From ‘General Hospital’ to ‘Big Shot’: John Stamos’ Life on TV

john stamos general hospital full house er
©ABC /Courtesy Everett Collection; Lorimar Televison / Courtesy: Everett Collection; NBC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

We first met John Stamos in 1982 when he appeared as troubled teenager Blackie Parrish on ABC’s daytime drama, General Hospital. While he’d leave the show in the spring of 1984, he made a huge impression and quickly became destined for greater things, making Port Charles the first of many stops on television for the Cypress, California native.

Though he started on a daytime drama, Stamos seemed destined for sitcoms after stints on short-lived comedies like CBS’s Dreams and NBC’s You Again? where Stamos played the son of TV veteran Jack Klugman (The Odd Couple). Of course, we all know Stamos hit the sitcom lottery in a big way with the huge success of ABC’s Full House (and he would revisit the role of Uncle Jesse in the recent Netflix reboot, Fuller House).

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But Stamos’s TV career took an unexpected turn back down the drama path when he joined the NBC medical show ER in 2006 where he stayed until the series ended in 2009. Then, he returned to comedy in Fox’s Grandfathered while appearing on edgier series like Fox’s Scream Queens and Netflix’s You.

As he kicks off his latest TV role as cantankerous basketball coach Marvyn Corn on the new Disney+ series Big Shot, Stamos ventured into the past to talk about some of his most noteworthy roles and his memories of each of them. Scroll through the photo gallery below to see what he had to say.

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GENERAL HOSPITAL
ABC/Getty Images

General Hospital

Stamos is the first to say he owes everything to his role as Blackie Parrish on ABC’s soap General Hospital (here with Jack Wagner in 1983). “Without General Hospital I wouldn’t be talking to you, I guarantee it,” he says. And the biggest lesson he learned back then? “Discipline. That was my first job and I had a very powerful producer named Gloria Monty, who was very strict and very smart,” he says.

John Stamos You, Again?
NBC/GettyImages

You Again?

Stamos says his on-screen dad Jack Klugman fought for him to get the role on the 1986 NBC sitcom You Again? “It was like everybody was up for that role. Ben Stiller and all these guys, and Jack for some reason saw something in me,” Stamos recalls. “I learned a lot about timing and Jack was probably my first mentor in the business. He really took me under his wing.” The series lasted two seasons.

JOHN STAMOS;DYLAN/BLAKE TUOMY-WILHOIT;LORI LOUGHLIN;DAVE COULIER;ANDREA BARBER;MARY-KATE/ASHLEY OLSEN;JODIE SWEETIN;BOB SAGET;CANDACE CAMERON;SCOTT WEINGER
Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives

Full House

“In the first year or two the show bombed and then in the summer they put it on after Who’s the Boss? and it found its audience,” Stamos says of ABC’s 1987-1995 sitcom hit. “I think it was just one of those magical things. But there’s not many shows 30 plus years later that people still talk about.” Hulu

Photo: NBC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

ER

As stubborn Dr. Tony Gates on the final four seasons of the 1994–2009 NBC hospital drama, Stamos showed he could get serious. “I think up until Big Shot, that’s my best television work,” he says. “I’m still very, very good friends with that crew and [co-stars] Maura Tierney, Scott Grimes and Linda Cardellini and we all have a text chain going.” Hulu

GrandFathered
FOX

Grandfathered

Stamos returned to comedy in this 2015 Fox sitcom about a irresponsible man who’s adult son (Josh Peck) ends up a father. While the show only lasted one season, Stamos says Peck was helpful in a bigger way. “I had a rough turn right after the pilot and I had to sober up and Josh was and is still a big part of my recovery,” he shared. “I probably wouldn’t be alive if I hadn’t met Josh and gone through some of that stuff so that’s what that means to me.”

John Stamos and Taylor Lautner
Maarten de Boer/Getty Images

Scream Queens

On Season 2 of Fox’s 2015–16 comedic horror series, Stamos starred as surgeon Brock Holt (left), who took “bedside manner” to a whole other level. “Within three episodes, [my character] had sex with every female on the show!” he recalls with a laugh. Hulu

Fuller House
Michael Yarish/Netflix

Fuller House

The actor reprised the role of Uncle Jesse (and added an executive producer credit) for Netflix’s 2016–20 reboot. Says Stamos: “Anytime I complain about [Full House], my agent says, ‘You brought it back! It’s your fault!’” Netflix

Elizabeth Lail, John Stamos, Shay Mitchell and Penn Badgley
Maarten de Boer

You

When Stamos first appeared on Season 1 of the Penn Badgley stalker drama in 2018, he recalls the set being “uncomfortable…there was no sort of levity.” But the mood helped Stamos (here with Elizabeth Lail, Shay Mitchell and Badgley) get into character as an unscrupulous therapist. “It was weird and wild,” he says, “but I loved it.” Netflix

big shot john stamos disney+
Disney+/Giles Mingasson

Big Shot

Stamos describes the new Disney+ series as ” a character piece” but wasn’t sold when he first heard the show’s premise was built around basketball. “My heart stopped because I’m quite inept when it comes to sports and even watching sports,” he says. Instead, the actor saw the role of Marvyn Korn as a challenge. “This was my shot to play an adult character, and I told Bill D’Elia, the director, I said, ‘If you see me going to any of my bag of tricks that I’ve used over the years, stop me please.'”