Kirk Cameron Remembers ‘Growing Pains’ Father Alan Thicke: ‘We Were a Family’

Kirk Cameron reminisced about his friendship with the late Alan Thicke, who played his TV dad on Growing Pains for seven seasons, during an interview with Today.com Thursday, December 15. 

The 46-year-old actor (who played Mike Seaver on the sitcom) first met Thicke (Dr. Jason Seaver) when he was 14. "I … remember thinking, 'Wow, this famous Canadian talk-show-host-guy sounds different when he says words like, 'about' and 'aye,' but he's really nice and funny, and seems like he's going to be a really cool dad," Cameron said of his first impression of Thicke, who passed away at age 69 Tuesday, December 13.

Cameron spent most of his teenage years on set from 1985 to 1992. "We were a family," he told Today.com. "We laughed and cried together, shared birthday celebrations, Christmas parties, holidays and worked together with the crew as a team to make a really special TV show. We weren't just a TV family. In many ways, we were a real family.”

Alan Thicke Joanna Kerns Kirk Cameron
'Growing Pains' costars Alan Thicke, Joanna Kerns and Kirk Cameron in 1990. ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

The Golden Globe nominee explained that Thicke was a father figure to him. "Alan was … a seasoned dad through and through,” he continued. "He was always available on set and off to talk with me, to listen and understand, to give advice, calm my teenage nerves and even share my excitement when something great happened … just like a good dad.”

Even years after the series wrapped, Cameron said they kept in contact. Thicke even organized the Growing Pains reunions. "In an ever-changing world, my friendship with Alan was always a constant," Cameron said. "Meeting up with Alan, even after years had passed since we'd seen each other — we'd just pick up the conversation where we'd left off.

Cameron previously paid tribute to the late actor on Instagram Wednesday. Thicke suffered a heart attack while playing hockey with his 19-year-old son, Carter, TMZ reported. He was “coherent” after collapsing at the ice rink, but he passed away soon after at Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California. Thicke is survived by his wife, Tanya, his sons, singer Robin Thicke, Brennan and Carter, and two grandsons. 

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