Comedian talked about his life and career in 2019 News-Press interview
Bob Saget, who played one of America’s favorite TV dads, has died.
The 65-year-old star of “Full House” and lifelong standup comedian was found dead Sunday in a hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando in Grande Lakes, Fla. A medical examiner’s office ruled there was no evidence of foul play or drug use and is still working to determine the cause of death.
According to a police report, Mr. Saget’s family contacted the hotel after family members couldn’t reach him.
The family confirmed Mr. Saget’s death in a statement, and his fellow “Full House” actors responded to the news on Twitter.
“I am broken. I am gutted. I am in complete and utter shock,” actor John Stamos posted. “I will never ever have another friend like him. I love you so much Bobby.”
“Full House” and “Fuller House” star Candace Cameron Bure said she had no words.
“Bob was one of the best human beings I’ve ever known in my life,” she wrote in a tweet. “I loved him so much.”
Mr. Saget was born May 17, 1956, in Philadelphia.
He originally didn’t want to become a comedian.
“I was 17. I was going to be a doctor and I had a teacher who said, ‘Don’t become a doctor. Be a comedian,’ ” Mr. Saget told the News-Press in 2019. “The punch line to that is she saved thousands of lives — really, truthfully.”
He started going on stage at age 17 and opened for comics such as Frank Stallone Jr., movie star Sylvester Stallone’s brother, in Philadelphia.
Mr. Saget performed improv at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia while attending film school at nearby Temple University. At age 21, he won an award for a movie he made about his nephew, whose face was reconstructed, and moved to Los Angeles.
Mr. Saget went on to be a warm-up comic in the studio audience for “Bosom Buddies,” the 1980-82 ABC sitcom starring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari. He also performed at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles, where he got to know comics such as David Letterman, Billy Crystal, Michael Keaton and Robin Williams.
“I got to hang out with Richard Pryor and be in a movie with him called ‘Critical Condition’ (1987),’ ” Mr. Saget said.
After various guest roles on 1980s sitcoms, Mr. Saget landed his most famous character, widowed broadcaster Danny Tanner, on “Full House” in 1987 when he was 30. The TV dad got help raising his three daughters from his brother-in-law, rock musician Jesse Katsopolis (John Stamos), and his best friend, comedian Joey Gladstone (Dave Coulier).
Mr. Saget compared Danny to Richie Cunningham on “Happy Days” and Jesse to the Fonz and Joey to “Potsie” or Ralph Malph.
He added that he wanted Danny to resemble Felix Unger from “The Odd Couple” and be obsessed with cleanliness.
“I also wanted him to hug people a lot because I do hug in normal life,” Mr. Saget said. “I’m a hugger.”
The actor praised Candace Cameron Bure and Jodie Sweetin for playing daughters D.J. and Stephanie respectively. “Jodie was so hilarious, and Candace was so earnest and loving.”
He also complimented Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the twins who took turns playing Michelle, the youngest daughter. “It was cute beyond words.
“I think what really worked was the chemistry between the characters, and the little kids weren’t objectified as being little kids,” Mr. Saget said. “They weren’t talked down to. They were major characters.”
Mr. Saget said young viewers at home became invested in Michelle’s problems. “The little kid is sitting there, going, ‘What is Michelle going to do, Mommy?’ It would get resolved. It was so sweet.”
Besides acting on “Full House,” Mr. Saget hosted “America’s Funniest Home Videos” from 1989 to 1997 on ABC.
And he was a longtime board member of the Scleroderma Research Foundation, which his friend, the late Santa Barbara resident Sharon Monsky, started in 1987.
During recent years, Mr. Sage saw his “Full House” cast mates on the set of “Fuller House.” The sequel starred Ms. Cameron Bure, back as D.J. and this time the show’s single parent, and Ms. Sweeten, returning as Stephanie.
Mr. Saget, Mr. Coulier and Mr. Stamos reprised their characters in various episodes, and Ms. Cameron Bure and Mr. Coulier worked behind the cameras as directors.
While known as a TV dad, Mr. Saget always loved going up on a stage and telling jokes to an audience. When he talked to the News-Press in 2019, it was to promote a show he was doing at the Lobero Theatre.
Mr. Saget, who also sang and played the guitar, discussed getting married in 2018 to Kelly Rizzo and said love wasn’t the only reason.
“I did it because you get an immediate seven minutes of new material,” he said. “I would not lie. I wrote a song about it, ‘I’m Not in Love with My Wife’s Father.’”
He explained his standup comedy was like a town hall meeting in which he talked about everything from his childhood to “being a good dad in real life.”
Mr. Saget is survived by Ms. Rizzo, his ex-wife Sherri Kramer and the three children he had with Ms. Kramer: daughters Aubrey, Lara and Jennifer.
“I have three daughters,” Mr. Saget told the News-Press, “and I love them deeply.”