Alan Thicke W
Courtesy of Western University's Instagram

Renowned Canadian actor, songwriter and TV show host Alan Thicke died Tuesday while he was playing hockey with his 19-year old son. 

He's perhaps best known from his work on Growing Pains as one of the most beloved TV dads, psychiatrist Jason Seaver.  

Thicke was born in Northern Ontario and spent most of his early life there until he came to Western at age 16 — he had skipped grades four and six. While at Western, he joined the Delta Upsilon fraternity and worked at The Gazette as a sports writer. 

We managed to find some of his work from 1966 when he covered football. He hit the road to Kingston to cover their Homecoming and witness Western get absolutely clobbered 33-0. You'll also noticed that his name changes from Alan Thicke to just simply Al Thicke. 

Speaking to The Gazette in 2013, Thicke offered up some advice for Western students.

"Take this time to make sure that what you’re positioning yourself for in life, as a career, forever, makes sense for you and is truly your passion," he said.

"And if it happens to be the logical progression of your academics, even better. But if there’s some other dream, you don’t want to leave those stones unturned."

Thicke's dream was show business and after he left Western, he spent the 1970s composing television theme songs for game shows, starred in a few TV movies and produced a number of television specials. By the end of that decade, he transitioned from his mostly-American work back to Canada.

The Alan Thicke Show, a daytime talk show on CTV that aired from 1980-83, was wildly popular. He made the leap to American late-night TV with Thicke of the Night, hoping to take on Johnny Carson's juggernaut Tonight Show. That effort was widely planned and was cancelled after only one season.

Thicke rebounded quickly with his lead role on Growing Pains from 1985-92. After his work on that sitcom, he hosted a variety of shows and made appearances in various films and TV shows. Throughout it all, he never lost touch with his Canadian identity.

In an interview with the Western Alumni Gazette in 2011, he explained that his nationality made him standout in Hollywood. 

“My Canadianess has always been somewhat unique and special,” he said. “I like that. And Western is part of that.”

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Bradley is the digital managing editor for Volume 110 of the Gazette. This is his fourth year on the editorial board, previously working in Opinions, Sports, and Culture. He's a recent graduate with a degree in Canadian-American relations.

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