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Alan Thicke, actor and dad on ’80s sitcom ‘Growing Pains,’ dies suddenly at 69

By Chris Barton • Updated Dec 13, 2016 at 10:54 PM

LOS ANGELES — Alan Thicke, an actor best-known for helping set a template for parenting ideals in the ’80s sitcom “Growing Pains,” has died of a heart attack. He was 69.

His death was confirmed with the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday evening by the publicist of his son, pop-soul singer Robin Thicke.

Alan Thicke reportedly suffered a heart attack while playing hockey with his son Carter earlier today and subsequently died at the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Calif.

A songwriter and producer during his career in addition to being an actor and presenter, Thicke had continued to appear in TV roles up through this year, including recent appearances on NBC’s drama “This Is Us” and Netflix’s “Fuller House.”

“Season 2 Fuller House looking good,” read a post on Thicke’s Twitter feed from three hours ago. “I even like the ones I’m not in! #fullerhouse.”

Thicke (born Alan Willis Jeffery on March 1, 1947) was a Canadian-born actor, songwriter, and game and talk show host. Best known for his role as Jason Seaver, the father on the ABC television series “Growing Pains,” he was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in 2013.

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.

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.

After that, Thicke continued hosting a wide range of variety TV events.

Thicke also 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 Joker's Willd” 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.

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 Aug. 13, 1994, and had a son, Carter William Thicke, before their divorce was finalized on Sept. 29, 1999.

In 1999, he met Tanya Callau in Miami, where he was the celebrity host and she was a model. They were married from 2005 until his death.


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