COMEDIAN Bob Saget brought joy to millions of fans in his role as Danny Tanner in the 90s sitcom Full House but his own family history was plagued by tragedy.
Saget was found dead at the age of 65 yesterday in the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando after performing a stand-up show in Florida just hours before.
His death came after the loss of four of his siblings.
Just before starting an Australian comedy tour in 2013 he told News.com.au: “There’s been a lot of death in my family.
“My parents have lost four kids, and we dealt with death and difficulty through odd, sick humour. My dad just ended up with a strange sense of humour and I inherited it and took it to a professional level.
“He was able to use humour to help us survive. I like to joke that he touched a lot of people, and they’re all pressing charges now.”
He went on to describe how his dad would tell jokes in order to make him “feel better”.
“We’d be sitting in a restaurant when I was about nine years old, and he would say, ‘tonight the specials are cake and c***, and they’re out of cake.”
Saget’s role in Full House as the squeaky-clean dad Danny Tanner was in marked contrast to his reputation for dirty humour in his stand-up routines.
While he had a desire to make people laugh he was also dedicated to his charity work.
He worked for many years helping raise awareness of the chronic disease Scleroderma, which would eventually claim the life of his sister Gay when she was just 47.
As he explained in a Today article in 2016: “Scleroderma is an incurable chronic disease which means “hard skin.” In some patients scarring forms in the lungs and on the skin, changing a person’s appearance. In other patients, the blood vessels are predominantly affected, leading to profound loss of lung function over an extended period of time.”
“She needed so much help,” he said in a 2019 interview with NIH Medline Plus Magazine. “It is incredibly painful to have a loved one experience a condition like this. It is a very painful disease. My family is still having post-traumatic stress disorder. I don’t know how my parents endured.”
Gay was 44 when she was diagnosed with the condition in 1994 and died just two years later.
He later became a board member of the Scleroderma Research Foundation and worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the disease and much-needed funds for funds.
Saget wrote and directed the 1996 TV movie For Hope, which saw Dana Delaney play a woman suffering from scleroderma and was loosely based on Gay’s life.
He also hosted the annual fundraiser Cool Comedy – Hot Cuisine which would bring together stand-up comedy and meals cooked by top chefs.
Saget would also lose another sister, Andrea, who suffered a brain aneurysm in 1985 when she was just 32 years old.
He and his family also suffered the loss of his twin brothers at the time of their birth, according to reports, although few details are known.
Saget’s dad Benjamin died in 2007 due to heart failure and its complications while his mom Rosalyn died from abdominal cancer in 2014.