Alan Thicke, a radio buttress as writer, composer of thesis songs, horde of diversion and late-night shows and, many notably, a wisdom-dispensing primogenitor of a long-running sitcom “Growing Pains,” died Dec. 13 in Los Angeles. He was 69.
The Canadian-born performer, who also seemed on soap operas (“The Bold and a Beautiful”) and existence TV shows (“Unusually Thicke”), reportedly died after a heart attack. Carleen Donovan, a publicist for Mr. Thicke’s son, cocktail thespian Robin Thicke, reliable a genocide to a Associated Press.
“Living with Alan was like being on an unconstrained est seminar,” a initial of his ex-wives once said. But his compulsive work habits, pleasing open persona and query for self-improvement propelled him from Canadian Broadcasting Corp. gofer to his home country’s heading media celebrity within a decade.
Along a way, he wrote comedy and sketches for high-profile TV specials in Hollywood, co-wrote a thesis for “Wheel of Fortune” and sitcoms including “The Facts of Life” and “Diff’rent Strokes,” and helped qualification a Norman Lear-produced “Fernwood 2-Night” (1977), a joke of low-budget village speak shows that doubled as a send-up of middle-American values and prejudices. “It was approach forward of a time, predating a presentation of a good ’80s epoch of irony,” pronounced informative academician Robert Thompson.
In 1983, Mr. Thicke done a legendarily catastrophic try to unseat NBC’s Johnny Carson as a undisputed ratings hulk of late-night television. The star pronounced his abilities as a self-described “schmoozer” did not interpret well into a genre that depends on a host’s change between torpedo comic instincts and self-deprecation as good as talent for enchanting with a guest.
Washington Post TV censor Tom Shales called him a “cut-rate David Letterman” who resorted to sleepy quips about synthetic insemination and test-tube babies. “The ‘e’ in Thicke is silent; Thicke should be, too,” he concluded. “Perhaps it’s time to boost confidence along a Canadian border.”
Mr. Thicke after told a A.V. Club, an party website, “We done a terrible mistake of carrying an whole promotional debate that said, ‘We’re going to take on Johnny and kick him, and nobody’s ever been means to do it.’ That was an vast thing for an unknown, semi-talented, no-name Canadian, a terrible position for him to take opposite an American broadcasting icon. . . . It wasn’t until Chevy Chase and Magic Johnson came along that a stink of ‘Thicke of a Night’ began to dissipate.”
After that debacle, Mr. Thicke plunged into emceeing and behaving work and got a heading purpose on ABC’s “Growing Pains” in 1985. Mr. Thicke played Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist who moves his use into his home to assistance lift his children while his mother focuses on her stating career. Like other pound sitcoms “The Cosby Show” and “Family Ties,” “Growing Pains” was a reversion to a required chief families of 1950s TV, Thompson said.
Immune from a temperate reviews, “Growing Pains” remained a spectator favorite over a seven-year run, in partial since of an appealing expel that enclosed Joanna Kerns as Mr. Thicke’s mother and teen heartthrob Kirk Cameron as a son.
“Loved it,” Mr. Thicke told a A.V. Club. “Proud of it. Proud of what it stood for. we share a trite family values espoused on that show. . . . So if that’s what goes on my tombstone, I’m ideally gentle with it.”
Mr. Thicke was innate Alan Willis Jeffrey in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, on Mar 1, 1947. He was 6 when his relatives divorced, and he took a surname Thicke from his stepfather, a physician.
The family changed around, and Mr. Thicke pronounced he cultivated an effusive celebrity to make friends. “I was venerable in propagandize and skipped dual grades,” he told a Toronto Star. “But that meant we was a youngest man and girls weren’t profitable any courtesy to me, and we wasn’t large adequate to play sports. So when they’d ask, ‘What dork wants to horde a talent show?’ we would say, ‘Me. I’m a dork.’ ”
He entered a University of Western Ontario with a goal of study medicine though his evenings spent celebration (“I threw adult all over southern Ontario”) and his deepening seductiveness in party derailed those plans.
He ingratiated himself into a CBC and contributed comic element to sitcoms and hosted radio shows. In 1970, he married thespian and singer Gloria Loring, staid in Los Angeles and landed work as a author on TV specials hosted by Richard Pryor, Sammy Davis Jr. and Barry Manilow, among others.
In a mid-1970s, his army as a TV author in Canada of “The Bobby Vinton Show,” starring a cocktail crooner of “Blue Velvet,” brought him to a courtesy of Lear, a co-creator of “All in a Family” and other groundbreaking sitcoms. “He pronounced he wanted to accommodate a man who could indeed make Bobby Vinton funny,” Mr. Thicke told a Star. “That was me.”
In 1977, Lear tapped him to assistance furnish and write for “Fernwood 2-Night,” that had spun off from Lear’s strike soap uncover satire “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.” “Fernwood” was set in Ohio and featured Martin Mull as a narcissistic host, Fred Willard as his dimwit second-banana, and a house bandleader (Frank De Vol) with a bad clarity of tempo.
Mr. Thicke also worked on a ephemeral supplement “America 2-Night” (1978), that was formed in Alta Coma, Calif. (“the unprepared seat collateral of a world”). Meanwhile, Mr. Thicke continued to work on Canadian programs, particularly his self-titled accumulation show. It won high ratings though vicious drubbings from reviewers who found Mr. Thicke flavorless. “Like Canadian Merv Griffin,” Toronto Sun TV censor Jerry Gladman wrote.
His marriages to Loring and Gina Tolleson, a indication and radio personality, finished in divorce. In 2005, he married indication Tanya Callau, who was 28 years his junior. Besides his wife, survivors embody dual sons from his initial marriage, Robin Thicke and Brennan Thicke; a son from his second marriage, Carter Thicke; and a brother, radio author and author Todd Thicke.
After “Growing Pains,” Mr. Thicke hosted a diversion uncover (“Pictionary”) as good as comedy specials, awards ceremonies and beauty pageants. He also popped adult on array including “How we Met Your Mother” and “Fuller House.”
His work as a creator of low-pitched earworms for sitcoms valid one of his many remunerative legacies. “I get ringtone royalties,” Mr. Thicke told a A.V. Club in 2010. “Apparently what happens is, we get college kids after a integrate of rounds of Beer Pong, and they start to gamble any other who can remember a many lyrics to an iconic sitcom, and they sequence it adult on ringtones, and we get 11 cents. It doesn’t keep adult with a stream state of a tellurian economy, though it’s always a pleasing small warn in a mail.”
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