[guest post by JVW]
Alan Thicke, a talented entertainer who worked as a writer, actor, and theme song writer on a number of television shows, died earlier today at the age of 69. Born in Canada (but a resident of Los Angeles for decades) he suffered a heart attack while playing hockey with his youngest son and died at a hospital in Burbank.
It’s kind of weird that I would write a post about someone who really (and blessedly) has no connection to or apparently interest in politics, but I am struck by the reaction of people on Twitter and the outpouring of respect and admiration that he commanded among his peers. Alan Thicke appears to be one of those rare people in the public eye who was universally liked. His best-known role was as Dr. Jason Seaver, the patriarch of the Kirk Cameron 1980s sitcom, Growing Pains. He also was responsible for many of the best-known TV theme songs of the era, including the opening themes to Different Strokes, and The Facts of Life along with assorted game shows. From time to time he would tour with a nightclub act (I saw him perform at the Desert Inn during Christmas 1992 as the opening act for Melissa Manchester), and he had recently taken on a part-time guest starring role on the reboot of Full House.
While the outpouring of love and affection was touching, it’s only natural that in this day and age some nimrod had to ruin the moment by making it political. Some B-list washed up actress called Lisa Edelstein coughed up this tweet (embedded as a picture file in anticipation of her later deleting this):
Fortunately, Ms. Edelstein has come in for harsh criticism for hijacking the moment, even from Twitter users who otherwise agree with the sentiment. Expect a smarmy and insincere apology dictated by a minor league PR firm to follow.
Alan Thicke was talented, charming, philanthropic, and hard-working. Though his personal life was probably not spotless (three marriages and a romance with the actress Kristy Swanson that began when she was 17 and he was 39), he managed to avoid the police blotter and he didn’t deign to tell us Yanks how we ought to vote. He apparently made friends throughout his life, and he leaves behind many grieving fans and colleagues. May he receive as much joy in eternity as he brought to people temporally. Rest in peace.