Tragic Details About Bob Saget

The world of comedy was deeply shocked when news broke of the sudden death of Bob Saget, who was found unresponsive in his hotel room in Orlando, Florida, on January 9, 2022, just hours after performing stand-up to a packed audience, according to AP News. He was 65.

Before earning a reputation for his adults-only brand of riotously crude and provocative stand-up, Saget was best known for his roles playing lovable dads in hit sitcoms such as "Full House" and "Raising Dad," as well as his long-running gig as the host of "America's Funniest Home Videos," which became a hit show shortly after its launch in 1989, per The Los Angeles Times.

But while Saget's career was one of unalloyed joy, the comedian's private life was beset by countless tragedies. In his book, "Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian," Saget is candid portraying the trauma he and his family had suffered through, even discussing those that had occurred before his birth. Saget, who went on to have three children of his own, described the experiences of his own mother and father, writing, "Honestly, I don't know how my parents did it. They lost four children in total — twins before I was born and then my sisters. My mom tells me, 'Not a day goes by that I don't think of them.' She's not speaking only of grief and sadness either ... When tragedy strikes, it's more important than ever to look for anything that can bring humor and joy to every moment." Here are some of the struggles he faced.

Bob Saget's difficult childhood

In a 2006, Bob Saget told Esquire that he knew he's been very fortunate. But by his own admission, his personality, his attitude to life and comedy, and the trajectory of his career were all arguably shaped by the tragic circumstances that the comedian found himself having been born into.

In "Dirty Daddy," Bob describes the trauma that his parents, Benjamin and Rosalyn Saget, had suffered just two years before his birth. In 1954, Rosalyn gave birth to twin boys, named Robert and Faith, at the hospital in the family's hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. What the family didn't know at the time, however, was that the hospital was dealing with an outbreak of dysentery, which proved fatal to the twins within days of their birth and which took the lives of several other newborns. The young Bob Saget was aware of his family's prior loss, having been born two years to the day after the twins and receiving one of their names, which the comedian explains in his book always felt like an honor.

Bob also explains that he didn't enjoy the typical perks of a traditional father-son relationship growing up. Benjamin began his career as a butcher in a supermarket before working his way up into management, smoking six packs of cigarettes a day in the process. When Bob was 6, his father suffered a massive heart attack and had another six months later that "damn near killed him." As such, though his father was a constant presence in his life, his health issues meant he and Bob didn't share typical father-son pastimes.

He suffered a burst appendix

Bob Saget also had to deal with his own health issues, which began when he was just a young man and which would come to affect him deeply.

As Biography details, Saget didn't perform particularly well at school, with his low grades becoming even worse after his family relocated from Pennsylvania to California, though the Sagets soon returned to their home state. Saget succeeded in graduating high school, and, though he had harbored dreams of being a doctor, he was encouraged to pursue a career in a creative field after enrolling at Philadelphia's Temple University. There he studied film, and he won an award for one he made in 1978. 

While he was then accepted into graduate school at the University of Southern California, the future comedian soon dropped out, later citing his own vanity for his lack of motivation. But as he explained in an interview with the Saturday Evening Post in 1990, a sudden brush with death changed his mentality.

"I was a cocky, overweight 22 year-old," Saget said. "Then I had a gangrenous appendix taken out, almost died, and I got over being cocky or overweight" (via Biography).

He needed comedy 'to survive'

In his memoir, Bob Saget suggests two ways in which comedy has worked as a survival tactic throughout his life. To begin with, Saget describes both his childhood at home and at school as "survival of the wittiest," and that while he wasn't a tough kid, being ready with a smart comeback could work as an effective rebuttal against bullies — though Saget does recall getting bloodied in fights that broke out after he was the subject of anti-Semitic remarks.

But Saget also saw comedy as a mechanism by which to turn suffering into something joyous. In "Dirty Daddy," Saget claims that he inherited his sense of humor from his father, who "dealt with death and all the hardships in life through humor. Sick and weird humor. We would be standing next to an ice machine and hear a cycle of ice drop with a loud thud, and he would say, 'There's your grandmother' ... Not always funny, but always some kind of metaphysical release from the pain."

What emerges is the idea of off-color humor as a release valve for coping with life's tragedies, which Saget would have to deal with throughout his life. Elsewhere, Saget writes, "What my family went through ... is what created and fostered that crucial comedy/survival gene, which revealed itself markedly in my father and in me. It was this part of my DNA that allowed me to lose two of the most important people in my life and push even harder to pursue a career in making people laugh."

The death of Bob Saget's sisters

The two important people that Bob Saget lost tragically young were his beloved older sisters, who both died in their parents' lifetimes in heartbreaking circumstances. Saget wrote in his book, "I loved my sisters, Andi and Gay, very much. ... They were both schoolteachers. Really good ones. Which means they were underpaid and loved to impart as much wisdom and goodness as they could on their students. I still meet people today who tell me how much Andi and Day changed their lives."

Andi died at the age of just 34, from a brain aneurysm, while Gay died at 47, just a few years after being diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disease that hardens and tightens the skin and connective tissues, as per the Mayo Clinic. Following the deaths of his sisters, Saget committed to fundraising, becoming a board member of the Scleroderma Research Foundation and raising awareness of the disease. Following Gay's death, Saget also directed a TV movie, "For Hope," which was based on the story of her life.

His wife almost died

"My dad told me that nothing means more than the primary relationships in our lives. The love of a great woman and children. Hopefully your own, not the neighbor's," Bob Saget writes in "Dirty Daddy."

According to Biography, Saget married Sherri Kramer (pictured), his high school sweetheart, in 1983, despite the comedian's burgeoning career as a nightclub comic and his touring commitments. The couple would go on to have three children, but their otherwise idyllic marriage was to suffer a major trauma in 1987, when complications during the birth of the pair's oldest daughter nearly brought their world crashing down.

In his memoir, Saget describes how the birth began with a "difficult labor that wouldn't end," and that a wrongly administered epidural led to Sherri's heart growing "faint." Though she was given a corrective shot of adrenaline to raise her heart rate, she suddenly flatlined and had to be resuscitated with chest compressions. Saget claims that at one point he was told by a nurse that his wife was in a coma, with no brain activity. Thankfully however, both mother and daughter survived.

He was dropped from The Morning Program

Around the time of the birth of his first daughter, Bob Saget was beginning to make steps towards a career on the small screen. As he writes in his memoir, "Dirty Daddy," Saget's first major TV role was as a "sidekick" on a CBS show called "The Morning Program," with Saget hired to provide the show with a comedic edge (via Biography).

However, Saget lasted only six months in the role and was let go amid concerns that his performance wasn't a match for the show's audience — a major setback for a comedian with a young family in the early stages of his career. "The affiliates were upset — I was considered too 'hot' for the morning, whatever that is," Saget later claimed, per Biography. Thankfully, he soon landed what would prove to be his most iconic role: that of Danny Tanner, the lead in the long-running sitcom "Full House," which would make Saget a household name.

Bob Saget's painful divorce

Despite the lewd material of his stand-up shows, Bob Saget has always been characterized as a devoted family man, whose private life mirrors that of his most famous onscreen roles. But the comedian's love life wasn't always straightforward. Though Saget and his high school sweetheart Sherri Kramer would go on to have three daughters together following their marriage in 1983, their relationship disintegrated in 1997, as the Sun Sentinel reports, with Kramer citing "irreconcilable differences" in the court documents.

However, Saget and Kramer remained in contact, with the comedian getting in touch with his ex-wife to get her permission to include details of their life together in "Dirty Daddy." In an interview with Parade, Saget expresses the joy that the children they had together brought to his life, stating, "The best thing I've done, the highest thing in my whole life is my daughters. If everything is my life is raised to the level of how great they are then that would be a great thing to have achieved." It is an achievement he couldn't have enjoyed without Kramer.

Saget finally remarried in 2018, at which time the comedian confided to Closer Weekly that after his divorce more than two decades earlier he never expected to find love again.

His directorial debut bombed

Despite his many successes in front of camera, Bob Saget still harbored the same filmmaking ambitions that he did as a student, and throughout his career was on the lookout for opportunities to put his directorial abilities to work.

One such opportunity came in the late 1990s, when he was approached by his friend Norm MacDonald — who had recently become a major star thanks to his role on "Saturday Night Live" and his singular anchoring of the show's popular "Weekend Update" segment — to direct a movie the comedian had written: 1998's "Dirty Work." In "Dirty Daddy," Saget describes directing the movie, which also starred Artie Lange and Don Rickles, as the "wildest experience" of his career, and describes the joyous atmosphere as well as some of the hilarious mistakes he made during filming — in one incident, Saget used a whole day's worth of film on Rickles improvising insults.

But while the movie came to be loved by both its creators and the comedians' fans, "Dirty Work" was an abject failure, both critically and commercially, as per Ultimate Classic Rock. Despite this, numerous sources claim that a sequel was in the works, with Norm MacDonald tweeting in 2019 that he had finished writing the script at Saget's behest.

'Dirty Daddy' and more loss

On the final page of Bob Saget's bittersweet 2014 memoir, "Dirty Daddy," an author's note reads, "As I was writing this book over the past year a half, I began noticing that some of the events and themes described within ... were coming true once again ... As the book went to press, I lost my loving mother at the age of eighty-nine. A beloved wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend, she touched countless lives through the generations and will always be remembered. This is for you, Mom."

Shortly after publication, Saget suffered another loss, after his friend, the beloved comedian Robin Williams, was found dead at the age of 63. "I took his loss very hard. I met him when I was 21, and he is mentioned throughout the book. How he left us is obviously not how I will remember him," Saget told Culturated. But just as Saget always turned to comedy as a way of dealing with loss, the death of Williams also gave him a new sense of perspective and motivation to pursue his craft and to make the most of the time he had left.

"I think what's happened for me is that I really do have to -– to steal one of Robin's movie quotes -– 'seize the day,' which is more true now than ever. I can't waste time on things I used to as a younger man, just going crazy about things that I had no control over. It's time to really enjoy my work and my craft, and just go out and do it well."

The death of Norm Macdonald

In the final months of his life, Bob Saget was to suffer one more tragic loss: Norm Macdonald, who sadly died in September 2021 after suffering with leukemia privately for many years (via KDVR). The two comedians were more than colleagues. As discussed on Macdonald's "Quarantined" video series in March 2020 (via YouTube), Saget was the first comedian that the aspiring 15-year-old Macdonald saw live. The two struck up a friendship, with Macdonald playfully approaching Saget after the show, having been made the subject of a number of jokes. It was this encounter that Macdonald recalled when looking for someone to direct "Dirty Work."

The two maintained a strong friendship, with Macdonald providing a memorable performance during 2008's Comedy Central Roast of Saget and Saget later appearing on Macdonald's much-loved podcast, "Norm Macdonald Live."

Following news of Macdonald's death, Saget published an emotional dedication to the late comedian, describing their lifelong friendship (via YouTube). CNN reports that Saget described the loss of Macdonald as "a knife in the heart for all of us who were close to him and all of you who loved him." Saget went on to detail a final text message from Macdonald letting Saget know he loved him. "I didn't say much back. I just said, 'I love you Norm.' And that was my [final] communication with him ... One of the gifts of my life is that he loved me, and that I loved him."

Bob Saget's sudden death

In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, Bob Saget's family confirmed his death on January 9, 2022: "We are devastated to confirm that our beloved Bob passed away today. 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. Though we ask for privacy at this time, we invite you to join us in remembering the love and laughter that Bob brought to the world."

The suddenness of his death was deeply shocking. Just the night before, Saget had taken to Twitter to thank his Florida audience and to tell his fans how much he was enjoying being on tour: "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 s***." Saget's wife, Kelly Rizzo (pictured), had spoken to him just hours before his death, with a source telling People that he "sounded really happy ... he was scheduled to fly home the next day."

Celebrities heartbroken at the death of Bob Saget

As news of the sudden and tragic death of Bob Saget made headlines around the world, countless celebrities took to social media to pay tribute to their friend and to share their memories of a gregarious and caring colleague. Among them were Saget's co-stars on his career-defining show, "Full House," including John Stamos (pictured), who had maintained a close friendship with Saget since first portraying the lead character Danny Tanner's brother-in-law, Jesse, upon the launch of the show in 1987. Stamos Tweeted, "I am broken, I am gutted. I am in complete and utter shock. I will never ever have another friend like him. I love you so much Bobby." Dave Coulier, who played Tanner's best friend Joey Gladstone, said in a tweet: "My heart is broken. I love you, Bob."

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who together portrayed Saget's onscreen daughter, described Saget as a "loving, compassionate, and generous man" (via People), while co-stars Candice Cameron Bure (pictured) and Andrea Barber also shared their shock and pain on learning of Saget's death.

The following day, the cast and crew of "Full House" reunited online in tribute to Saget. A statement posted on Stamos' Instagram read: "Thirty-five years ago, we came together as a TV family, but we became a real family. And now we grieve as a family ... He was a brother to us guys, a father to us girls and a friend to all of us. Bob, we love you dearly. We ask in Bob's honor, hug the people you love. No one gave better hugs than Bob."