clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Alan Thicke, the lovable star of Growing Pains, dies at 69

Thicke was also a gifted songwriter, giving us the theme songs to The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes.

2016 Carousel Of Hope Ball - Arrivals Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Alan Thicke has died at the age of 69. Thicke, according to TMZ, had a heart attack while playing hockey with his son Carter, and was pronounced dead at Providence St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Burbank.

Thicke, for a generation of television watchers, was known as the bright and goofy Dr. Jason Roland Seaver on ’80s sitcom Growing Pains, which ran from 1985-1992. Thicke’s Seaver was a goofy, charming father to four children, and the show approached topics from drinking and driving to the effect that careers have on a marriage. And it was Thicke who made Growing Pains tick, serving as the show’s wry goofball, voice of reason, and steady presence.

Thicke had a huge impact on television off-screen as well, through his work as a songwriter, which he applied to crafting theme songs for several TV sitcoms and game shows. Among his work, The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes are some of the most memorable sitcom theme songs of their era.

Thicke, who was born in Ontario, was honored with a star on the Canadian Walk of Fame in 2013. Thicke was proud of his Canadian heritage, telling the audience during that Walk of Fame ceremony, that:

My grand reward has been to visit every corner of [Canada]. If there was a Canadian spirit, I shook its hand. If there was a Canadian soul I heard its story. If there’s a Canadian heart, it beats in me. Proudly and gratefully, for this night and this life, wherever I travel I hear ‘Hey fellow Canadian’ and I love you for that, and I love you for this. Be sure to say hello.

Thicke is survived by his three sons — Carter, Brennan, and Robin— and his wife Tanya.