What Happened During Alan Thicke’s Memorial Service?

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Alan Thicke was known by most of America as “America’s Dad” for his role as funny, warm, and beloved father Dr. Jason Seaver on the popular 1980s sitcom “Growing Pains.” Though he starred in numerous other shows, it was his time on “Growing Pains” that made him a family favorite and a common name in American households.

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Thanks to his popularity and beloved status, an overwhelming number of people probably would have shown up at the Alan Thicke memorial service. To keep the event on the private side for his grieving family, however, his son organized a beautiful event that honored America’s father figure with his closest family and friends.

Alan Thicke’s Memorial Service

Alan’s Thicke’s death on December 13, 2016, sent shockwaves through both America and Canada — both countries where Thicke made significant contributions. Friends, family, and fans all found themselves grieving over a celebrity death that was entirely unexpected. 

Robin Thicke, Alan’s eldest son, arranged the memorial service, including transportation and places to stay for all out-of-town family and close friends. Though the reason for the memorial was understandably difficult for those in attendance, the memorial itself was an upbeat occasion with speeches, jokes, and memories to honor one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors.

Location and Date

Just two days after Thicke passed away, on December 18, 2016, friends and family came together at his home in Carpinteria, California, to pay tribute. The house hosted around 300 people who came from all around the country and flew in for the occasion.

Eulogies and Speakers

Of those who attended the memorial, many were asked to speak and share memories of their lives and career with the late actor. Though heartfelt and sometimes heartbreaking, the memorial felt like a celebration of life and more upbeat instead of a solemn event.

Robin Thicke

Robin Thicke emceed the entire event. He spoke sporadically throughout the event and, at one point, took the opportunity to give a comedic impression of his late father.

He said jokingly, “I’m Alan Thicke and this is exactly the way I want to go out… I’d like to thank all of my ex-wives for coming.” Robin Thicke’s mom, Gloria Loring, Alan’s second wife, Gina Tolleson, and his widow, Tanya Callau, were all present.

After Robin spoke about his dad, the star-studded group of attendees was given an open floor to share their own memories about Thicke. Many took the opportunity to give speeches in loving memory of a much-loved friend.

Bob Saget

Bob Saget gave a 10-minute long comedy sketch about Thicke being a ladies’ man.

Bill Maher

When Bill Maher spoke, he unbuttoned his tux to reveal a “Thicke of the Night” t-shirt gifted to him by the late actor.

Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek gave a moving speech about his friendship with Thicke, which started back in Toronto, Canada. Trebek got his big break in Hollywood thanks to Thicke and said that he never would have landed the role on “Jeopardy!” if it hadn’t been for Thicke’s support of his career.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Though well-known now, Thicke pushed to get Leonardo DiCaprio hired for the final season of “Growing Pains.” At the time, DiCaprio was just trying to get into the Hollywood scene. During his speech, DiCaprio recalled how Thicke stated, “This kid is going to be a huge star.” He shared how much like a father Thicke was to him and the entire cast.

Attendees

It’s estimated that around 300 guests were present for the memorial. Some of the most notable attendees included:

“Growing Pains” Cast

The entire cast of the 1980s TV show “Growing Pains” was present, including Joanna Kerns, Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold, Jeremy Miller, and Leonardo DiCaprio, who joined the cast for the final season. 

Hollywood’s Favorites

Many of Hollywood's favorites were in attendance, including:

  • Kris Jenner: Mom of the famous Kardashian women, Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe.
  • Bob Saget: American comedian known for “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
  • Rob Lowe: American actor best known for roles in “The West Wing,” “Brothers and Sisters,” and “Parks and Recreation.”
  • Alex Trebek: Longtime and beloved host of the nightly game show “Jeopardy!”
  • Bill Maher: American political commentator, comedian, and TV show host known best for “Real Time with Bill Maher”
  • O’Neal McKnight: American actor who has starred in numerous movies.

Social media tributes

Many fans were comforted and joined in mourning with the outpouring of social media messages from those who knew Thicke best. Here are several social media tributes written shortly after the announcement of Alan’s death.

Bob Saget

Bob Saget, known for hosting “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” said, “So sad is the passing of Alan Thicke. Such a good husband, father, brother, and friend. He will be deeply missed. Rest in peace, dear Alan.”

John Stamos

John Stamos, recognized most widely for his role on the TV series “Full House,” wrote, “Loved this guy. Loved his self-deprecating sense of humor. Charming, funny, and sweet.”

Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also chimed in and offered his condolences for the beloved actor by saying, “Alan Thicke was proudly Canadian, never forgetting his roots as he soared to stardom. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

Candace Cameron Bure

Candace Cameron Bure, who starred with Thicke on “Growing Pains,” wrote, “I’m sad beyond words that Alan Thicke has passed away. I’ve known you since I was eight years old and so glad I had the pleasure of working with you again so recently on “Fuller House.” You were a part of my family and hockey family. You will be greatly missed. My heart hurts.”

Dolly Thicke

After the event was over, Dolly Thicke, married to Alan’s middle son, Brennan Thicke, spoke of the memorial in glowing terms. She wrote, “Tonight’s memorial for Alan was just about perfect. “So much family and so many historic friends came out to remember our beloved father figure.”

Todd Thicke

Todd, Alan’s brother, said of his late sibling, “He was so much fun as a big brother. As we got older, we did everything together. He really was my mentor. It’s been difficult for all of us. I really think, more than any family I’ve ever seen, we take strength from each other. We’re closer than ever. I think this has made our bond even stronger.”

Gloria Loring

Alan’s first wife and mother of Robin and Brennan, said in an interview, “It’s deep and it’s a profoundly sad wound to our family. Anytime you lose one of the major father-mother figures in a family, it’s very hard. And Alan was definitely a big presence in our family. If he entered the room, the party started. He just had a great sense of humor and a wonderful energy. We all loved him.”

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Alan Thicke’s Burial and Resting Place

Alan Thicke was laid to rest on December 19, 2016, with only close family and friends accompanying the elegant black casket to the graveside in Santa Barbara. Robin Thicke, his eldest son, was one of the pallbearers.

Cemetery location

Friends, family, and fans of the late actor can find his grave marker located at Santa Barbara Cemetery in Santa Barbara, California. Unlike some gravesites, Thicke’s is one of the many famous graves you can visit. The gravesite is adorned only with a traditional marker and anyone can visit to pay their respects during regular opening hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Grave details

Though the gravesite had no marker for months, the family eventually decided on the stone, and in August of 2017, it was placed on Alan’s gravesite.

The white headstone stands out and is easily recognizable against the many black headstones that surround it. It can also be identified quickly by the red Canadian maple leaf that adorns the top.

The rest of the stone is simple and to the point. Under “Alan Willis Thicke,” it says:

Proud Canadian

March 1, 1947 – December 13, 2016

Adored by his wife, loved by his sons, family and friends.

Forever missed...

Though many headstone sayings could have been chosen, the final wording on Alan’s grave marker says exactly what he would have wanted.

A Beloved Actor, Father, and Friend

Alan Thicke was beloved by family members, friends, and fans from around the world. Though his death left a hole in the world, his memory lives on in the lives of those he loved, mentored, and inspired.


Sources:
  1. Ishkanian, Jill. “Alan Thicke’s Headstone Revealed for the First Time.” News, Daily Mail UK, 24 August 2017. dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4821442/Alan-Thicke-s-headstone-revealed-time.html
  2. “Alan Thicke Obituary.” News Obituaries, Legacy, 14 December 2016. legacy.com/news/celebrity-deaths/alan-thicke-1947-2016/
  3. French, Megan. “Alan Thick Remembered at Star-Studded Memorial Service.” In Memoriam, US Magazine, 19 December 2016. usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/alan-thicke-remembered-at-star-studded-memorial-service-w456719/
  4. Beard, Lanford; Gomez, Patrick; Dugan, Christina. “Leonardo DiCaprio, Robin Thicke and More Honor Alan Thicke at Touching Memorial.” Celebrity, People, 19 December 2016. people.com/celebrity/alan-thicke-memorial-leonardo-dicaprio-robin-thicke-kirk-cameron-growing-pains-star-friends-family/
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