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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Sudden Heart Attack Ends the Life of Alan Thicke

By Douglas V. Gibbs
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My wife and I married in 1984.  From 1985 to 1992 among our favorite television programs was "Growing Pains," starring Actor Alan Thicke.  Thicke played an understanding father in a chaotic household with two sons and a daughter.  To be honest, the program had quite an impact on me as we embarked on a family of our own, with our son born in April of 1985.

Thicke, age 69, collapsed yesterday after experiencing a massive heart attack while playing hockey with his son, 19 year old Carter, in the Los Angeles area.

The Canadian-born actor became a household name in the United States, largely thanks to his role on Growing Pains.

The television program was a part of a march by Hollywood towards renewing its embrace of the traditional nuclear family, a tendency that had not dominated the airwaves since the 1950s.  The program competed with the Cosby Show, and Family Ties, two other programs that also centered around a traditional family model.  Cosby debuted in 1984, and Family Ties had been on the air since 1982.

Alan Thicke went from a "Father-Knows-Best" model on Growing Pains to a long list of guest appearances, but he really never held a primary role on any programs since Growing Pains.

Kirk Cameron, who left the program after becoming a Christian, said of Thicke, "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."

In addition to television acting and producing, Thicke was a music composer (which may explain the music success of his son, Robin), composing several popular theme songs, including the original theme to "The Wheel of Fortune," and shows such as "The Facts of Life" and "Diff'rent Strokes."

Prior to Growing Pains, Thicke attempted to go against the King of Late Night, Johnny Carson. "Thicke of the Night" was filled with talk, music, and comedy, but despite a hopeful launch in September of 1983, the program only survived one season.

"Certainly everything I needed to learn about failure, struggle, damage control, career rehabilitation and ego bashing I learned in that," he said about the attempt to dethrone Johnny Carson in a 1995 interview with the the Associated Press.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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