Through the decades of the seventies, eighties, nineties and beyond, Scott Baio was riding the wave of fame in the TV and film world.
His Hollywood journey began when he landed the title character role in the children’s movie musical “Bugsy Malone,” which co-starred Jodie Foster.
But his career really caught fire in 1976. The then-16-year-old actor snagged the coveted role of Fonzie’s cousin Chachi Arcola on the blockbuster sitcom hit “Happy Days.”
Scott’s television run would continue on in the “Happy Days” spin-off “Joanie Loves Chachi,” and in yet another successful sitcom “Charles in Charge.”
The 1990s saw him portraying a doctor in the medical mystery drama series “Diagnosis: Murder,” as well as a young prosecutor in a classic made-for-TV “Perry Mason” movie.
In between takes, he guested on numerous other popular television shows including “Full House,” “Touched by an Angel,” and “The Nanny.”
In 2005 his career came full circle when he played lawyer Bob Loblaw in the TV series “Arrested Development,” a role that passed to him when Henry “Fonzie” Winkler bowed out. It also had “Happy Days” lead star Ron Howard at its helm as executive producer and narrator.
From 2012 to 2015, he starred in the Nickelodeon sitcom “See Dad Run.”
His charmed Hollywood path continues to this day. Present times find him touring the country with his one-man show, titled “How Did I Get Here?”
Interestingly, his most challenging role is one that has been playing out in real life – that of being an immensely devoted husband and father trying to cope with suffering that is being endured by those he loves the most.
Recently, Scott took to Twitter to share details of a personal struggle that he and his wife Renee have been forced to deal with.
Renee has to undergo a brain tumor scan every year. This is because after already having dealt with breast cancer a few years back, she then began to suffer from painful migraines.
Her doctors initially blamed the headaches on changes in hormone levels. But further tests sadly revealed that she had three meningioma brain tumors.
Fortunately, the tumors turned out not to be malignant. But despite their benign nature, they are nevertheless categorized as “tumors that grow on the outer casing of the brain.”
Scott explained that such tumors “can cause serious problems depending on the size of the tumor and the location.”
As a result of the medical condition, Renee has to see her neurologist regularly for anti-seizure and pain management medication, and for the monitoring of her health situation via regular MRI scans.
Like so many others who have faced similar circumstances, Scott instinctively knew that he would have to rise to the occasion in order to provide the much-needed strength and support his family required.
It was faith in God that allowed both Scott and Renee to deal with the extremely difficult situation.
On the day they received news of Renee’s diagnosis, Scott posted the following on Facebook:
“Renee has been down some rough roads in her life, yet each time with her strong faith in God, she comes through a better and stronger person. During this time we ask for your prayers and support. My wife is my rock. She refuses to even shed one tear, nor will she question God’s will. Renee, Bailey and I will get through this. . .”
The two are fully united in their faith. Renee beautifully demonstrated how to “walk the walk” and provided words of advice on where to turn when help is needed the most.
“I will tell you my faith in God is greater than the fear of the unknown,” she said.
In speaking so openly, the couple hopes to spread knowledge about the medical condition and also provide assistance to those seeking help from a higher power.
“God does not challenge weak people – he has laid this upon me, and I’m not going to question it. If I can save one person along the way, I’m okay,” Renee said.
Scott shared that the hardest part of his wife’s diagnosis was trying to figure out how to break the news to their daughter.
“It was all about our kid,” Scott said, “…because she’s everything to us…”
Memories of their child’s medical history were front and center in Scott and Renee’s minds.
In 2007 Bailey came into the world five weeks premature. During a newborn screening test, she came up positive for a potentially deadly metabolic disorder called glutaric acidemia type 1 (GA-1).
The two thought they were going to lose their new little baby girl.
“Every time [Scott] would see a child, see a baby, he would just break down,” Renee said. “He’s a first-time father. He didn’t grow up with younger siblings. And it would just break him down…break us down. It was so tough to go through the holidays, our wedding…all the while knowing, our kid may die.”
Blessed news would be on the horizon. Further testing on baby Bailey revealed that the initial result had been a false positive.
The couple later started the Bailey Baio Angel Foundation to raise funds and awareness for children with metabolic disorders.
You can hear a lot more Scott stories and life lessons when you catch his one-man show “How Did I Get Here?” at a venue near you.
Should make for some Happy Days for attendees.