Bob Saget was a comedic TV personality and actor who found success first on the sitcom ‘Full House’ and later on ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos.’
Who Was Bob Saget?
Born in 1956 in Philadelphia, Bob Saget worked as a sitcom star, a TV host and a stand-up comedian. Starting in 1987, after a short stint on The Morning Program, Saget played one of TV’s most iconics dads on the sitcom Full House. Saget took on another show in 1990, becoming the host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, and the two programs cemented Saget’s status as TV star.
Bob Saget was born on May 17, 1956, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His comic skills emerged at an early age, winning kisses from girls in kindergarten for making them laugh. Around the age of 9, Saget started making movies with a Super 8 camera.
Initially, Saget wanted to go into medicine. But his grades were lackluster and got even worse when the family moved from Philadelphia to Encino, California, when he was a teenager. He returned to Philadelphia for his senior year of high school. At Temple University, Saget pursued his love of film. He made a short documentary, Through Adam’s Eyes, about a boy who undergoes surgery to correct a genetic defect. The film was well received and earned Saget a Student Academy Award in 1978.
After graduating from Temple in 1978, Saget went to the prestigious film school at the University of Southern California, but he did not last long. “I quit after a couple of days. I was a cocky, overweight 22 year-old. Then I had a gangrenous appendix taken out, almost died, and I got over being cocky or overweight,” Saget told the Saturday Evening Post in 1990.
Staying in Los Angeles, Saget started channeling his natural comic talents into a stand-up routine. He spent years on the comic club circuit, developing an act based on free association and his own unique commentary. Along the way, Saget befriended fellow comedians Gary Shandling and Dave Coulier. He was driven to succeed, once describing himself as a “triple-A personality.” Still Saget did manage to have a personal life, marrying attorney Sherri Kramer in 1983. The couple had dated since high school.
While on the road, Saget met Brad Grey who became his manager. He eventually landed some small roles in television and film, but his big break came as part of a news show. In 1987, Saget was joined CBS’s The Morning Program to add some humor to the show, which was co-hosted by Mariette Hartley and Rolland Smith. The gig proved to be short-lived. “The affiliates were upset — I was considered too ‘hot’ for the morning, whatever that is,” Saget once said.
After six months, Saget was let go from The Morning Program. His next project would prove to be his greatest success. As Danny Tanner, a widowed father of three on Full House, Saget played one of television’s most famous dads. The premise of the show was that his brother-in-law Jesse (John Stamos) and his friend Joey (Dave Coulier) move in with his family. His eldest daughter, D.J., was played by Candace Cameron Bure. Jodie Sweetin played middle child Stephanie and the role of baby Michele Tanner was shared by twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
While critics weren’t thrilled with the show, audiences loved it. The series reached the top 20 soon after it premiered in the fall of 1987. With cute kids and a lot of domestic humor, it was a natural fit for the network’s Friday night line-up of family entertainment.
‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’
Not one to take the easy road, Saget took on another show in 1990, becoming the host of America’s Funniest Home Videos. It was an early reality show of sorts, with viewers sending in their humorous video clips to win a cash prize. As the host, Saget provided the transitions between the clips as well as his own comical commentary. The show was an instant ratings hit, climbing to the top 10 in matter of weeks after January 1990 debut.
Saget continued this frenetic pace until Full House was cancelled in 1995. After Full House, he was anxious to prove that he was more to him than the G-rated TV dad had portrayed for so long. Saget returned to stand up and his edgy, foul-mouthed material. Saget also took on a project close to his heart, directing the 1996 television movie, For Hope, which starred Dana Delany as a woman who suffers from scleroderma, an autoimmune disease. Saget’s own sister, Gay, had died from the disease in 1994.
On television, Saget remained the humorous, but mild manner host of America’s Funniest Home Videos for two more years, signing off in 1997. Saget went through some more changes that year, separating from his wife Sherri after nearly fifteen years of marriage. The couple had three daughters together.
Despite his desire to break away from his sitcom past, Saget took the leading role in Raising Dad in 2001. The short-lived comedy series featured Saget as the widowed father of two teenage girls. This time around, however, he played Matt Stewart, a popular English teacher — a hipper, funnier character than Danny Tanner. It received some lukewarm reviews and was canceled after its first season.
In 2005, movie goers got to see the raunchier side of Saget in The Aristocrats, a documentary about a famous dirty joke. He also became the narrator for the sitcom How I Met Your Mother that same year. Poking fun at him, Saget also made a hilarious guest appearance on the comedy series Entourage, portraying himself as a dope-smoking divorced man with a fondness for prostitutes.
Saget then went on to write, produce and provide some of the voices for the nature documentary spoof Farce of the Penguins (2006). Returning to television, Saget became the host of the prime time game show, 1 vs 100.
Saget created his own stand-up special Bob Saget: That Ain’t Right in 2007. Also around this time, he made his Broadway debut in The Drowsy Chaperone.
In 2009, Saget returned to television with the family sitcom Surviving Suburbia. He played a husband and father of two on the series. His 2014 stand-up comedy album That’s What I’m Talking About was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album.
From 2016 to 2020, Saget reprised his role of Danny Tanner in the reboot Fuller House.
Saget passed away on January 9, 2022. He was 65.