Spotlight: John Stamos

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John Stamos shot to fame on the '80s sitcom "Full House" and as a member of the "ER" cast, was part of the longest-running medical drama in American primetime television. A skilled drummer, he has also been performing with the Beach Boys for more than two decades and is enjoying a career in musical theater on Broadway, currently in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of "Bye, Bye Birdie." In his spare time, Stamos, who spoke with The Hollywood Reporter's Zorianna Kit, is also a spokesman for the nonprofit Project Cuddle, which helps keep babies from being abandoned.

The Hollywood Reporter: You're 46 years old and have been working consistently in the industry for 26 years, yet to some, you'll always be Uncle Jesse from "Full House."

John Stamos: For better or for worse, I don't know where I would be today without it. It was a very simple, sweet show, but it wasn't the most respected. It took me years to shake "Full House" and let people know that I could do something more than just play Uncle Jesse. The struggling years were after "Full House." They were hard. Things weren't happening. But today, I look back at it with fondness and with love.

THR: How did you get through those years?

Stamos: I said, "I gotta go to Broadway, I have to prove myself as an actor." I auditioned and I worked on my singing and dancing. My first job was "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

THR: Most actors are lucky to be part of just one television series. You've had a stab at many. Ever wish some of them had been given a second chance?

Stamos: "Thieves" I was very proud of, but it never found an audience. ABC put most of their money into promoting "Alias." "Jake in Progress" was bumpy, too; there wasn't a half-hour companion piece to go with it. Today, if you put it with a show like "Cougar Town," it would have made for a great hour.

THR: It must have felt like a coup to get on "ER."

Stamos: "ER" proved that I could hold my own. It was the first adult, leading man that I've gotten to play. The irony is that, years earlier, I auditioned for it and was absolutely horrible. Obviously they didn't hire me, but they came around again when I did "Jake in Progress." I did a guest spot on "ER" and when "Jake" didn't work out, I joined the show. I learned more on that show than I learned in 25 years.

THR: Would you do a TV series again?

Stamos: If I were to go back, it would be something more adult and edgy. I'm crazy about the shows on Showtime and series like "Mad Men," "Dexter" and "Californication."

THR: What role are you most proud of?

Stamos: "Cabaret." It just was the right role at the right time. Everybody's mouth dropped when they saw me play this character. It was one of those great moments in my life where I had everything and it was all in place. I was happily married, I was in the most creative show in one of the most critical cities. The reviews were great and people were flocking to see it.

THR: Did being married contribute to your happiness?

Stamos: No, but being in love is helpful. Sometimes it feels like you can't have everything at once. Your romance is good, but your career is bad, or you have your career and your romance, but you lose your father. My father had died right before "Cabaret." It's important to enjoy whatever you have when you have it.

THR: Do you think you've had it easy?

Stamos: Nothing's ever been handed to me. I still have to work for everything I do. I certainly haven't made it in movies yet -- I'm pigeonholed as a TV guy. Everything has been a challenge, but I'm always up for it. The struggle of needing to prove myself is what's kept me going all these years.

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