Alan Thicke | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Alan Thicke

Alan Thicke, actor, writer, producer, composer (born 1 March 1947 in Kirkland Lake, ON; died 13 December 2016 in Los Angeles, California).

Alan Thicke, actor, writer, producer, composer (born 1 March 1947 in Kirkland Lake, ON; died 13 December 2016 in Los Angeles, California). Alan Thicke began his broadcasting career as a radio disc jockey while attending the University of Western Ontario, where he studied English and psychology and earned a Bachelor of Arts. He wrote for CBC Television in the 1960s and went on to become an internationally recognized media figure. He is most famous for his on-air television work in the 1980s, particularly his talk show The Alan Thicke Show and the popular sitcom Growing Pains.

In the 1970s, Thicke wrote for many television series, game shows and one-off specials (such as 1977's The Barry Manilow Special, which earned him his first Emmy nomination). In the late 1970s, he hosted his first Canadian game show, which led to his hosting more game and talk shows throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

From 1980 to 1983, Alan Thicke hosted the afternoon Canadian talk show The Alan Thicke Show. His attempt to move to late-night American television was not as successful, and Thicke of the Night was cancelled in 1984 after 18 episodes. Thicke was candid about the show's failure and the emotional toll that it took: "The show was lousy, and I was super-lousy in it. To this day, I can't even really watch it. It was a dark period of my life."

He bounced back from the cancellation of Thicke of the Night with the most successful role of his career in the ABC sitcom Growing Pains, which ran from 1985 to 1992. Although he appeared in a number of feature films and television productions, his portrayal of psychiatrist Jason Seaver on Growing Pains was his longest-running and perhaps most recognizable character. Alan Thicke's portrayal of Seaver as the affable patriarch of a middle-class suburban family transformed him into an international television personality.

Despite his persistent "good guy" persona and professed love of the traditional values embodied by Growing Pains, Thicke often dipped into satire and dark comedy. The late 1970s comedies Fernwood 2 Night and America 2 Night, on which Thicke served as head writer and producer, courted controversy with skits that focused on reliably incendiary topics. In his post-Growing Pains career, shows such as Hope & Gloria (1995-96) and CBC's jPod (2008) demonstrated his talent for playing against type.

Alan Thicke was an accomplished composer for television. He wrote the themes for a number of classic shows, including Diff'rent Strokes, The Facts of Life and the original theme for Wheel of Fortune. He is the author of two humorous and heartfelt books on parenting: How Men Have Babies: The Pregnant Father's Survival Guide (1999) and How To Raise Kids Who Won't Hate You (2006).

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