John Stamos Remembers Mentor Garry Marshall: "You Have Garry to Blame for 'Have Mercy'"

Garry Marshall John Stamos - H 2016
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The 'Full House' actor pays tribute to his dear friend following Marshall's death at 81.

I loved bragging that I knew him. I loved walking into places with him. He could make people smile without even saying a word. Just the sight of him made you happy. Then he’d open his mouth and you’d laugh. He could say just about anything and make it funny. One time I called him to ask which colors were funny. Garry said, “Pink is funny. Black is funny. Blue is not funny. It’s the unfunniest of all the colors.” Then he hung up.  

I've been saving his messages for years. He'd always start with, “Hi, this is Garry Marshall from the Falcon Theater,” as if I wouldn’t recognize that iconic voice. He always wanted to make a plan. He couldn’t leave the call without scheduling something. I think in later years that kept him going — getting to do things with the people he loved. He led by example by never wasting the little time we are given. The man made the most out of every minute. He didn’t wallow in the things we can not change. He’d be so pissed off if he knew I was crying right now.  

For all his success and legendary accomplishments, he was always interested in what I was doing — the projects I was involved in, the people I was hanging out with. He wanted to meet everyone. He’d say: “Bring friends.” “Anyone here I should meet?” He always asked about my mother — always said what a nice woman she was. He knew how important she was to me. And she adored him. “How’s that cute little Garry Marshall?” Loretta would say. 

Garry called me shortly after Robin Williams took his life. He said, “Don’t get depressed. Never get depressed. Call me if you ever get depressed. I’ll be there for you.” I took him up on that offer after my mother died. You couldn’t have a better friend or mentor than Garry Marshall. And I realized some time ago, I could never repay him for all he did for me. 

He brought me into the writers room as a young actor on a show called You Again with Jack Klugman. On punch up night, he’d make me sit there and listen and learn about joke writing, story structure and rhythm. It was like going to a master class for sitcoms. He famously suggested me for the role of “Uncle Jesse" on Full House. When I got the job and asked for advice, he simply said, “Get a catch phrase.” So you have Garry to blame for “Have mercy.” He came to see me on Broadway, which meant the world. He helped me write a eulogy that I labored on so hard for Klugman’s memorial. (Garry just winged his speech and, of course, it was brilliant.) He put me in a movie, then cut me out because I wore a ridiculous mustache. But always reminded everyone that I was in the deleted scenes if you bought the DVD.

He was always there for me. Always. He gave me an award from Operation Smile, stood up for me this year, when I got recognized as a TV Icon, and he gave me my star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which was fitting because, like so many others in this town, I owed my star to him. Garry was always available to say something nice about me and take a picture. It wasn’t just me. He was like that with everyone. Not sure how he found the time for it all. I know there weren’t more of him because no else could be that full of love. He was that magical. I’ve gotten many texts and calls today of people thanking me for introducing Garry Marshall to them. I loved sharing him with people. He gave me that gift. 

Garry loved being recognized. He loved taking pictures with anyone. He loved being Garry Marshall.  

Today I’m blue. The unfunniest of all the colors.