Thicke may be best known for his role as Jason Seaver on the hit 1980s sitcom "Growing Pains," which aired on ABC from 1985 to 1992, but in a career spanning five decades he played various roles on and off screen, from actor to writer to composer to author.
"Growing Pains" launched the careers of Thicke and the actor who played his son, Kirk Cameron. As Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist who worked from home, he perfected the role of concerned and caring dad, always quick with advice and reassurance, often in the form of corny zingers.
As news of his death spread fans of a certain age mourned the loss of a father figure, recalling lyrics from show's theme song: "Don't waste another minute on your crying."
Thicke went on to appear in numerous television shows and films, often appearing as himself in shows, including "How I Met Your Mother." He recently appeared on Netflix's "Fuller House," a reboot of another 1980s sitcom, featuring Bob Saget and Kirk Cameron's real-life sister, Candace Cameron Bure. Some of the last tweets on Thicke's Twitter account referenced the show.
News of his death brought tributes from colleagues, including "Fuller House" co-star Bob Saget and producer Jeff Franklin.
"So sad is the passing of Alan Thicke. Such a good husband, father, brother, and friend. He will be deeply missed. Rest in peace dear Alan," Saget said on Twitter.
Thicke was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1947. He began his career in Canadian television before moving behind the scenes in American television.
In the 1970s he wrote for "Fernwood 2-Night," a short-lived satirical talk show that later became "America 2-Night," and "The Richard Pryor Show." He composed the theme songs for the game show "Wheel of Fortune" and sitcoms "Diff'rent Strokes" and "The Facts Of Life."
He helmed a Canadian talk show, "The Alan Thicke Show," in the early 1980s but he failed to replicate that success with American audiences on "Thicke of the Night."
Then, along came the most memorable role of his career.
The role was his saving grace after the failure of "Thicke of the Night," he told CNN's Larry King in 2006, when the cast reunited for a television special. If not for the role he may have been driving the Zamboni for the Los Angeles Kings hockey team that year, he said. (Even if he was joking, his love and loyalty for the sport of his homeland was well documented.)
"Loved it. Proud of it. Proud of what it stood for. I share the corny family values espoused on that show," he said in a 2010 interview with A.V. Club. "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.' "
"So if that's what goes on my tombstone, I'm perfectly comfortable with it."
He is survived by his sons Brennan, Carter and "Blurred Lines" singer Robin, as well as wife Tanya.