Alan Willis Thicke (né Jeffrey; March 1, 1947 – December 13, 2016) was a Canadian actor, songwriter, and game and talk show host. He was best known for his role as Jason Seaver, the father on the ABC television series Growing Pains, which ran for seven seasons. He was the father of singer Robin Thicke. In 2013, Thicke was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.
Thicke was born Alan Willis Jeffrey on March 1, 1947 in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, the son of Shirley "Joan" Isobel Marie (née Greer), a nurse, and William Jeffrey, a stockbroker. They divorced in 1953. His mother remarried to Brian Thicke, a physician, and they moved to Elliot Lake. Thicke graduated from Elliot Lake Secondary School in 1965, and was elected homecoming king. He went on to attend the University of Western Ontario, where he joined the Delta Upsilon fraternity.
Thicke hosted a Canadian game show on CFCF-TV in Montreal called First Impressions in the late 1970s and the Saturday morning celebrity game show Animal Crack-Ups in the late 1980s. In 1997, he hosted a television version of the board game Pictionary. In the early 2000s, he hosted the All New 3's a Crowd on the Game Show Network.
Norman Lear hired Thicke to produce and head the writing staff of Fernwood 2-Night, a tongue-in-cheek talk show based on characters from Lear's earlier show, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. In the late 1970s, he was a frequent guest host of The Alan Hamel Show, a popular daytime talk show on Canadian TV, usually hosted by Alan Hamel. Thicke went on to host his own popular talk show in Canada during the early 1980s, called The Alan Thicke Show. The show at one point spawned a prime-time spinoff, Prime Cuts, which consisted of edited highlights from the talk show. Thicke was later signed to do an American syndicated late-night talk show, Thicke of the Night.
In 2014 and 2015 Thicke hosted a traveling dance show called Dancing Pros Live, which toured the United States.
Producing and composing
Thicke had a successful career as a TV theme song composer, often collaborating with his then-wife Gloria Loring on these projects, which included the themes to the popular sitcoms Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life. He also wrote a number of TV game show themes, including The Wizard of Odds (for which he also sang the vocal introduction), The Joker's Wild, Celebrity Sweepstakes, The Diamond Head Game, Animal Crack-Ups (which he co-wrote with his brother Todd Thicke and Gary Pickus), Blank Check, Stumpers!, Whew!, and the original theme to Wheel of Fortune. Thicke was a popular songwriter. He co-wrote "Sara", a solo hit for Bill Champlin and included on the latter's Runaway album (1981).
Thicke produced a variety of television shows, including Anne Murray Christmas specials for the CBC, beginning in the late 1970s.
Thicke played Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist and father, on the family sitcom Growing Pains. When the show began, Jason was moving his psychiatry practice into the home to be closer to the family's children while the family matriarch Maggie, played by Joanna Kerns, resumed her career as a reporter. Growing Pains debuted on ABC in 1985 and ran until 1992.
Two TV movies, The Growing Pains Movie (2000) and Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers (2004), followed.
Television and film appearances
Thicke in the 2000s
Thicke co-hosted the Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade (now the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade) with Joan Lunden from 1983 to 1990, when he was succeeded by Regis Philbin.
In 1988, he hosted the Miss USA Pageant in El Paso, Texas, replacing Bob Barker (who quit over fur being involved in the pageants). He replaced Barker again as host of the 1988 Miss Universe Pageant (along with Tracy Scoggins) in Taipei, Taiwan. Thicke was replaced by Dick Clark as host of the 1989 Miss USA Pageant in Mobile, Alabama and by John Forsythe as host of the 1989 Miss Universe Pageant in Cancun, Mexico.
Thicke continued hosting a wide range of variety TV events. In 1989 he co-hosted with SCTV alumnus Andrea Martin the TV special Opening of SkyDome in Toronto, which aired across Canada on the CBC. In 2004, he hosted the Miss Universe Canada Pageant in Ontario. Apart from Growing Pains, Thicke also appeared on the American television series Hope & Gloria, which ran for 35 episodes. He played a lead role in the Not Quite Human trilogy of made-for-TV movies. In April 2006, he hosted Celebrity Cooking Showdown on NBC, in which celebrities were teamed with famous chefs in a cooking competition. In August 2006 and 2007, Thicke made a few appearances as talk show host Rich Ginger on The Bold and the Beautiful. Thicke also had a cameo appearance in the 2007 movie Alpha Dog as the father of the lead character's girlfriend.
In 2008, Thicke appeared in a major supporting role as Jim Jarlewski in the television series adaptation of Douglas Coupland's jPod. That same year, he had a cameo appearance in the How I Met Your Mother episode "Sandcastles in the Sand" as the dad in Robin Scherbatsky's second "Robin Sparkles" music video. He guest starred as himself in the episode "The Rough Patch". He appeared on a website made specifically for the show, canadiansexacts.org, featured in the episode "Old King Clancy".
In February 2009, Thicke made a guest appearance on Adult Swim's Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job. In the same month, he made a guest appearance on the web series Star-ving. He also had a role in the 2009 film, The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard. On July 10, 2009, Thicke appeared on the 1000th episode of Attack of the Show!, and sang a song with Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn, at the end kissing Munn.
Thicke appeared in the season six finale of Just Shoot Me, "The Boys in the Band." He made a guest appearance on a few episodes of Canada's Worst Handyman 5. In 2010, Thicke appeared on the television program, Tosh.0. In October 2010, he appeared as a celebrity contestant on Don't Forget the Lyrics, where he played for the charities ProCon.org and the Alan Thicke Center for diabetes research.
In March 2013, he participated on ABC's Celebrity Wife Swap. He swapped wives with comedian Gilbert Gottfried.
In the 1990s, Thicke was the spokesman for the Canadian division of Woolco department stores until its demise in 1994. In 2009, Thicke began appearing in TV ads endorsing CCS Medical, a distributor of home-delivered diabetes supplies. In 2014, Thicke began appearing in ad spots for Optima Tax Relief.
Thicke was married three times: His first marriage, to Days of Our Lives actress Gloria Loring, lasted from 1970 until around 1984; they had two sons, Brennan and Robin. He started dating actress Kristy Swanson when she was 17 years old in 1986 and got engaged to her two years later when he was 42. He married his second wife, Miss World 1990 Gina Tolleson, on August 13, 1994, and had a son, Carter William Thicke, before their divorce was finalized on September 29, 1999. In 1999, he met Tanya Callau in Miami, where he was a celebrity host and she was a model. They were married from 2005 until his death.
On December 13, 2016, Thicke suffered a heart attack while playing hockey with his son Carter, and subsequently died at the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, at the age of 69.