Among the many people paying tribute to Alan Thicke — who died suddenly on Tuesday at the age of 69 — is the creator of This Is Us. One of the last roles for the versatile Growing Pains star was a guest spot in the NBC dramedy’s first episode. Thicke played himself — as well as the estranged father of the Manny, a.k.a. Kevin (Justin Hartley), in the goofy sitcom that Kevin starred in. During one of the pilot’s memorable scenes, Kevin nailed a rather dramatic version of a scene opposite Thicke. Thicke congratulated him (“May I have the envelope, please…!” he quipped), only to then awkwardly watch as Kevin’s hopes of being taken more seriously as an actor were dashed as he was told that he’d have to shoot a lighter version of the scene with his shirt off. Kevin snapped, had a colorful meltdown, and quit the show in a huff. “Great working with you, man, I’m a huge fan,” Kevin said to Thicke as he exited the stage. “Yeah… that was a lot of fun,” said Thicke, not so enthusiastically.
“I was so saddened to hear about the passing of Alan Thicke,” Fogelman said in a statement to EW. “It feels like just yesterday he joined us on the pilot of This Is Us — he was an absolute joy to work with and hang out with, both on and off camera. I know I speak for the entire This Is Us family as we send deepest condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones.”
UPDATE: Justin Hartley tweeted a picture of himself with Thicke from the set, accompanied by these kind words: “When you meet one of your idols and they are even nicer and cooler than you hoped they would be. That was @Alan_Thicke. Rest in peace.”