UPDATED: Friends, fans and colleagues tonight are remembering Alan Thicke, the always-smiling TV veteran who died today at 69. The Canada-born actor, writer, producer and composer first gained attention stateside with his syndicated talk show Thicke of the Night, produced by Fred Silverman, and went on to play Dr. Jason Seaver, the dad on ABC’s long-running sitcom Growing Pains. Before that he had worked on game shows and written TV theme songs including those for 1970s comedies The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes.
Some of the strongest statements of mourning came from Thicke’s Growing Pains co-stars, like Joanna Kerns, who played family matriarch Maggie Seaver on the seminal sitcom. “I loved Al. I called him Al because it really bugged him. He thought it sounded like an old man’s name. He hated it, but the cast loved it and unfortunately for him, it stuck,” she said in a statement.
Alan loved everything youthful: women, sports, music and above all, his beautiful and talented sons, Brennan, Robin and Carter. Alan was a true and loyal friend. As Maggie and Jason Seaver, we experienced more than a life-changing success together. When you pretend to love someone day after day, year after year, you see all their faults and foibles and learn to accept them as they are, separate from you, and there is a connection that happens that is hard to explain. I had that with Alan. Maybe that’s what marriage should be, the ability to love without judgment and the strength to remain separate.
I am devastated by Alan’s passing and will be for some time. I used to joke, before I met my real husband, Marc, that Alan was my favorite daytime husband. At work we laughed all day, everyday at things Alan would come up with, usually at my expense. It was fun. Alan was fun and we all loved teasing each other. Alan kept me calm and when I’d start to get upset about something silly, he would set things straight, give me a big hug and very gently say, “Maggie…don’t be an asshole.” There was a sweetness and kindness to his humor. No one could make fun of Alan better than Alan. As an actor, that is a gift, and I truly believe he was underrated.
So here’s to my dear friend Al, may you rest in peace and may your angels be youthful, tall, buxom and witty. May they also be as gorgeous as all of your wives and as generous and clever as you.
“I am in absolute shock and so unbelievably sad. In 1985 The Seavers became a family and Alan was our patriarch. I looked up to Alan admired him greatly. I always listened to his advice and wisdom,” said Tracey Gold, who played daughter Carol Seaver on Growing Pains. “He was so kind and warm and always made me laugh. He was incredibly proud that our Growing Pains days were about family, all our families. He was truly an amazing father. His sons were his world. Our Growing Pains Family is hurting today and that will not go away anytime soon. He was so full of life. I thought we had so much time. I’m not ready to say goodbye.
I am so honored to have been his daughter for seven beautiful years. I love you Alan and will miss you forever.”
I spent Monday through Friday for seven important years with Alan Thicke as my "TV dad." I'm shocked and truly heartbroken today at the news of his death. Alan was a generous, kind and loving man. I am so blessed to have grown up with him. Chelsea and I send our love and prayers to his family tonight. We will cherish the memories… "sharing the laughter and love."