John Stamos is the Picture of Level-Headed Sobriety
There are many moments in Los Angeles Times’ Television Critic Robert Lloyd‘s recent tribute to John Stamos when it’s apparent the well-known actor has become the picture of level-headed sobriety. In fact, we can hear the notion in the very tone of everything the subject says. But it’s also apparent why Stamos deserves the tribute.
“I realized that I had for some time been enjoying [Stamos’s] work, which felt committed and natural and elevated whatever show he was on,” writes Lloyd early in the piece, before adding a spot-on caveat. “[Then again] you do not act for 40 years in Hollywood without having something special, without being good at what you do.”
Of course even a non-fan will tell you Stamos has something special. After all, there’s no disputing his long-running success in General Hospital and Full House. Fans of the man, on the other hand, will swear he deserves more than merely being a household name. That turns in everything from NBC’s uber hit ER to Disney+’s Big Shot proves he’s much more than a two-trick pony.
In Lloyd’s LA Times take we learn that if Stamos is even more than something special – that he’s also a one man TV show savior!
John Stamos Saves the Day
Here’s a paraphrase of Stamos’ Times telling:
Big Shot was not getting picked up after last year, says Stamos. We were on episode eight or nine out of 10, and I remember saying, “Let’s just pick the show up now, we’ll take a month off, write new scripts, ‘cause the girls are going to get old.”
The brass says “Let it air first.”
Season One starts airing; it does whatever. Stamos asks: “Will you pick it up now?”
“Well, let’s see a few more shows.”
Weeks go by and weeks go by; all 10 episodes come out. Stamos starts calling around. It’s like, “Well, it didn’t do well in India, because they don’t play basketball” — blah, blah, blah — all these analytics and graphs and charts… Once upon a time, Stamos muses, executives picked up stuff from their heart. “And so I was waiting for that.”
That didn’t seem to be coming.
So Stamos makes his move. Invites then Disney Television Chairman Peter Rice to take a walk around the neighborhood. “And then I poured my heart out about what the show meant to me.” Talks about Big Shot’s 98% diverse female cast. How in its DNA the show’s about female empowerment. We need these kind of shows, insists Stamos.
That was on a Thursday. On Friday the studio called to tell him the show was cancelled. Well, it tried to tell him. But Stamos doesn’t answer the phone. The studio reached co-creators David Kelley and Dean Lorey though. “Sorry, it’s done. We tried.”
An hour later they called back and said, “Hold on. Apparently John Stamos took a walk with Peter Rice? Well, Peter told us to try to find the money for it.”
Stamos not only saved his show, but he saved the jobs of untold hundreds of actors and writers and support staff. The second chance also gave Stamos and company an opportunity to shorten the show into a much grippier half hour.
Most importantly, Stamos stepped up and followed his heart. Stamos now considers what he did to be a bit corny. We call it pretty brilliant.
Stamos grew up in Orange County, California. And he’s always been a Disney Superfan. His getting on Disney+ was inevitable. Getting on at the beginning if the network’s being was an unconscious wish fulfillment. Then again, a whole lot of wishes can be fulfilled when someone’s sober.
And Stamos is unequivocaally sober. Seven and a half years sober, in fact. And we don’t see him ever going back. Why? He’s just too fit now. Too comfortable in his own skin. Sobriety simply becomes him.
Stamos remembers when though as if it were yesterday. He’d got a DUI. Right after his mother had died.
“I remember looking in a mirror and going, “Who have I turned into? I’m not the person my parents raised.”
Truthfully, his folks didn’t really raise him to become an actor either. They wanted him to inherit the family line of burger joints. Pops Stamos had three: Duke’s, Yellow Basket and Burger Basket.
Stamos had other ideas, beginning and ending with becoming famous.
And then I got “General Hospital.”
Stamos may have begun by wanting to be famous, but he really fell in love with the craft. He was also smart enough to know that an actor might luck into 15 minutes of famed, but anything longer you’ll truly have to earn.
Stamos earned it. Sure he played up the pin-up side of the equation. In fact, he brefriended Tiger Beat editor Doreen Lioy even before he landed General Hospital. He’d go on to be the Stamos we all know; she would go on too marry Richard Ramirez, The Night Stalker. Really.
But the whole star with a revolving door of girls was wrong, way wrong. Stamos was the perennial nerd. He was also a perennial student. And with teachers like Jack Klugman on hand, you count your lucky stars and study.
That’s What Friends Are For
Stamos is big on friends. Always has been. Heck, he’s still friends with some of his high school bandmates, as well as the one the their older sisters, to whom he lost his virginity. Stamos is also close to everyone on Big Shot. “We text, we talk, we call.”
Stamos may have been closest of all though with his Full House co-star Bob Saget. They played it close for eight straight years. Then the two reprised their roles for another four in Fuller House. Through it all they became as close as people can become. In both Stamos’s memorial speech and Lloyd’s profile piece you can clearly literally hear how achingly he misses his old, dear friend.
You can also almost hear how much Stamos wishes Saget knew just how much the world loved him while he was still here to hear it.
Stamos expressed those sentiments for Saget’s eulogy (which he also allowed the Times to run). He echoes those sentiments here.
We don’t do justice to Bob’s legacy without remembering to hold those we love as close as we can and telling them what we feel about them every day.
One gets the feeling however, that Stamos will be echoing those sentiments for as long as people have ears to listen.
Why? Because in the end, that’s vintage Stamos. A good, solid guy who cares deeply about the people in his world. He shows them concern. He shows them compassion. And he shows them consideration – even beyond the very end.
How sober is that?