Loving brother fondly remembers Alan Thicke
Alan Thicke's last project The Clapper, in which he plays an infomercial host, wrapped a few months before he passed away suddenly while playing hockey in Burbank, California, on Dec. 13, 2016. The Canadian icon is seen here enjoying a day of golf with his younger brother Todd Thicke. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)
When iconic Canadian actor Alan Thicke died unexpectedly four months ago, Todd Thicke lost more than a big brother. He lost his best friend.
“We were incredibly close,” Todd told the Toronto Sun recently from his home in Los Angeles. “We worked together for so many years, writing sitcoms and hundreds of songs (among other projects).
“So there’s still an emptiness and some hurt,” he said, getting choked up while explaining he spoke to his brother “virtually every day.”
After a brief pause, Todd’s sadness turns to laughter as he breaks into his best Alan Thicke impression.
“He would call me and say, ‘Toooodd, we’ve gotta find something to work on together,’” he said, mimicking his brother’s booming voice.
Todd was in Toronto “developing projects” when he received the heartbreaking news that his sibling collapsed from a ruptured aorta while playing hockey with one of his three sons, Carter, 19, at a rink in Burbank on Dec. 13, 2016.
“We spoke that morning,” Todd said, recalling Alan, 69, was excited to hit the ice for the weekly pick-up game.
“So his death came from out of nowhere,” he said. “It was so shocking and sudden.”
Alan — who was born in Kirkland Lake — often returned to Canada to visit his parents and younger sister in Brampton.
His career included composing the theme songs for TV shows such as Different Strokes and The Facts of Life, as well as an assortment of game shows, and stints as a talk show host.
But Alan is most notably known for his role as psychiatrist Jason Seaver on the sitcom Growing Pains, which ran from 1985-92.
During that same time, Todd’s career in show business also took off.
He wrote the pilot for the successful America’s Funniest Home Videos, which first aired in 1989, and he is currently an executive producer of the long-running show that has been a staple in homes across North America for decades.
But as hard as Todd works, he said keeping pace with his brother was next to impossible.
“Alan had this endless energy,” he said. “He packed more in a day than most people did in a week.”
While the loss of his brother has been painful, Todd said the outpouring of love he’s received from fans, especially north of the border, has been comforting.
"Everybody has got an Alan Thicke story and I’m delighted to hear all of them," he said. "It’s like getting a big hug from all of Canada.”