DiCaprio and the Growing Pains cast in 1992. Leonardo DiCaprio with Growing Pains stars Alan Thicke and Kirk Cameron.
Leonardo DiCaprio has paid tribute to his former Growing Pains TV foster dad Alan Thicke, with a touching message describing the late actor as his “friend and role model”.
Thicke, who became a household name as lovable psychiastrist Dr Jason Seaver on the hit sitcom, passed away on Wednesday, aged 69, after suffering a heart attack during a game of ice hockey with his son.
“I will be forever grateful for the opportunity I had to work with Alan early in my career,” DiCaprio wrote on Facebook.
“He knew how to harness the power of the entertainment industry to be a positive influence in so many lives – including mine.”
DiCaprio, now 42, got his career breakthrough on the series at 17, playing Luke Brower, a homeless delinquent who was taken in by the Seaver family, from 1991-92.
“He had tremendous class, a huge heart, and he taught me and so many others the valuable lessons about humility and gratitude,” DiCaprio wrote.
“I’ve seen him a number of times over the years and when Alan Thicke walked in the room, quite frankly, no one was cooler. I miss him already.”
DiCaprio wasn’t the only Growing Pains star who shared their personal memories of Thicke.
Kirk Cameron, the actor-turned-evangelist who played Thicke’s son Mike Seaver on the show, offered a heartfelt message on Instagram.
“I spent Monday through Friday for seven important years with Alan Thicke as my ‘TV dad’. I’m shocked and truly heartbroken at the news of his death,” he wrote.
“Alan was a generous, kind and loving man. I am so blessed to have grown up with him.
“We will cherish the memories… ‘sharing the laughter and love’,” he added, borrowing a line from the show’s memorable theme song.
Tracey Gold, who publicly battled anorexia for much of the series run while playing Carol Seaver, Thicke’s on-screen daughter, also revealed her shock in a statement to E! News, saying she’s “not ready to say goodbye”.
“In 1985, the Seavers became a family and Alan was our patriarch,” she wrote.
“He was incredibly proud that our Growing Pains days were about family, all our families… Our Growing Pains family is hurting today.”
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