Alan Thicke became the much-lampooned comic template of bland while playing the father on the 1980s family sitcom "Growing Pains" (1985-1992), even as, with much less fanfare, he achieved unqualified Renaissance Man status in American and Canadian television. A household name in his native Canada, Thicke gained a foothold in the U.S. as a comedy writer, cutting his teeth in Hollywood writing for and producing such influential, if short-lived, fare as "Fernwood 2-Night" (syndicated, 1977) and "The Richard Pryor Show" (NBC, 1977), producing pop music TV specials, as well as composing, along with then wife Gloria Loring, a raft of series theme songs, notably that of the NBC sitcoms "Diff'rent Strokes" (1978-1986) and "The Facts of Life" (1979-1988). He returned to Canada to helm a popular, eponymous daytime talk show, though his first U.S. shot at stardom in front of the camera, the syndicated late-night talker "Thicke of the Night" (1983-84), proved a notorious bomb. Yet it also provided a springboard to what would become his signature role in American pop culture, Jason Seaver, head of the Seaver family, on "Growing Pains," leading to a journeyman career as a supporting actor in both TV and film. Though most widely remembered as the cheerleading head of a treacle-laden household, Thicke nevertheless could claim one of the most eclectic résumés in show business.