By: Jesse Striewski
I can remember it like yesterday; gathering around the living room TV set with the entire family every time something new or interesting was set to premiere, long before Netflix or any of the numerous “plus” networks around today. And when shows like Full House and America’s Funniest Home Videos, starring/hosted by funny man Bob Saget, first dropped, I was there to take in everything each had to offer.
Saget was born on May 17, 1956 in Philadelphia, PA, where he attended film school at Temple University. In the early ’80s he appeared in random bit parts in such films and TV shows as Full Moon High (1981) and The Greatest American Hero (1983) before he received his first real “break,” albeit brief, on The Morning Show in 1987, which served as a precursor to his most famous role as morning TV host Danny Tanner on Full House, which premiered on September 22 of that same year. He also appeared alongside legendary comedian Richard Pryor in Condition Critical that year as well.
By 1989, he was America’s favorite dad, so it made sense for him to host America’s Funniest Home Videos that year, the first video clip show of its kind long before YouTube. He would maintain his hosting position up until 1997 (two years after Full House‘s cancellation), leaving big shoes to fill for everyone who has hosted since.
In 1998, he was directing the late Norm Macdonald in Dirty Work, a box office bomb but guilty pleasure none the less. He also made one of the most memorable and talked about cameo appearances to date in Half Baked, also in 1998.
He made his return to TV in 2001 with the short-lived Raising Dad, before landing a recurring role on Entourage starting in 2005, as well as narrating the main character’s voice on How I Met Your Mother that year, a gig that would last him until 2014. He also returned alongside many of his former castmates for the Netflix sequel series Fuller House from 2016-2020. Saget’s most recent work was an appearance on Nickelodeon’s Unfiltered last year, and he will also be appearing posthumously in the upcoming film Killing Daniel.
Saget had just begun a stand up comedy tour when, on January 9, he was found unresponsive in his Ritz-Carlton hotel room in Orlando, FL (a forty minute drive from where I write this tribute). I don’t know why I didn’t make more effort to catch his show at the Hard Rock Live just two nights prior, but I had started kicking around interview ideas prior to his tour (something I now regret not pursuing harder).
Although there’s still many unanswered questions regarding the circumstances of his death, one thing is for certain; Saget leaves a hole in the hearts of many of us. His passing comes just days after the loss of loveable Golden Girl Betty White, and both loses are prime examples of not knowing what one has until it’s gone. Both Bob and Betty were special in their own unique ways, and their legacies are sure to stand the test of time.