Bob Saget, the actor and comedian who gained fame on the sitcom Full House and as host of America’s Funniest Home Videos before thoroughly shedding his wholesome image, died Sunday at the age of 65.
According to a tweet from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Saget was found unresponsive in his hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, after authorities responded to a call at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Authorities pronounced Saget dead at the scene.
“We have no information on cause of death, and detectives have found no signs of foul play or drug use in this case,” a spokesperson for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “This is all the information we have for release at this time and we do not anticipate further updates. The Medical Examiner’s Office will ultimately determine cause and manner of death.”
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“He was everything to us and we want you to know how much he loved his fans, performing live and bringing people from all walks of life together with laughter,” Saget’s family said in a statement.
The evening prior to his death, Saget had played a show in Jacksonville as part of his “I Don’t Do Negative” stand-up tour, which he had announced last December. “Loved tonight’s show @PV_ConcertHall in Jacksonville. Appreciative audience. … I had no idea I did a 2 hr set tonight. I’m happily addicted again to this shit,” he wrote in his final tweet.
“Still in shock. I just spoke with Bob a few days ago,” Gilbert Gottfried wrote. “We stayed on the phone as usual making each other laugh. RIP to friend, comedian & fellow Aristocrat Bob Saget.”
“I am broken. I am gutted. I am in complete and utter shock,” Saget’s friend and Full House co-star John Stamos wrote. “I will never ever have another friend like him. I love you so much Bobby.”
Candace Cameron Bure, who played Saget’s TV daughter D.J. Tanner on the sitcom, tweeted, “I don’t know what to say. I have no words. Bob was one of the best human beings I’ve ever known in my life. I loved him so much.”
And twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who together played youngest Tanner daughter Michelle, provided the following statement to Rolling Stone: “Bob was the most loving, compassionate and generous 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. We are thinking of his daughters, wife and family and are sending our condolences.”
Saget was born in Philadelphia and began performing standup in local clubs before moving to Los Angeles to continue his comedy career. He appeared in the 1987 Richard Pryor film Critical Condition but was best known for playing Danny Tanner, the widowed patriarch of the Tanner clan, in the ABC series Full House, which ran from 1987 to 1995. As the clean-freak, aggressively Type A Tanner, Saget spent eight seasons projecting patriarchal warmth, ending each episode by imparting a moral lesson to one of his three daughters alongside a warm hug.
Through his performance as Danny Tanner, as well as his role as the host of America’s Funniest Home Videos from 1989 to 1997, Saget cultivated an image as the wholesome paterfamilias, despite his roots as a stand-up comedian who worked blue for much of his career.
He definitively shed that image with his cameo role as a drug addict in the 1998 cult classic Half-Baked, as well as his appearance in the 2005 documentary The Aristocrats, which features an appearance from him telling a particularly raunchy version of the titular joke.
Saget also lampooned his own clean-cut image with a recurring appearance on the HBO series Entourage, in which he played a boorish, philandering, cigar-puffing version of himself. Saget’s performance on Entourage appeared to be a nod to the chasm between the actor’s comic personality and his wholesome Danny Tanner persona, a discrepancy he enjoyed playing with throughout his career.
“People ask, ‘Who are you more like, the Full House guy, or the guy on Entourage?’ I’m somewhere in between,” he told NJ.com in 2013. “I’ve been in my backyard with a robe on, smoking a cigar, unshaved … but I’m not a misogynistic guy like that badass. That’s just a two-dimensional character. I’m neither of those.”
Saget also provided the voice and narration for the elder Ted Mosby in the long-running CBS series How I Met Your Mother, a role that he held from 2005 to 2014, and was an established director, helming the 1998 Norm MacDonald black comedy Dirty Work, which flopped at the box office but later amassed cult classic status.
Saget became an advocate for those with scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune condition that his sister Gay battled before her death in 1994 at the age of 47. Saget was a board member for the Scleroderma Research Foundation and regularly raised money for the organization, stating on his website that his Cool Comedy Hot Cuisine fundraising events had raised $53 million for scleroderma research. (He directed a 1996 TV movie starring Dana Delaney, For Hope, inspired by his sister’s struggle with the disease. Saget donated much of the proceeds for sales of the film to the foundation.)
Although Saget enjoyed exploiting the contradiction between his raunchier real-life personality and the Danny Tanner character, he appeared to have nothing but respect for the other members of the Full House cast and the show’s legacy, appearing in multiple episodes of the franchise reboot, Netflix’s Fuller House. When he was initially cast, “people [were] going, ‘He’s such a sick bastard, it’s so funny he’s doing that part,’ he told WIllamette Week in 2016. “But it’s a part anyone would be lucky to have if they wanted it.”
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