The actor, songwriter and composer also hosted a successful talk show in his native Canada but proved to be no match going up against Johnny Carson in late night.
Alan Thicke, who played the head of the Seaver family on the popular ABC sitcom Growing Pains, has died, his publicist confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 69.
The genial actor reportedly had a heart attack while playing hockey with one of his sons. He was transported to a Los Angeles area hospital on Tuesday afternoon and pronounced dead.
Thicke recently appeared on the Netflix sequel Fuller House.
Growing Pains aired on ABC for seven seasons, from September 1985 to April 1992. Thicke played Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist who works from home. Joanna Kerns portrayed his wife and Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold, Jeremy Miller and Ashley Johnson were their kids. In the last season, Leonardo DiCaprio appeared as a homeless teen who moves in with the family. The series reached as high as No. 5 in the ratings.
After hosting a successful daytime talk show in Canada, the Ontario native launched the syndicated Thicke of the Night in September 1983 for an American audience. However, the show — produced by famed network programmer Fred Silverman — proved to be no match for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and lasted just nine months.
Thicke also was a songwriter who composed the theme songs to such sitcoms as Hello, Larry; Diff’rent Strokes; and The Facts of Life, and he wrote for TV comedies including The Paul Lynde Show, Fernwood 2 Night, America 2-Night and The Richard Pryor Show.
In a 2010 interview, Thicke was asked to reflect on Growing Pains.
"Loved it. Proud of it. Proud of what it stood for," he said. "I share the corny family values espoused on that show. Happy for the role, both, as I said, what it stood for and what it did for me and my life and my family and my career. So if that’s what goes on my tombstone, I’m perfectly comfortable with it.
"It was a great opportunity that made my life good and something that I can show to my 12-year-old now in reruns. Corny and dated as it is, it’s still relatable, understandable, and he can look at it and say, 'Yeah, I get it. Now I see what you did before I was born.' "
Survivors include his wife Tanya and sons Brennan, Carter and Robin, singer of "Blurred Lines."