The legendary television icon, best known for his role as patriarch Dr. Jason Seaver on the ‘80s sitcom Growing Pains, died Tuesday at age 69 after suffering a heart attack while playing hockey with his 19-year-old son, Carter.
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Among Thicke’s most recent roles was a memorable cameo on the first episode of NBC’s This Is Us. In the pilot, he portrayed a version of himself where played the estranged dad of the Manny, a.k.a. Kevin Pearson (Justin Hartley), on the show’s fictional sitcom, The Man-ny.
"I was so saddened to hear about the passing of Alan Thicke. It feels like just yesterday he joined us on the pilot of This Is Us,” creator and executive producer Dan Fogelman said in a statement to ET. “He was an absolute joy to work with and hang out with, both on and off camera.”
Hartley took to Twitter late Tuesday evening to pay tribute to Thicke, sharing a photo of the two on set during production on the pilot.
"When you meet one of your idols and they are even nicer and cooler than you hoped they would be," the actor wrote. "That was Alan Thicke."
"I grew up watching and loving Alan Thicke on television and was lucky enough to get to work with him recently," he added via Instagram. "We became friends. What a great talent and a wonderful spirit. He will be missed by all of us. Rest in peace."
This Is Us star Chrissy Metz also remembered Thicke and offered her condolences to his family. “Sending my love and condolences to the entire Thicke,” Metz wrote. “May your transition be full of light and peace.”
Sterling K. Brown also took a moment to honor Thicke, writing to a fan who sent their condolences to several cast members on Twitter, agreeing that his passing was "way too soon."
Though Thicke’s time on This Is Us was brief, his role was significant.
During one of the pilot’s most memorable scenes, Hartley’s Kevin went off-script, doing a dramatic version of a scene from The Man-ny opposite Thicke, whose ubiquitous presence added weight to the moment. After receiving applause from the live audience, Thicke congratulated him on a job well done, half-joking that Kevin’s performance would catapult him into awards glory.
Only, it wasn’t in the cards for Kevin, whose desperate longing to accomplish more with his acting career was undermined by a producer who only wanted him to stay in The Man-ny’s broad comedy box.
After an on-set meltdown that went viral on the Internet, Kevin quit the show and had one final exchange with Thicke as he exited the set. “Great working with you man. I’m a huge fan,” he said, before Thicke replied, unamused: “That was a lot of fun…”