All About Robin Thicke’s Dad, Late Actor Alan Thicke

After actor Alan Thicke died suddenly in 2016, singer Robin Thicke lost one of his biggest supporters — but he never stopped feeling his dad’s influence.

“Every time I speak to my son Julian, I feel him because I’m saying the same things he told me,” he told PEOPLE in 2021. “When I was young, I wanted to be a rebel because my dad was Mr. Good Guy. Now I just want to be as much like him as possible. In the end, all the advice he gave me was correct.”

Robin was born to actors Alan and Gloria Loring, their second son after their eldest, Brennan. The two later divorced when Robin was young, but their musical influence had already piqued the young boy’s interest, and he decided to follow his parents into the entertainment industry.

Alan supported his son and even brought him on the Growing Pains set in 1991. When the then-13-year-old shared his hopes of a career with Entertainment Tonight during the visit, the actor highly praised Robin.

“I think that we have to feel flattered that are children want to follow in our footsteps as long as we don’t push them that way,” Alan said. “Turns out that he has a natural musical gift. He’s good at it.”

Here’s everything to know about Robin Thicke’s dad, late actor Alan Thicke.

He was a proud Canadian

Alan Thicke and son Robin Thicke attending “ABC TV Convention” on June 14, 1990.

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty

Alan was born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada, on March 1, 1947, to mom Shirley “Joan” Isobel Marie Thicke and dad William Jeffrey Thicke.

The Hope & Gloria star was a proud Canadian and always championed other artists from his homeland, as Robin recalled in a 2015 story with Prestige Hong Kong.

“Any time a Canadian accomplishes anything or just pops up on the TV, he’s like ‘Steve Nash MVP – a Canadian!’ ” Robin said.

When he received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto in 2013, he said he was proud to be a Canadian entertainer and hoped “part of that will be what I’m remembered for,” according to CBC News.

“It’s part of my identity, and a unique thing I carry with me is my Canadian-ness and we’re good folk,” he added.

He was known for Growing Pains and composing TV theme songs

Alan Thicke as Jason in ‘Growing Pains’.

ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content/Getty

Alan became a household name while starring in the sitcom Growing Pains from 1985 to 1992.

He played patriarch Dr. Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist who worked out of an office at the family home, alongside his fellow cast members Joanna Kerns, Kirk Cameron, Jeremy Miller and a young Leonardo DiCaprio in the show’s last season.

He was also a musician and composed TV theme songs with his first wife, Loring, including the iconic opening songs for Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life and the original theme to Wheel of Fortune.

He had three sons

Alan Thicke and sons Brennan Thicke and Robin Thicke are photographed on January 15, 1986 at Bistro Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California.

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty

During his 14-year-long marriage to Days of Our Lives actress and singer Loring, Alan became a dad for the first time when their son Brennan was born on March 10, 1974. A few years later, the couple welcomed Robin on March 10, 1977.

After Alan and Loring divorced in 1984, the actor married Gina Tolleson, a model and beauty queen who won Miss World, in 1994. Alan and Gina celebrated the arrival of their son Carter on July 10, 1997.

The late actor was a supportive dad to his kids, even if he wasn’t always a disciplinarian.

“My kids will all tell you that I was way too liberal, too indulging, too casual with them,” Alan told the Toronto Star in 2014.

The actor explained that his parenting style was more “casual,” not because he “didn’t care.” Alan continued, “Casual in that you always want to kind of trust them and hope that they’re smarter than teenagers really are.”

He died while playing hockey with his youngest son

On Dec. 13, 2016, Alan was playing hockey with his son then-19-year-old son Carter when he complained of chest pains and an ambulance was dispatched to care for him.

Shortly after arriving at the hospital, Alan died at the age of 69 of a “ruptured aorta” and a “standard type A aortic dissection,” according to his official death certificate obtained by PEOPLE.

Carter later recalled the events leading up to his father’s death and the last words that were said.

“The ambulance came and the paramedics had stabilized him and everything seemed fine,” he told Entertainment Tonight in 2017. “I got to give him a hug and said, ‘I love you,’ and that was the last time I saw him.”

“He was like the perfect dad,” Carter added.

His death changed Robin’s life

Robin Thicke with his dad Alan Thicke attend The Bank nightclub at Bellagio Las Vegas on June 19, 2009.

Denise Truscello/WireImage

Years after his father’s death, Robin has opened up about the turmoil he felt at the time and how it changed his life for the better. The Masked Singer judge revealed that his son Julian helped him heal from the loss.

“I wasn’t in a good place when he passed, and I wasn’t in a better place right after,” he told PEOPLE in 2021. “However, a few months later, I decided to dedicate my time to raising my son, and that really was a big turn for me. Instead of focusing on my music, I focused on my son. That’s how I got through that period.”

Robin, who shares his eldest son with ex-wife Paula Patton and is now dad to three more kids with fiancée April Love Geary, also realized he needed to step up and be there for his younger brother.

“When my father passed, I became the patriarch of my family. My young 20-year-old brother, he needed a big brother, and it just felt like now I had to take it onto my shoulders to be a much better, more focused, man than I was before,” Robin explained in a 2019 interview with Steve Harvey.

Robin wrote a song for Alan after his death

Robin Thicke performs onstage during the 25th anniversary of UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation’s “Taste for a Cure” event on April 29, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

Rich Polk/Getty

The singer remembered Alan in a song on his 2021 album On Earth, and in Heaven. At the time, he told PEOPLE that the song “That’s What Love Can Do” is “about the passing of the torch of my father to me and the kind of man I want to be.”

The Grammy nominated artist said the song was inspired by a metaphor an old friend of Alan’s told Robin after his death.

“After my father’s death, I remember a friend of his said, ‘A big tree has fallen.’ That’s what my dad was: the big tree,” he said. “Now here I am, this medium-size tree, and I’ve got to grow my branches and protect everybody. Every day I try to make him proud of me.”

Robin often posts tributes to Alan on social media

Robin Thicke with his dad Alan Thicke.
Robin Thicke/Instagram

After Alan died in 2016, Robin began remembering his dad regularly on Instagram, often posting sweet throwback shots and celebrating him on important days.

“6 years ago today a big tree fell down. We miss your smile, your big hugs and hilarious punch lines! Love you Pops! Miss you every day! Long live Alan Thicke!” Robin wrote alongside an old headshot of Alan in a December 2022 Instagram post.

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