One of History’s Most Important Canadians, Alan Thicke

Celebrating the man who somehow endured Kirk Cameron for seven years



The AV Club’s Nathan Rabin finally got around to a “random roles” with Alan Thicke. Even though I wish the interview was longer, it does give a good summary of how packed his résumé is. In addition to fathering Robin Thicke and making several divorce lawyers happy (“One of my wives was a soap star”), Mr. Thicke:

– Served as a writer for Norman Lear’s semi-legendary spoof of talk shows, Fernwood 2 Night (which was supposed to be completely improvised by its stars, Fred Willard and Martin Mull; but as he explains, pure improv doesn’t work on TV — and no, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” isn’t pure improv)

– Wrote the theme songs for “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life” (allowing him to, quite rightly, lament the disappearance of cool theme songs with lyrics)

– Hosted a late-night talk show that tried to take on Carson

– Starred in a hit network sitcom and managed to avoid throttling Kirk Cameron for seven years

– Spoofed himself on more shows than you can name, including “How I Met Your Mother,” which uses him as its resident Canadian Celebrity

And more. Read the whole thing. Unfortunately he does not talk about the most important question: why The Facts of Life theme song was so heavily revised, musically and lyrically, after the first season. Which version is closer to his original, ideal vision? Now we’ll never know.

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One of History’s Most Important Canadians, Alan Thicke

  1. I never exactly thought about it that way, but the business about not throttling Kirk Cameron? How is it that Alan Thicke has not been sainted? Well, besides his not being dead.
    I always liked the original Facts of Life theme better. The change seemed kind of weird, but I figured it was just something that grownups did, for their inscrutable grownup reasons.

  2. I'm glad to learn that Alan Thicke is one of the most important Canadians. It seems that I was quite uneducated until today…

  3. Alan Thicke wrote Diff'rent Strokes AND The Facts of Life theme? <spoooo>
    Mind blown. You do it again, Jaime Weinman. Damn your eyes.

  4. He’s not dead. Why don’t you ask him?

  5. Alan's powers are indeed mysterious. Consider his Hollywood Gateways. Through Growing Pains, Thicke helped launch the careers of Brad Pitt (love interest for Carol), Leonardo de Caprio, Matthew Perry, Hillary Swank, Heather Graham, Brian Austin Green, Hank Azaria, and Kristy Swanson.
    But as Thicke givest, Thicke takest away. His Pictionary was the elephant graveyard for Hollywood careers, sending off Erik Estrada, Dionne Warwick, Soupy Sales, Corbin Bersen, Sally Struthers, Young MC, and… Brian Austin Green, who thus completed the Alan Thicke Sandwich.
    (I stole this from an article I read years ago).

  6. Never mind all that now! Jaime- the Hawk is in the Hall!

    • Let's not forget The Rene Simard Show featuring the Renettes, CBC, Vancouver – before VHS could be used to record. It would be fun to see some of those episodes.(late 70s)

  7. correction. Never know about this. Thanks very informative.

  8. i never knew he did so much in his career

  9. If Allan Thicke is one of the most important Canadians, we are indeed a very dull people. Maybe the Yanks are right about us after all.

  10. Alan Thicke's greatest accomplishment is, without a doubt, his role on Growing Pains. It solidified him as a star forever.

  11. If thicke is the best we Canadians are thick in the head

  12. We need someone to save us

  13. Where does Alan Thicke rank compared to Alex Trebek?

  14. In spite of your tongue in cheek swipe at Cameron, he has proven a model citizen. He initially graduated with high honors, has a nice resume with multiple nominations and award wins, and has astoundingly (for Hollywood) been married to the same lady since 1991. They now have six children, four of whom were adopted. After being an athiest, he converted to Christianity at 17 or 18, and Cameron currently partners with fellow evangelist Ray Comfort, training Christians in evangelism. Together, they founded the ministry of The Way of the Master, which is best known for the television show of the same name that Cameron co-hosts, and which won the National Religious Broadcasters' Best Program Award for two consecutive years. He busies himself trying to make a difference with Christian ministries. (thanks, wiki.) Back to Thicke, though…I believe he would have been the absolute top of the media heap had he grown up in L.A. He's a doer with a self-deprecating sense of humour (sp. with a Canadian u), and is underappreciated. It was nice to see this Canadian tip of the hat to Alan. The man has worked his butt off; and I've always liked his work.

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