Over nearly four
decades, Scott Baio has carved out a career on TV. In the mid-70s
he played Chachi on the long-running TV series Happy Days,
which led to the spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi. He went on to
star on TVs Charles in Charge and later the medical mystery
drama Diagnosis Murder. Although he received two Emmy Award
nominations for his role in the TV movie Stoned, he wasnt
one of those young actors who got sidelined by drugs or alcohol. A
few years ago, he was featured on the VH1 reality series Scott
Baio is 45
and Single, followed by Scott Baio is 46
and Pregnant, where his transition from single guy to married
father was chronicled on the flat screen. Now the actor plays the
lead on the Nick at Nite sitcom See Dad Run, where he also
serves as a producer. Baio and his wife, Renee Sloan, are parents
of 5-year-old Bailey and have established the
Bailey Baio Angel Foundation.
Chet Cooper: So what kind of work do you do?
Cooper: Okay then, tell us about your latest show.
Scott Baio: Its called See Dad Run and its on Sunday
evenings. This is Nick at Nites first original scripted sitcom
and its basically the story of a very famous television actor
whose series ends. Thats when he goes home and finds that his
wife, whos also an actress, has decided to go back to work on
a soap opera. Now hes stuck with three kids that he doesnt
really know. Its him trying to raise a family on his own. His
wife is around, but he deals with the bulk of the childrearing. Hes
a guy whos not dumb, he just doesnt know what to do and
its based on my life.
Cooper: How does your daughter Bailey feel
Baio: About the show?
Cooper: No, about you bringing her up.
Baio: (laughs) Youve got to ask her. For my part, raising
a kid is a unique gig. Do you have a kid?
Cooper: No, but in this job you have to kiss a lot of babies.
Baio: Theres no handbook for it. No one tells you how hard it
is to be a parent. I love Bailey and Id die for her, but its
Cooper: How did See Dad Run come about?
Baio: Jason Hervey, who was an actor and now does a lot of television
producing, is my partner on this show. He called one day and said,
Would you read something? I said, No. He said,
Why not? and I said, Because I dont really
want to do anything and he said, Come on. I said,
I just dont want to get back into that game. But
then I asked him, Do you like it? He said, Yeah.
I said, then you do what you want with it. Ill see you
A couple of weeks later, we were pitching it at the network and I
still hadnt read it, so I didnt know what the hell I was
pitching. And then it just snowballed. The opportunity came out of
left field and here we are in our second season. Its one of
the best things Ive ever done and one of the most fun things.
I sincerely enjoy going to work every day. Our cast has a great time.
The producers are good people. The network has been fantastic to us.
There are day-to-day creative differences, but overall its an
absolute ball. Ive been lucky in my career; Ive always
liked the things that Ive done.
Cooper: So many child actors have had
Baio: drug problems?
Cooper: issues in their lives.
Baio: Do you know a lot of them?
Cooper: I thought there was a club.
Baio: Im not in it.
Cooper: How did you get through this industry without falling into
Baio: My parents. From a very young age, my father put a lot of fear
in me and it worked. I think its important for children to have
fear. I never was curious about drugs or alcohol. I was born in 1960
and back then the older kids were smoking pot. I wasnt interested
in that ever and I always had this thing in me, for some reason, that
if God was kind enough to give me a healthy body and mind, I was not
going to screw it up. I worked for Garry Marshall for 10 years and
I dont know what people did at home, but the Happy Days
set was relatively clean and it was always fun. We were all
Baio: We were happy people, good citizens. I was lucky. I would go
out to a club with my friends in my 20s and 30s, guys would offer
me drugs and Id say, just get away from me, man. Id see
people get all screwed up and it was horrible.
Cooper: What was it like when they approached you and said, Lets
do a spin-off of Happy Days?
Baio: Oh, it was all very exciting and amazing. I was pumped about
it, absolutely. And then it all went to crap, but thats the
nature of the business sometimes. The timing was wrong for that show.
But I learned a lot.
Cooper: Howd you get through the rough times?
Baio: I just did.
Cooper: Your foundation helps parents going through rough times. Tell
us about it.
Baio: Its called the
Bailey Baio Angel Foundation and it was created to bring awareness
to children with metabolic disorders. It was started about four or
five years ago, after our daughter was born. We took her home from
the hospital and five days later we got a call back saying, You
have to bring your daughter in for more tests. Bailey tested
positive for a very rare metabolic disorder, glutaric acidemia type
I, which is incredibly harmful and damaging to the body and the brain.
So they had to punch a hole in her arm and take a skin graft and we
had to wait three months to find out whether she really had it.
It was the worst three months of my life. Fortunately, it had been
a false positive and Bailey was fine. The euphoria you feel when you
find out that your child is not sick is indescribable. I was like,
okay, were done. I grabbed my golf clubs and got ready to head
out the door and my wife said, No, no, we have to do something
about this thing, because while we were waiting to find out
if my daughter was alright, we learned about all of these families
out there whose children really did have the condition. Thats
how our foundation came into being. My wife runs it and shes
raised quite a bit of money. She helps parents with supplies, equipment
and other things they need. Its not a sexy malady, but its
out there and people need help.
Cooper: What would have happened if your daughter actually did
have the condition?
Baio: She might have had a short life, mental retardation, physical
problems, been unable to walk, cerebral palsythe list goes on.
Its brutal. Unfortunately for those kids who have it, its
just not easy.
Cooper: Where do the funds that you raise go?
Baio: We address quality of life issues. Were not big enough
yet to really do anything else. The thing that my wife is trying to
do now is get all 50 states to do a comprehensive blood test panel
on children when theyre born. A lot of states dont test
for the disorder. It becomes a government thing. But the government
is hard to take on. So shes trying to get around it by doing
Cooper: At the state or federal level?
Baio: Federal, but each state has a different test they do. Youd
have to get it federally mandated to have all the states do the same
test and trying to make that happen, I mean, you might as well dig
a hole to China. Im not a big government guy. I believe in private
industries taking care of people. I think they do a better job.
Cooper: Great! Lets talk politics.....
in ABILITY Magazine
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