In one of his final TV interviews before his death on January 9, the late Bob Saget shared how humor helped him through his grief after the death of his older sister in 1994. Taped on December 6, Saget talked with CBS News’ chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook about the role of humor and comedy in dealing with the loss.
“It was a defense mechanism, and it truly helped me survive,” Saget said. “And it helped me keep me mentally alive, rather than letting it destroy me.”
Saget’s sister, Gay Saget, died at the age of 47 from scleroderma, a rare autoimmune disease which affects the connective tissue.
“It was a three-to-four year process, and she was gone. And I couldn’t bear it,” Saget told LaPook in December. “I can’t get the images of the end of her life out of my head, ever.”
“We were all in the room when she let out her last breath,” Saget continued. “And it, I don’t know how to explain it, but it felt like, I mean, I’m going to go all ‘woo woo’ here, but it felt like the soul going past us, literally felt it. I felt my hair kind of move. You know, and being an actor, that’s a very important thing if your hair gets out of place.”
It’s here, that Saget’s sense of humor stepped in—and not just for him, but for his whole family.
“Humor is the only way my family survived,” he said. “It’s so healthy to laugh, and I’m out there doing it and I know it’s healing for people.”
In the interview, Saget also dives into his work, following his sister’s death, to raise awareness of the disease and $26 million for the Scleroderma Research Foundation. He also became a board member of the foundation after his sister’s passing.
“For me, it’s an homage to her. And somehow telling her that her life had a real purpose,” Saget said. “I have a lot to live up to. I feel like, to really do her justice, is to really make huge strides in the next decade or two and to really help these sweet, innocent victims with this disease.”