Bob Saget was a comedian, actor, and director for nearly five decades. Beyond his humorous on-screen stints and effort to make people laugh was a man who experienced a series of tragedies, including several deaths in the family that ended with his own.
Born on May 17, 1956, Bob Saget was an actor, writer, director, and one of the known comedians of his time. He is most known for making the "Full House" character, Danny Tanner, a wholesome and lovable father, come to life.
Unlike his on-screen role, he was also a great comedian whose humor was anything but wholesome. But behind the smiles and laughter was a series of tragedies Saget had to live with. Ultimately, his natural talent for bringing joy to others helped him cope with the heartbreaking losses.
Bob Saget speaks on stage during an event. | Source: Getty Images
A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
It seems that death has followed Saget's family for many years. As a child, he watched his parents mourn the passing of his twin siblings at birth, Robert and Faith. Although still young, he and his other siblings were affected by the loss. Following his father's advice, he coped through humor. The actor said:
"It's hard to make gallows humor out of something, which is what we always fall back on, which was what my dad instilled upon me. Make people feel better during this horrible time."
In 1985, Saget endured the loss of yet another sibling. His older sister, Andrea, died after suffering a brain aneurysm at 35. When all he had left was his sister, Gay, she developed a systemic Scleroderma skin condition. It was an autoimmune disease that affected her connective tissues and internal organs.
Gay, a school teacher, was 44 during her time of diagnosis. In an interview with NIH Magazine, Saget revealed that her sister received treatment for the disease. However, it was a mere band-aid solution to treat the symptoms. He revealed:
“She had to move to Los Angeles to live with my parents because she needed so much help.”
Having already lost three siblings, Saget did his best to support his sister through the battle. Sadly, two years later, Gay passed away. Following her death, Saget became a board member of the Scleroderma Research Foundation.
SAGET'S WORK AS AN ACTIVIST
The "Entourage" star became an advocate for raising awareness and funds to find a cure for the disease, which he supported before his sister's diagnosis. In his NIH interview, the actor revealed that he received a call from a stranger, asking him to host a fundraising event for Scleroderma.
On January 9, 2022, the day of what would have been Gay’s 75th birthday, Saget died at his hotel room in the Ritz-Carlton in Florida.
Although he did not know much about the illness, he agreed to join the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O'Donnell to host the fundraiser. It was just a coincidence that his sister would later be diagnosed with the same disease.
In 1987, Saget helped the foundation launch "Cool Comedy – Hot Cuisine," a fundraiser to find a cure. Since then, it has been among the foundation's primary funding resources that raised around $45 million for research.
Saget would later host over 25 more events and serve on the board for almost two decades. With the passing of Gay, his advocacy meant so much more to him than it initially did.
The "America's Funniest Videos" host also made a television movie titled "For Hope" to raise awareness on Scleroderma.
LIFE BEHIND THE SCREEN
Behind the screen, Saget is a loving husband and father. In 1982, he married Sherri Kramer, his high school sweetheart, with whom he shares three children: Jennifer, Lara Melanie, and Aubrey. However, their marriage ended in divorce in 1997.
His daughters grew up to be well-rounded women, who he is proud of. Aubrey graduated from New York University as an artist, while Lara, also an artist, attended Barnard College and Columbia University. His youngest daughter, Jennifer, has kept her life private.
In 2018, Saget found love again and tied the knot with Kelly Rizzo, a lifestyle blogger, and entertainer, 23 years his junior. Despite their age gap, the couple lived happily and got along well. His daughters, now adults, also grew fond of their stepmom.
Bob Saget and Aubrey Saget at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on April 25, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. | Photo: Getty Images
Sadly, Saget's family tragedy did not end with Gay's death. On January 9, 2022, the day of what would have been Gay's 75th birthday, Saget died in his hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton in Florida. It was not confirmed whether the actor suffered from an illness during his demise.
However, the Sheriff's Office revealed there were no signs of foul play or drug use at the scene. Saget had just started doing his comedy tour, "I Don't Do Negative," at that time.
Many of his colleagues mourned his death and paid tribute to the beloved star, including his "Full House" and "Fuller House" co-stars, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, John Stamos, Candace Cameron Bure, and Dave Coulier.
Bob Saget and Lara Saget at Caroline's On Broadway on October 22, 2012 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images
"I don't know what to say," Bure said. "I have no words. Bob was one of the best human beings I've ever known in my life. I loved him so much."
The Olsen twins released a joint statement that shared who Saget was from their eyes – a kind, loving, and compassionate man. "We are deeply saddened that he is no longer with us but know that he will continue to be by our side to guide us as gracefully as he always has," they said.
Saget is survived by his three children and 42-year-old wife, Rizzo. His parents, Benjamin and Dolly, passed away in 2007 and 2014, respectively. Despite his loss, Saget leaves behind a legacy in the entertainment industry through his work and the smiles he left people with.
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