John Stamos is set to bring a touch of Hollywood heartthrob charm to Goodwill of Orange County’s second annual gala, which raises funds for local programs that benefit veterans and the disabled.
Stamos, who stars in the sitcom “Grandfathered” and is best known as Uncle Jesse on “Full House” and Dr. Tony Gates on “ER,” will strum a guitar and play the drums alongside the Beach Boys Nov. 7 at Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point.
The band was one his musical influences growing up in Cypress.
“I was a California boy,” Stamos, 52, said by phone. “I was into the beach, and I had an eight-track of ‘Endless Summer,’ and I loved the Beach Boys. They were the first concert I went to. I thought: ‘If the drummer ever breaks his hand, let them please choose me.’”
“Disney Girls,” a song written by Bruce Johnston for the Beach Boys, takes Stamos back to a certain memory every time he hears it.
A teenage Stamos had asked a girl to Disneyland and waited several hours at his house for her to meet him. He played the song over and over until realizing she wasn’t going to show up.
“I must have played that 100 times,” he said with a laugh. “It’s a memory of being stood up.”
Now the actor and musician is standing up for a cause that helps people living with disabilities and others facing barriers to employment.
Stamos has performed with the Beach Boys on and off for 30 years. The invitation to play for Goodwill came through a family connection. Stamos and Frank Talarico Jr., chief executive of Goodwill of Orange County, are brothers-in-law.
The musical guests had performed last year to mark the 90th anniversary of Goodwill of Orange County, and this year the band members asked Stamos if they could schedule a second act.
“I had a really great time last year,” Stamos said. “I really believe in everything Goodwill does for the people with special needs and for the veterans. I like to meet the people they’re honoring too.”
Talarico wanted the organization to present an evening where guests would have fun while raising money for programs. His wife and Stamos’ sister, Alaina, co-chaired the event last year and suggested bringing Stamos and the Beach Boys — a touring version of the band fronted by Mike Love that doesn’t include Brian Wilson — on board.
“When we thought about entertainment, we started to think about (how) this iconic band (can) help bring awareness to these programs,” Talarico said. “So it’s about having a good time and educating everyone about the services Goodwill provides.”
The annual gala, which was sold out last year with more than 600 supporters, will present success stories on individuals, such as a special education teacher who snapped his neck in an accident, went to physical therapy at the Goodwill Fitness Center in Santa Ana and then completed a second master’s degree.
The event will benefit Goodwill of Orange County Tierney Center for Veteran Services, a service providing housing, education, job placement and wellness to veterans and their families; The Goodwill Fitness Center for people living with physical disabilities or chronic illness; and the Assistive Technology Exchange Center, which helps children and adults living with disabilities reach their potential with specialized equipment and services.
Last year’s gala raised more than $400,000 in net proceeds, which funded services to more than 5,200 people in the three Goodwill programs. The organization served 17,804 individuals in Orange County last year, a 9.9% increase over the year prior.
Though a musician for the night, the cast of “Grandfathered” also plans to make an appearance at the fund-raiser.
“I want them to see the charitable work I do,” Stamos said. “Last year, we learned so much about Goodwill than we thought we already knew and I’m excited to come back. We like to promote happiness and fun.”
IF YOU GO
What: Goodwill Second Annual Gala
When: Entry at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7
Where: Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa, 25135 Park Lantern, Dana Point
Information: (714) 480-3355 or email email@example.com