“The difference in most people’s good idea and a dollar is 99 cents. Larry’s ideas are invaluable. I should know, I had to pay him for them.”
– Alan Thicke
ALAN THICKE grew up in the rough-and-tumble gold mining town of Kirkland Lake, Ontario, in the far north of Canada. After attending the University of Western Ontario with the intention of becoming a minister or a doctor, Alan graduated with a degree in English and Psychology. He then began his show business career as an all-night disc jockey.
His career in television began behind the scenes as a writer for the Canadian Broadcasting Company. That experience soon led him to the U.S. where he wrote and/or produced TV specials for Bill Cosby, Flip Wilson, Richard Pryor, Bobby Darin, Kenny Rogers, Olivia Newton-John, Anne Murray and Barry Manilow, as well as the revolutionary comedies “Fernwood Tonight,” “America 2 Night” and the NBC movie “The Secret She Carried.”
Thicke has seven Emmy nominations (five as a writer, two as an actor). He produced the NBC game shows, “Celebrity Sweepstakes” and “Wizard of Odds” (for which he brought his friend Alex Trebek from Canada to host). He has written over 45 television theme songs including, “Facts of Life,” “Different Strokes” and “Wheel of Fortune.”
From 1980-1983, he hosted “The Alan Thicke Show,” a talk-variety series that remains the biggest hit in the history of Canadian daytime television. The success of that series spawned “Thicke of the Night,” a late night show which attempted to challenge Johnny Carson’s venerable “Tonight” show. It was a difficult year for Thicke who, as he puts it with characteristic wry humor, was “…divorced and canceled in the same day.”
In 1985, Thicke’s role as psychiatrist and father Jason Seaver on ABC-TV’s hit series “Growing Pains” propelled him into the international spotlight as one of television’s most beloved father figures. The series aired for seven years earning Alan numerous awards including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor.
Alan then turned 180 degrees to become Dennis Dupree, the hilariously pompous TV talk show host on the hit NBC series “Hope and Gloria.” Other starring roles include The Disney Channel’s “Not Quite Human” trilogy. Thicke has played dramatically against type in bad guy roles including “Obsessed,” “Shadow of the Bear,” “Any Place But Home” and the “ Windsor Protocol.” Other films include “Betrayal of the Dove” with Kelly LeBrock; “Rubdown” with Michelle Phillips; and “Calendar Girl Murders” with Sharon Stone.
One of the most sought-after hosts in the business, Thicke emceed the 1987 Emmy Awards, ABC’s “Disney Christmas Parade” and “Walt Disney World Easter Parade” (three years), ABC’s “Fall Preview Special” (two years), ABC’s “Animal Crack-Ups” (three years), the “Miss Universe,” “Miss World USA” and “Miss USA” pageants, Showtime’s “Comedy All-Stars,” “Olympics Kick-Off Gala,” “TV’s Funniest Families” (I & II), NBC’s “World’s Greatest Magic” and the Emmy-nominated “Pictionary.”
Thicke’s early training in the musical theater (in a group that included Lorne Michaels and Gilda Radner) paid off in 1997 when he co-starred with Jason Alexander to rave reviews as the philandering Sheldrake in the LA “Reprise” production of “Promises, Promises” (Neil Simon/Burt Bacharach). Following that stage success he made his Broadway debut in 1998 starring as Billy Flynn in the Tony Award-winning musical “Chicago.”
Thicke also tours with a concert and club act which music and stand-up comedy. This performance is booked around the country, including annual stints at the main showrooms in Las Vegas and Atlantic City . Thicke clearly relishes variety and makes room in his schedule each year for corporate and collegiate speaking engagements.
Recently, Thicke returned to writing when he penned several sitcom pilot scripts for Castle Rock, Warner Brothers and other studios. He’s also written a television movie, “When Love Grows Old,” for the Family Channel, a feature film, “The Noon Hour” for Steve Tisch Productions and the comedy “Beauty Queens Must Die” for Allegra Films. He wrote a nationally syndicated humor column for The Toronto Sun chain in Canada and the book How Men Have Babies: The Pregnant Father’s Survival Guide.
Thicke is proud to have been named “Father of the Year” by organizations including The Father’s Day Council of Los Angeles, The Muscular Dystrophy Association and The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
His proudest role remains father to his three sons: Brennan, Robin, and Carter.
EXCLUSIVE FOR PROJECT RISE & SHINE™
Q & A with Alan Thicke:
PR & S: What is one of your favorite mottos to live by?
Thicke: The difference between a good idea and a dollar is 99 cents.
PR & S: When did you know exactly what you wanted to achieve?
Thicke: Last Thursday. (It’s always evolving.)
PR & S: Of the Four Essential and Attainable Elements for fulfillment and success – TALENT, RAGE, TEAM and LUCK – in what order would you rank your possession of them?
Thicke: They are all equal!
PR & S: Who are/were 3 of your greatest support team members?
Thicke:Mom – Dad – Kids.
PR & S: What was the luckiest moment in your career?
Thicke: "Growing Pains" audition with Joanna Kerns – good chemistry.
PR & S: What did you have to sacrifice to achieve your goal?
PR & S: What would you most like to be remembered for?
PR & S: How do you give back to your community and the world?
PR & S: How are you a source of inspiration for others?
Thicke: Turning modest skills into a cottage industry.
PR & S: What charitable organizations do you support?
Thicke: All kids health organizations.
EXCERPT FROM HIS UPCOMING BOOK, HOW TO RAISE KIDS WHO WON’T HATE YOU
There are times when the best advice a kid can get is to give up.
I was fortunate to have been mentored by caring adults whose wisdom and analysis led me from one key juncture to another in choosing a path in life. Mostly, I’ve had a career by default in which somebody was kind enough to tell me that I sucked at something and should switch direction. At 6 my piano teacher told my mother to save her money and get me a paper route where the skill level of my hands could be put to better use.
In the 9th grade my high school football coach advised that I was too small, too slow and too timid to make the squad, and perhaps I should consider another activity, like piano. In my senior year I tried infiltrating a local rock band and was told I might be good at something other than singing, like loading amplifiers onto a truck.
As a teenager, when I thought I was ready to lose my virginity – no, I KNEW I was ready to lose my virginity – my first fumbling attempt was greeted with mild laughter and the suggestion that, once again, my hands would be better suited to another hobby, although she didn’t stick around long enough to make a specific recommendation.
After a very active youth in the United Church of Canada I was contemplating entering the ministry as a career until my preacher suggested that God and I weren’t ready for each other on a full-time basis.
As a young adult who had achieved some success in regional hockey I was advised by no less an authority than Bobby Orr – yes, the one in Chapter 3 – to abandon my aspirations to try out for the World Hockey Association and stick with my recreational league because I was too small, too slow and too timid. He could have been a football coach.
In my 30s and fresh from the success of an afternoon talk show, I tried a late night program called “Thicke of the Night” and was informed by the entire population of the United States that I was not cut out for a challenge to Johnny Carson.
Respected critic Tom Shales mentioned in a humiliating national column that I seemed to be a nice fellow and should try a vocation more suited to my skills…like farming.
In show business I’ve been rejected for jobs I didn’t even want.
Talk about embarrassment.
Purchase Alan’s books here:
Learn to be a Star yourself by joining
the Good Luck Club™!