Alan Thicke Remembered by 'Fuller House' Creator Jeff Franklin: "Alan Was a Constant Source of Joy and Support" (Exclusive)
Thicke, who passed away at age 69 after suffering a heart attack on Dec. 13 in Burbank, is praised for his improv skills and his constant smile by his longtime friend.
In the spring of 1992, Full House creator Jeff Franklin was readying the pilot for his new ABC show, Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, when Warner Bros. executives approached him with a request — really more like a demand. In order to save cash, Franklin and crew were to shoot on the set of the Seaver home, the one made famous on the beloved and long-running TV show Growing Pains, starring Alan Thicke as Dr. Jason Seaver.
The set was suddenly available as Growing Pains had just been canceled after seven seasons, and Franklin was willing to make use of the home, but he had an idea for how to make it work.
"I felt the Seaver home was so recognizable I had to deal with it in the pilot, so I called my friend Alan to ask if Dr. Jason Seaver could come home and find Mr. Cooper [played by Mark Curry] sitting on his couch," Franklin recalled to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, less than one day after Thicke's untimely passing, the result of a heart attack. "Mark would tell Alan his show was canceled and ABC had given his house and his time slot to Hangin' With Mr. Cooper."
It was a wild idea, but one that Thicke welcomed with open arms and some ideas of his own.
"Alan not only said he'd do the bit, but improvised a hilarious scene where he made fun of both his canceled show and his instant unemployment, and said he was leaving to go host a crappy parade. That was Alan in a nutshell: Insanely funny, the first to poke fun at his own shortcomings, and always there for his friends and his family," said Franklin.
It's a touching tribute to Franklin's longtime friend, someone he has been close with for nearly four decades. In fact, when Franklin rebooted Full House as Fuller House for Netflix, he found another spot on set for Thicke. The veteran actor — survived by his wife, Tanya, and three sons, Brennan, Robin and Carter — played a grandfather and potential suitor for Candace Cameron Bure's D.J. Tanner, on season two of the hit show.
It was a role that Thicke clearly loved to play, reuniting with Franklin once again. His final tweet, posted Tuesday afternoon, read: "Season 2 Fuller House looking good. I even like the ones I’m not in! #fullerhouse @fullhouseguy @bobsaget @candacecbure #netflix."
"For 35 years, Alan was a constant source of joy and support. He was pure class, full of love and generosity, and always had a smile for everyone," Franklin told THR. "Alan, thank you for your true blue friendship. You inspired me with your brilliant work and the way you always made the best of all the crappy parades in between."
Following Thicke's death, Franklin took to Instagram to share the below photos.