In 1981 John Stamos was cast as Blackie in General Hospital. In 1984, he moved to primetime with the sitcom Dreams. In 1986 he made the transition from TV to film. Afterwards he was cast in the sitcom You Again?. Next he landed a part in Full House. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he began touring with The Beach Boys. In 2005 Jake in Progress offered him another shot at primetime.
Born on August 19, 1963 in Cypress, CA, Stamos is the son of Loretta (nee Phillips) and Bill, a restaurateur; Bill's father, a Greek immigrant, changed the family's surname from Stamotopoulos to Stamos. The eldest of three, Stamos has two younger sisters named Alana and Janeen.
At his father's insistence, young Stamos worked for the family's fast-food eateries. Contrary to the bad-boy image he would later embody, Stamos spent his teen years flipping burgers for the Orange County-based Duke's and Yellow Basket restaurants, as well as playing drums in John F. Kennedy High School's marching band. In 1976, he saw his first Beach Boys concert — a seminal experience for the avid fan — and at 15, he began to pursue acting and music in earnest. His parents supported Stamos' artistic aspirations, and although he intended to enroll at Cypress College in 1981, Bill agreed that Stamos should skip his first semester to take a legitimate shot at a professional acting career. Three weeks later, Stamos was cast as Blackie Parrish on ABC's soap opera, General Hospital. While the character was originally scheduled for a five-episode arc, Stamos' popularity and audience appeal transformed Blackie into the show's new mainstay.
As the sexy, savvy Blackie, Stamos soon found that he had become a Hollywood heartthrob. During his two-year stint on the show, he earned several awards, and was finally given full leave from his grill post at his father's restaurants.
Rise to Fame
In 1984, Stamos moved to primetime with CBS's Dreams, a sitcom that featured him as the frontman of a working-class Philadelphia band. The series lasted for 12 episodes. Still bolstered by his burgeoning fame, Stamos befriended his idols, The Beach Boys, and was invited to drum with them at their Fourth of July set in 1985. The Washington, D.C., performance drew 1.5 million people and the band, pleased with Stamos' penchant for percussion, used him frequently as a touring and session drummer.
The following year, Stamos made the transition from television to film, starring in the film Never Too Young To Die. The film received low box-office numbers. On the heels of his little-seen film performance, he was cast opposite Jack Klugman in the sitcom, You Again? The series endured a single season. Around that time, ABC began casting a new family-friendly show, Full House. The show centered on a single father (Bob Saget), his three young daughters D.J. (Candace Cameron), Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), and Michelle (played by twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen), and his live-in support system — best friend and comedian Joey (Dave Coulier) and brother-in-law Jesse. The latter role proved to be an ideal vehicle for Stamos. As the motorcyle-riding, Elvis-worshipping Uncle Jesse, Stamos became a huge success. By the time the series reached its second season, it had become a Top 20 hit, and Stamos was a household name.
In the late 80s and early 90s, Stamos began touring and recording with The Beach Boys. After he appeared in the video for the 1988 hit "Kokomo," their joint efforts produced the single "Forever" (1992), which featured Stamos on vocals. The song later appeared in the Full House series to commemorate Jesse's wedding to love interest Rebecca, played by Lori Loughlin. In addition to his drumming duties, Stamos took on several other sideline projects: the World War II movie Born to Ride (1991); USA Network's The Disappearance of Christina (1993), and CBS's made-for-TV movie Fatal Vows: The Alexandra O'Hara Story (1994).
After Full House
After eight seasons, Full House wrapped production in 1995. The show enjoyed a healthy run in syndication, but this longevity negatively impacted Stamos' post-show career. Branded as "Uncle Jesse," Stamos struggled to separate himself from his most popular character. He embraced theater and, that same year, landed the lead role in the Broadway production of How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, replacing Matthew Broderick as the star. He also appeared in several made-for-TV movies: CBS's A Match Made in Heaven (1997) and The Marriage Fool (1998).
In September 1998, Stamos wed supermodel Rebecca Romijn, and soon after, founded St. Amos Productions. Intended as a venture to keep Stamos working in between acting roles, the company largely focused on small-screen productions. Its most notable effort, the ABC miniseries Beach Boys: An American Family (2000), garnered an Emmy nod. Returning to television, Stamos was offered a leading role in ABC's Theives, but the series was quickly canceled. He returned his focus to St. Amos, and produced MTVs The Virgin Chronicles (2002) and CBS's Martin and Lewis (2002). In between his behind-the-camera projects, Stamos also revisited the stage, starring as the Emcee in the Broadway production of Cabaret. Two years later, Stamos and his wife filed for divorce.
The ABC romantic-comedy, Jake in Progress, which debuted in 2005, offered Stamos another shot at primetime. That same year, Stamos made a guest appearance on ER, NBC's enduring hospital drama. The response to his cameo was enormous, and injected life (and ratings) into the series. When executives canceled Jake in Progress in 2006, Stamos was able to join ER's 13th season as a principal character: military veteran Dr. Tony Gates. Right around this time, Stamos was also offered a role in A&E's Wedding Wars.
While continuing in his role on ER, Stamos appeared opposite Sean Diddy Combs and Phylicia Rashad in ABC's adaptation of A Raisin in the Sun (2008). The production was honored with nominations at the Golden Globes and the Emmys.
Since ER's cancellation in 2009, Stamos agreed to return to Broadway, this time performing opposite Gina Gershon in the revival of Bye Bye Birdie. In addition to developing several rumored St. Amos projects (including a big-screen version of Full House and an adaptation of The Jeffersons), he also works with Project Cuddle, an adoption-oriented non-profit organization.
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