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Growing Pains aired from September 1985 until August 1992 on ABC.

If Father Knows Best had been revived in the 1980's, it would have been called Growing Pains. As amiable and wise as Jim Anderson had been , Jason Seaver( Alan Thicke) was more so-and a little hipper to boot.This father was a psychiatrist ( who better to deal with teenage traumas?)who had moved his office into his suburban New York home when his wife Maggie ( Joanna Kerns) went back to work in order to keep an eye on the kids. The young Seavers were Mike ( Kirk Cameron), a teenager who was more interested in having a good time than in responsibility( " a hormone with feet," his mother called him); shy Carol( Tracey Gold), his brainy sister and their cute little brother Ben ( Jeremy Miller), who had no problem finding trouble of his own. Dad was always around for sage advice while mom, Maggie, a reporter for the "Long Island Herald" (and later a TV reporter known as "Maggie Malone"), rushed off to work. Mike and Carol attended Thomas E. Dewey High School.

The characters evolved as years went by. In 1988, Maggie had another child, Chrissy, which didn't stop her from resuming her career. Baby Chrissy ( played by twins Kristen and Kelsey Dohring) grew remarkably fast, turning six only two years later ( she was then played by Ashley Johnson).Meanwhile, Mike graduated high school and enrolled in a local college, while working odd jobs. His parade of girlfriends was truly awesome, the most notable being Julie ( Julie McCullough), Chrissy's nanny, whom he almost married but she dumped him at the altar and later on, Kate( Chelsea Noble) Boner and Eddie ( Josh Andrew Koenig, K.C. Martel) were his best friends. In later seasons Mike dabbled in acting and taught remedial education - for credit - at an inner city school where homeless Luke( played by future movie superstar Leonardo DiCaprio) was his star student. Luke moved in with the Seavers, while Mike now had his own place - over the family garage.

Studious Carol had a tougher time on the dating scene, but soared academically. Following graduation she worked for several months and then entered Columbia University. Little brother Ben seemed to develop into a junior version of Mike, with mostly girls on his mind. Other kin included: Irma ( Jane Powell), Jason's vivacious, widowed mom and her new husband Wally( Robert Rockwell) and Maggie's parents Ed and Kate Malone( Gordon Jump, Betty McGuire).

In addition to the safe little stories of first dates first jobs and fun around the house, Growing Pains periodically tackled more serious issues than Father Knows Best ever imagined including drunk driving ( in an episode with guest star Matthew Perry) , teen suicide, racism, and peer pressure on Mike to use cocaine.As in the earlier series, however, a wise dad and mom saw their basically decent kids through it all. In the final original episode, Maggie was offered a chance-of-a-lifetime job as media relations director for a senator in Washington, so the family moved there - without Mike, who had become an actor and Carol, who was in college. The following fall the Seaver house was occupied by none other than Hangin' With Mr. Cooper.

Fourteen-year old Kirk Cameron, formerly unnoticed as a regular on Two Marriages, became something of a teenage heartthrob on this hit series receiving 10,000 letters a month. " I'm still nervous and shy when I meet girls," he told a reporter. " The only thing that's changed is that I've gotten the chance to meet more girls because they introduce themselves to me."

In 1991, over his shyness, he married actress Chelsea Noble, who played Kate.

A Review From USA TODAY :rolleyes:

Published:September 24, 1985

It's painful to watch 'pains'

Plastic people who live in plastic houses shouldn't throw bad lines.

" C'mon, you can't hit me." says one of these Pain-ful urchins, a pale Michael J. Fox copy, to his dad. " You're supposed to be a liberal humanist."

The kid is giving lip to Alan Thicke, who's trying for something of a comeback in this new sitcom. Thicke plays a doting daddy who's attempting to hold together a fractious family while wifey goes off to work as a newspaper reporter.

He's a shrink who sets up his practice at home so that he can watch over his three charges, all of whom need his personal attention-not to mention his professional services.

These family shows-following in the tradition of Family Ties and The Cosby Show-are getting out of hand.

They're going overboard on the domestic blissful stereotypes. Growing Pains features a married couple so devoted, smoochy and sex-crazed that you wish they'd each catch a nasty case of the seven-year itch.

Even the kids follow the shenanigans: " Getting enough Dad?" wonders the Michael J. Fox copy.

And the kids-oops, these kids-are so obnoxious as to warrent foster care.

Sure as on Ties and Cosby, the children have a certain license to be amusingly out of control.

But when there's utter anarchy, it doesn't seem so funny anymore. Suddenly, the doting parents look like idiots for putting up with such bothersome brats.

Thicke, former talk show host, never comes alive. And the happily beleagured father he plays just doesn't have a whole lot going for him. The guy is wimpy and jerky.

As his wife, Joanna Kerns is fresher. But she, too, is burdened with the benign neglect that comes when you play a parent to kids who really run the household.

Growing Pains falls far from the mark. If we're demanding anything from these family shows, it's a reality, a genial common touch. Pains is out of touch.

Why do parents have to be so spineless? Why are kids so devilishly dominating? Growing Pains provides none of the answers. Not even a laugh.

An Article from USA TODAY
Published on October 22, 1985


Alan Thicke makes a recovery with 'Pains'

BURBANK, Calif.-The apparent success of Growing Pains-the only new show to make it into the nielsen top 20 may be the best news Alan Thicke has had lately.

The man who starred in the syndicated late-night talk show Thicke of the Night, perhaps the most notorious failure in television history, got canceled and divorced simultaneously.

Ever since ,Thicke has been skulking around Hollywood, embarrassed by the failure, angry about the media's treatment of the show, sharing custody of his two boys with ex-wife Gloria Loring, and trying to rekindle his successful career as a writer and producer. And trying to stay out of sight.

" I'm just sensitive to a lot of the press I got when Thicke of the Night was canceled in September 1984," says Thicke. " I just didn't want to expose myself to that cynicism and hypocrisy...

" I'm a little burnt."

While trying to sell his television ideas around town, he says, producers began saying they had projects they thought he'd be good in. ABC cozied up to the idea of a family comedy with Thicke as a stay-at-home father.

" I knew I had to be pretty careful about what I did next. Growing Pains was something that was close enough to what I could do," he says.

" The media always wonders why people don't take more chances in this business. Well. I'm walking proof of why people don't take more chances. Thicke of the Night was a big chance for a lot of people, including myself. And we got our rear ends shot off."

The series, panned by critics, was saved by being scheduled between two of ABC's biggest hits, Who's the Boss? and Moonlighting. Thicke plays a psyciatrist with three children who moves his practice into his home while his wife takes a job.

There are similarities with Thicke's own life.

He is now a single parent who has moved his two boys, Brennan, 10 and Robin, 8 into a small two-bedroom house that had been his offices prior to his divorce.

Things are going well, he says, especially if you consider how badly they had been going. " I'm not living in the mansion in Brentwood anymore. With the tennis court. We moved into this $2 million house and then six months later we got a divorce.

" Now I get up in the morning and instead of maids cooking breakfast and not having any contact with your wife and children in the morning, I can smell the coffee on and hear the bathwater running. It's not an unhealthy environment."

Right now, his only other concern is making sure Growing Pains succeeds, so the struggle of failure can be eased.

" I have enough pride that I want to be known as somebody other than the guy who had the most hyped program in the history of television and it was canceled in a year and that would be everything anybody would know about me."

An Article from USA TODAY'Published in February 1986

Those crushing pangs of puppy love

Girls save all their sighs for the stars

By Karen Heller

Chrissie Penn is one lucky little girl. She's cute and blond and 10 years old and popular but most of all-can you stand it!-she's kissed Ricky Schroder.

The Ricky Schroder. Every pre-teen knows Ricky; he's the cute blond star of TV's Silver Spoons who hates gossip, drug abuse, sad movies and cleaning the pool, and loves pizza, Japan, Closeup toothpaste but ( as the fan mags say) most of all,YOU!

" I was very shaky after I kissed him, " says Chrissie, who lives in Washington Township, N.J. and kissed Ricky at one of the star's shopping-mall appearances.

The Goldberg girls who go to Washington Elementary School with Chrissie are not impressed. " I like his acting but I don't think he's so cute," says Carrie, age 8. Sharon, 10, agrees. So who do the Goldberg girls go for? Well, Michael J. Fox ( " cute and has so many talents"), Duran-Duran (" I love their music and they're cute"), Sean and Mackenzie Astin ( of The Goonies and Facts of Life, respectively-"good acting ability and are cute").

We are talking here about crushes-the humongous kind, the mooning-over-album-covers-and-fan-magazine crushes. The 14 and under crushes that can reduce a whole girl scout troop to giggles, sighs and squeals. The kind that would have you die, literally die, rather than miss a chance to see him.

And there are a lot of talented and cute boys out there these days.

Kirk Cameron ( Growing Pains) tops the list at Sixteen Magazine, which has been the journalistic EKG of preteens' heartbeats since 1957. The freckled, 15-year-old actor received 800 letters this month at the monthly's Manhattan offices. That's nothing; the love letters have been pouring in at a rate of 1,500 letters a week at his Burbank studio.

" I never thought it would be like this," says Cameron, who has been a demigod to the pre-pubescent set only for five months. " Mostly they write and ask for an autographed picture and ask what are my hobbies, interests." Many, hoping for the best, send him their pictures. ( And, we found out, he doesn't have a girlfriend!)

Randi Reisfeld, Sixteen's editor, believes that next to overall cuteness ( natch) young girls fall in love with the characters their heartthrobs play. Cameron agrees. His character, Mike Seaver, " is kind of a rebel. He's got a real cute sense of humor. He know's all the moves, all the words to say. He's a little cooler than I am. I'm shyer than him."

Ahhh shy.That's almost as important as cute and available. ( The girls don't really want to know about the wives," says Cynthia Horner, editor of Right-On! a 300,000-circulation monthly for black pre-teens.) Girls don't like boys who are too, well, forward. Alison French, 11, of East Greenwitch, R.I., likes Bruce Springsteen and Michael J,. Fox but, please, don't mention Mick Jagger.

" This is going to sound silly and stuff but I don't like Mick Jagger. I mean he looks ugly and mean and skinny and shrimpy." Eleven-year-old Kai Bonner of Detroit likes Prince (" because he likes purple and I like purple") but hasn't a kind word to say about Adam Ant. " He's ugly and stuff."

Horner, age 30, says, " Kids today have a different concept of beauty. They like The Insiders' Stoney Jackson, for instance , and he has long hair, wears kohl around his eyes and has an earring. That may not have pleased us but they like it." The current top "fave" guys based on the 3,000 letters Sixteen received this month are: Cameron; Menudo ( all five of them); Duran Duran; Ricky Schroder; Don Johnson ( Miami Vice); Rob Lowe ( St. Elmo's Fire); Ralph Macchio ( The Karate Kid); Michael J. Fox. And in a fierce battle for 9th place: Wham! Sean Astin and The Nelsons, Ricky Nelson's singing sons. Sean's brother Mackenzie comes in 10th.

It is said that the age of innocence is over , that kids now age before their time. Parents once were able to supervise a child's entertainment, but all ended after the advent of MTV, VCRs and cable.

Kristina Spreuer, 11, of sepulveda, Calif., has seen The Breakfast Club, which contains foul language and shows kids smoking marijuana at school, " at least 10 times."

Still such entertainment appears to have little negative influence on these kids. " We do get some X-rated letters," says Right On's Horner. " But mostly these kids aren't interested in these entertainers sexually. ( They're)the kind of boys they'd like as boyfriends."

Girls today like a few dangerous entertainers-Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, Prince-but mostly they like them the way the previous generation liked the Beatles or Sixteen's all -time pinup champions The Monkees; or the way the generation before that loved Elvis , or even earlier, that skinny Hoboken heartthrob, Frank Sinatra.

" I'd like to go on a date with Michael J. Fox. If he kissed me on the cheek, I'd probably faint," says Monica Durham, 10, of Rockford, Ill. Eunice Ku, 11, of Sepulveda, Ca., is even more conservative. She loves Fox and Wham's Andrew Ridgeley, but would be happy just to meet either one of them. " Michael is too old for me. I'm too young to go on a date. Although maybe if I was 15..."

When these cute guys meet up with these captivated girls, the worst that happens is a bit of reverse harassment. " I just went to Disneyland last weekend and was ambushed ," Cameron says. " It was fun in the beginning but then dozens of girls followed me around the entire day. On every ride, they would just be there but all they really want are autographs." Cameron, by the way, does not kiss his girl fans.

As far as female entertainers go, today's girls like Molly Ringwald, Family Ties' Justine Bateman, the girls on Cosby , Cyndi Lauper and Madonna-all tame influences except perhaps the last. " It is a little disconcerting," says Sixteen's Reisfeld, " to see your 7-year-old daughter going around singing Like a Virgin."

Sometimes, wholesomeness prevails without parental interference. " I don't like Madonna because like, she's been in Playboy which is uggh , really disgusting," says Kristina Spreuer. Chrissie Penn isn't fond of Madonna or Lauper: " I don't like all the jewelry they wear."

Girls seem torn about talking about the boys at school and the boys on the screen. " Every Thursday we just go crazy waiting for Family Ties ( Fox's TV show)," says Eunice . " But we also talk about the boys at school." The problem, says girls across the USA, is there are just more cute boys on screen than there are in the nation's elementary school. " There are ,like , no cute boys at school," says Shayna Fortes, 10 of Tarpon Springs, Fla.

Boys don't seem to go for much crushes. Mark Pedriana, age 10, also of Rockford, likes heavy metal bands Kiss, Rat and Motley Crue; actors Bill Cosby and Gary Coleman; wrestlers Junkyard Dog and Hulk Hogan. The only woman he really likes is Christie Brinkley.

Chrissie Penn, already kissed by Ricky Schroder, is waiting until she turns 13 and can date. Most likely, she says, it won't be a guy at her school. " They're very active. They talk a lot. They run around a lot." But then, of course, there's always Ricky.

An Article From USA TODAY
Published: April 26, 1989

Kirk's Growing Pains
Teen-age heartthrob comes of age

By Tom Green

BURBANK, Calif.-The worst thing hasn't happened to the nation's young female teens. The telephone still exists. But this is close.

Kirk Cameron is growing up.

He shaves ( not daily, but often). He's beefing up ( no Arnold, but the pecs aren't kid stuff). He's got marriage on his mind in his TV series and romance in his new movie ( true, a timid romance, but wasn't he 14 just the other day?).

OK, this may not be The Big One in California, but the USA's reigning teen idol has begun to relinquish the crown. And Cameron, 18, knows what everyone is thinking.

In the next two weeks, the future may be clearer.

Tonight at 8 EDT/PDT, Growing Pains, the hit ABC sitcom that lit Cameron's comet, begins a two-part season-ending cliffhanger in which Kirk's character, Mike Seaver stuns the family with news that he has proposed to Julie ( Julie McCullough).

More growing pains follow May 5 with the release of Listen to Me, Cameron's second movie and more mature than his first. He plays an ace college debater who falls for his smart and gorgeous teammate ( Jami Gertz).

Cameron has defined innocent boyish sexuality for four years-enthralling young girls longer than any other wholesome male TV teen. Now he seems ready to take the next step.

" The teen crown is going to get passed to someone else. Inevitably it's going to happen," he says, relaxing in his trailer during a lunch break on the final Growing Pains episode of the year.

" When I pass it on to Freddie Savage ( The Wonder Years) or whoever it is, I'll gladly do it and say, ' Hey, I had fun while I was here .' And I'll go on with the guy that Kirk Cameron has been all his life."

That guy is almost to good to be true. He's Andy Hardy meets Beaver Cleaver in pre-washed cotton. He has a set of values so earnest most moms would pinch themselves in disbelief.

He does all the important good-deed work that exploits his media visibility-fighting drug abuse, drunken driving, teen suicide. His sincerity is above reproach.

His everyday life mirrors the same sensibilities. His family is his focus. Home is still with Mom and Dad and his three sisters. Church every Sunday ( " He knows where the Lord wants to take him," his mother says). A big time in raquetball, strumming his guiter, Disneyland or a day at the beach with friends.

" Any time I do an interview they always want me to give them some dirt," he says. " It's tough. I'm a regular guy. I make mistakes. I mess up. But I try to be honest.

" I hate for people to think he's the kid that does all the heavy causes, but there are certain things that I really feel. I know it's ' Oh please,' but people shouldn't have to go through all that."

Now that he is poised to crawl out from under the ton of fan mail ( 1,000 pieces a day) that has made him a fixture on the cover of teen magazines, the tricky part begins. How do you parlay that kind of fame into an enduring career?

Few have. For every Michael J. Fox, there have been a parade of Bobby Shermans, Donny Osmonds and the Casidy boys, David and Shaun.

Today, Cameron is viewed in Hollywood as a potential money-making machine if the movies can tap into his imense likability as hormone-driven Mike Seaver on Growing Pains. Cameron wants to do more.

" I did Like Father, Like Son ( a Dudley Moore comedy) and it did fairly well. People said, ' He has made the transition.' People are starting to see that I'm not just Mike Seaver. I'm not going to be typecast as the teen idol. I'm going to do other things too."

But so far, Hollywood seems less interested in Cameron removed from the Seaver character. Despite his fame, top directors don't even think of him for young roles in serious dramas.

" I'm not yet perceived as a young man who can get into some of these that have a little more substance to them. I'm still getting the teeny-bop bubble-gum scripts.

" I see all these wonderful movies coming out and I think, ' Gosh, I wish I could have a shot at that.' I don't know if they have someone else in mind or if they just don't think of me. I'm hoping Listen to Me will stir things up a little."

Barbara Cameron, Kirk's mother and manager, is pleased with the way her son is maturing. " He knows what is important to him now. He was shy when he first started and now he is very confident."

She sat in the back on the Growing Pains set the first time Kirk had to kiss a girl in a scene and her heart went out to him because she could sense his embarrassment.

But she can't be a hovering mother to an 18 year old. And with Kirk's 12 year-old sister ,Candace , a regular on another ABC series, Full House, she is gradually leaving her son on his own.

Mother and son have worked out a deal to keep business and family life seperate. She dons a suit and totes a briefcase each Monday to visit him on the set to discuss business matters. At home she is a mom in jeans.

Kirk, who finished high school last year, is passing up college.

" I was always planning on going, but I never dreamed I would be on a series." He would like to move out of the family home in the San Fernando Valley. But he has been slow to do it, partly out of concern for his parents, who were seperated briefly 1 1/2 years ago.

" I really wanted to have an understanding of where I stood with my parents before we went our own way," says Kirk, who wants to enlist them in helping him find a three or four-bedroom house nearby.

Barbara Cameron says the seperation was hard on Kirk and the family and changed all their lives. That was the only time , she says, when the pressure of teen idoldom got to him.

Besides the adulation of countless pubescent girls and the hassle of not being able to do the usual teen things like hang out at the local mall-he must sneak out in disguise -Cameron has to deal with a business where looks are everything ( " one zit and you can be canceled.")

He is compulsive about working out, making constant visits to the gym to keep " the teen bod" in shape. He once followed the strict pritikin diet, but he has relaxed on that, choosing to splurge at an occasional meal. " I don't want to feel totally self-conscious when I go to the beach and 500 million people are out there looking at me."

Superstardom has brought scares. In the past year there have been a kidnapping threat and an incident in which he was run off the freeway by an overzealous fan who recognized his car from a TV special.

The tabloids trumpeted stories that he was either head over heels in love with McCullough, who plays Mike's nanny and now girlfriend, or wanted her fired because she had posed for Playboy ( " Its stories," he says. " Julie and I are great friends").

The upside of the last year is Cameron likes being thought of as a young man. In Listen to Me, he plays a character very close to his real self. And he expects Mike Seaver to get much more serious next season.

Maybe being married would be a bit much, he says.

" But Mike's been the same character for three years. He can't hang around with his friend Boner and get F's on tests and weasel around his parents for four years. It gets old after a while."

An Article from The New York Times

In Today's TV Families, Who Knows Best?

Published: May 13, 1990

Recently, on ABC's ''Growing Pains,'' Mike (Kirk Cameron) got what he thought was his big break - a walk-on part in a TV series as a nameless cop dying of gunshot wounds. Mike's sister, Carol (Tracey Gold), recognized the part for the inconsequential bit of body spasm it was and offered only the most measured of congratulations. But Dad (Alan Thicke), a psychologist who's supposed to know better, was mostly interested in having Mike get the autograph of the buxom series star. Who was the center of moral authority in this TV family moment? Certainy not Dad. Almost as recently on ''Roseanne,'' also on ABC, the eponymous heroine's adolescent daughter, Darlene, wrote a poem good enough for her to read aloud before a nighttime parent assembly. But Darlene balked, saying she wasn't going to go because she didn't want to look like a nerd. Conflict ensued between her and Roseanne (Roseanne Barr), who herself had written a notebook full of poetry as an adolescent. Roseanne prevailed. Darlene read. Both these instances illustrate where the center of authority lies in two different families; though opposite, each is becoming predictable on nighttime TV series. When the TV family in question is working class, or minority, the heavy-duty moral considerations, when they need to be made, are typically made by the parents. Not infallibly, but reflectively, with hands on.

These working-class characters are direct descendants of a previous generation of middle-class TV parents, such as Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, Danny Thomas or Robert Young, all of whom, after struggling and groping, did come to know best. And today, there are an increasing number of such struggling parents (though now almost all working class) on TV - NBC's ''Grand'' and ''227,'' ABC's ''Family Matters'' and ''Life Goes On'' - to choose from. It's as if the working-class or minority parents are compensated for the heft they may lack in the real world by having it at home with their children (except for Homer Simpson of ''The Simpsons,'' the animated cartoon series on Fox, who rues, with Kafkaesque angst, his lack of puissance anywhere in the world - at home with his wife and three chldren, at the company picnic and certainly at the nuclear power plant where he works). Or perhaps on a more cynical level, the programs are self-consciously designed opiates for working-class audiences, soothingly enhancing their image even as they satirically skewer the image of those with more money.

When the parents are middle class or better, they, like Dad in ''Growing Pains,'' seem to lack any real authority within the family at all - the sole exception to this is NBC's ''Cosby,'' where the parents are just as smart as if they were blue collar. (Is this because, as upper-middle-class minorities, they can have it both ways?) As for other white-collar prime-time examples - for instance, ABC's ''Full House,'' NBC's ''My Two Dads'' or even ABC's ''Who's the Boss?,'' which is bi-collar - the adults are vacuous or worse. The most pressing dilemma facing the father (played by Dan Lauria) on ABC's ''Wonder Years'' in recent episodes is whether or not the family should trade in its old car for a new one.

As for the youngsters, none of them - working class or middle class - is bad. But the working-class kids are generally kid-kids, with not a whit of wisdom beyond their years. Eddie (Darius McCrary) on ''Family Matters'' thinks the world revolves around a new pair of Nikes; Roseanne's offspring live for the malls, and Edda (Sara Rue) on ''Grand'' is preoccupied with her weight.

If we want to find a TV child wise beyond his or her years, the place to look these days is in the upper-middle-class family, especially the one where both parents are professionals. The wisest child of all is the teen-ager Doogie Howser, M.D., featured on the show of the same name on ABC. Doogie (Neil Patrick Harris) does get by with a bit of help from his parents, now and then. But, as a recent episode demonstrated, his father has his own professional problems that Doogie finds a solution for. It is Doogie alone who must consider the life-and-death medical ethics of performing an appendectomy on his girlfriend, or search his own soul for signs of unexamined racism.

Meanwhile, in ''The Wonder Years,'' though some of the moral subtlety of Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) comes from the voice-over presence of his adult self looking back (just like Pip in Dickens's ''Great Expectations''), it also clearly lies in the child himself, if his bemused quizzicality is any index to the life within. What should he do about retrieving a valentine for Winnie (Danica McKellar) from an old girlfriend's locker, where it has been mistakenly placed? What about when his best friend, Paul (Josh Saviano), and Winnie seem to like one another? Where should his loyalties lie? The answers, of course, roll in rather patly at the end of 30 minutes, but Kevin, to his credit, notices the questions and struggles with them with never so much as a glance in his parents' direction. They do not seem likely sources of wisdom, frankly.

How is it that parents who are apparently so smart in the world are so stupid at home? Why are they such inadequate resources for their children? Maybe part of the point is that they're too busy being smart in the world to be at home much or to be well informed about the pressing intricacies of home life. Perhaps the wisdom of upper-middle-class children can be seen as a precocity forced on them, a measure of the parents' abdication of the family for the world.

Children of whatever class are likely to be their parents' successors, at home or in the world. The tacit vindication of the middle-class parents' way, ironically enough, is all too evident in the wisdom of their children, who - if wisdom counts for anything - will surely inherit the world and comfortable futures, their parents legacy to them. As to the children of the working class, their parents don't have the world to leave to them - but maybe they'll grow up to inherit the home.


An Article about Andrew Koenig's death

Feb. 25, 2010
"Growing Pains'" Andrew Koenig Found Dead
Father Walter Koenig Holds Emotional Press Conference, Says Son Took His Own Life

(AP) Last updated at 11:39 p.m. EST

Former "Growing Pains" actor Andrew Koenig was found dead Thursday in a wooded area of a sprawling downtown park where he enjoyed spending time, apparently after committing suicide.

The actor's father, Walter Koenig, said "my son took his own life," and police spokeswoman Jana McGuinness said, "I'll let Mr. Koenig's words speak for themselves."

"He was obviously in a lot of pain," Walter Koenig said, referring his son's lifelong depression.

McGuinness, speaking at a press conference at the park, said foul play was not involved, but said she could not be more specific because the coroner was taking over the investigation.

Andrew Koenig, 41, had a recurring role on the 1980s sitcom as Richard "Boner" Stabone, a pal of star Kirk Cameron's character, Mike. The native of Venice, California, hadn't been seen since Feb. 14, while visiting friends in Vancouver.

He was supposed to return home two days later. His parents reported him missing Feb. 18, then asked the public for help finding him a few days later.

On Tuesday, Vancouver police and three search-and-rescue teams looked for any signs of Koenig throughout Stanley Park, which covers more than 1,000 acres. Friends and family decided to try again on their own Thursday and one of them found Koenig's body near a marsh in a heavily wooded area about 100 feet off the Bridle Path. McGuinness said the body could not be seen from the walking path.

The elder Koenig, who played Pavel Chekov on the original "Star Trek" TV series, was nearby when the body was found. Hours later, Koenig and his wife, Judith, issued a statement at a police station in the park.

They said Andrew had been depressed, and had said earlier that he had given away his belongings and had been off his medication. They urged others who are having trouble coping to seek help.

"If you are one of those people who can't handle it any more, know people are out there who really care before you make that final decision," Walter Koenig said. "Talk to somebody."

Koenig had said he that his son had cleaned out his apartment in Los Angeles, a city where he felt like he didn't belong. Koenig did not know his son planned to move to Vancouver, which is what Andrew told friends before he disappeared.

Andrew Koenig also appeared in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," "My Two Dads," and "G.I. Joe," and the films "NonSeNse," "InAlienable" and "The Theory of Everything." His father has praised his son for his acting, film editing and directing work, and said he was also a busy environmental activist. He also was an advocate for refugees from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

In 2008, Koenig was arrested during the Rose Bowl parade in California while protesting China's support for Myanmar's military government.

He came to love Vancouver after shooting a TV episode there, and once lived there for three years.

Here's Alan Thicke's Obituary from the New York Times

Alan Thicke, Reassuring Father on Growing Pains, Dies at 69


Alan Thicke, the Canadian actor, singer and songwriter best remembered for his portrayal of the ultimate suburban middlebrow dispenser of parental advice on the sitcom Growing Pains, died on Tuesday in Burbank, Calif. He was 69.

The cause was a heart attack, Carleen Donovan, a publicist for one of his sons, the singer and songwriter Robin Thicke, said in an email.

Mr. Thicke projected a genial warmth across all his television work, most memorably on Growing Pains, which ran from 1985 to 1992 on ABC. His character, Dr. Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist, was a classic 1980s formulation of the reassuring father who solved everyone's problems with a warm homily by the end of each 30-minute episode. The cast also included Joanna Kerns as his wife and Kirk Cameron as his oldest child.

The role earned Mr. Thicke the nickname America's Dad. His character was ranked No. 37 on TV Guide's list of the 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.

Mr. Thicke's talents also included songwriting. He wrote the theme songs for numerous game shows, including The Joker's Wild, Celebrity Sweepstakes and the original Wheel of Fortune, and he wrote the themes for the sitcoms Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life with Al Burton and Gloria Loring, his first wife and Robin Thicke's mother.

The Diff'rent Strokes theme is considered a masterpiece of the genre, setting up in less than a minute the story of a white multimillionaire who took in (and later adopted) two black children. It begins:

Now the world don't move to the beat of just one drum,
What might be right for you, may not be right for some.
A man is born, he's a man of means.
Then along come two, they got nothing but their jeans.
But they got
Diff'rent strokes.

His career also included stints as a talk-show host, both real and fictional. His syndicated late-night show Thicke of the Night was seen in the 1983-84 season, and he played the talk-show host Rich Ginger on the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. He also played himself on several episodes of the sitcom How I Met Your Mother.

He was a writer on the satirical talk show Fernwood Tonight (1977), a spinoff of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman that starred Martin Mull and Fred Willard, and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for his writing on a later version of the show, America 2-Night.

He was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 1988 for best performance by an actor in a comedy or musical series for Growing Pains, and for a Daytime Emmy in 1998 for his work as host of the game show Pictionary.

Mr. Thicke self-deprecatingly called himself the affordable Shatner, a reference to his appearances at public events that were said to have been turned down by his fellow Canadian actor William Shatner, of Star Trek fame. He was a host of the annual Disney Christmas Parade with Joan Lunden in the 1980s, and of the Miss Universe pageant and the Canadian Comedy Awards.

Tributes posted on Twitter warmly remembered him as a television father who was also well regarded in the acting community.

Mr. Thicke was born Alan Willis Jeffrey on March 1, 1947, in Kirkland Lake, Ontario.

We started in northern Ontario in a small town where I didn't even see a television set until I was 7 years old, Mr. Thicke said at the unveiling of his star on Canada's Walk of Fame in 2013, the website ET Canada reported. So when you take that moment and fast-forward to what I'm experiencing today with my family here and feeling embraced by my country that's unique.

Mr. Thicke was the author of two books, How to Raise Kids Who Won't Hate You and How Men Have Babies: The Pregnant Father's Survival Guide.

In addition to his son Robin, he is survived by two other sons, Brennan and Carter, and his wife, Tanya Callau. Two previous marriages ended in divorce.

Hours before his death, Mr. Thicke commented on Twitter about Fuller House, the Netflix follow-up to the television series Full House, on which he had recently appeared as a guest star.

To read some articles about Growing pains go to and and and and and

To watch some clips from Growing Pains go to

For a Website dedicated to Growing pains go to

For an episode guide go to

For Tim's TV Showcase go to

For a site dedicated to Leonardo DiCaprio go to

For the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation go to

The Cast reunited on The Larry King Show on February 7, 2006. To read a transcipt of that go to

For some Growing Pains-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to
Date: Sun December 25, 2016 � Filesize: 83.2kb � Dimensions: 585 x 732 �
Keywords: Growing Pains Cast (Links Updated 7/18/18)


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