations. Thicke was also a talented composer, creating the theme songs for such shows as The Wheel of Fortune, The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes.
Back in his native Canada, Thicke became a popular daytime talk show host. From 1980 to 1983, The Alan Thicke Show had strong ratings. But Thicke unsuccessfully tried to make the leap from daytime to late night in 1983. Competing against The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, his show, Thicke of the Night, had trouble attracting an audience from the start. While the show didn’t last, the program did launch the career of Thicke’s on-air sidekick, Arsenio Hall. The show was canceled in 1984.
In 1985, Thicke took on one of his most memorable roles as the sensitive, caring dad Jason Seaver on Growing Pains. With Joanna Kerns co-starring as his journalist wife, Thicke played work-from-home dad to his three on-screen children, Mike (Kirk Cameron), the troublemaking teenager; Carol (Tracey Gold), an academically gifted teenager, and Ben (Jeremy Miller), the youngest son. A fourth child, Chrissy, was added in a later season. Much of the show’s comedy was derived from the kids’ misadventures growing up.
After the series ended in 1992, Thicke wanted to break away from his “good guy” image. He did just that with his next stab at series television. In the sitcom Hope & Gloria, he played Dennis Dupree, an arrogant, vain talk show host. Unfortunately, the show only lasted for about a year.
Thicke became a popular host for several shows, including the game shows Pictionary in the late 1990s and Three’s a Crowd in the early 2000s. He also appeared in numerous television movies, including The Growing Pains Movie (2000) and Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers (2004). In addition to acting, Thicke authored two books on pregnancy and parenting: How Men Have Babies: The Pregnant Father’s Survival Guide (1999) and How to Raise Kids Who Won’t Hate You (2006).
Thicke stayed busy as an actor, making cameo appearances in a variety of television shows including How I Met Your Mother in 2008 and on Adult Swim's Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job in 2009. He also dabbled in reality TV, appearing on ABC's Celebrity Wife Swap in 2013.
Married three times, Thicke has two sons from his first marriage to actress and singer Gloria Loring: Brennan and Robin (who has become a popular R&B singer and songwriter). He also has another son, Carter, with second wife Gina Marie Tolleson, Miss World 1990. Thicke married Tanya Callau in 2005.
On December 13, 2016 Thicke died of a ruptured aorta while playing hockey with his 19-year-old son Carter in Burbank, California.
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