Daniel Ernest "Danny" Tanner, portrayed by Bob Saget (and by John Posey in the unaired pilot), is a widowed father of three girls: Michelle, Stephanie, and D.J.. He is a co-host of Wake Up, San Francisco. Before that, he was a sportscaster. He is the brother-in-law of Jesse Katsopolis and has a best friend named Joey Gladstone.
Danny is the archetype of the "not-hip dad" or the "uncool" character. He sees himself as the "raddest, baddest" dad ever (which his daughters do not agree with him about at all). In episodes like "Ol' Brown Eyes" (season four) or "To Joey, With Love" (season eight), he wants to show the others that he has the same coolness that Jesse has. In "Ol Brown Eyes", when Danny is dressed like a rock star, D.J. finds him to be very embarrassing.
Danny is usually seen as a control freak, not by just the girls, but by the rest of the family as a whole. In addition to the spring cleaning (see below), he made a "Clipboard of Fun" for the rest of the family in the season three premiere "Tanner's Island", and this led to rising tensions among the grown-ups and thus, leaving the girls worried and D.J. having to use a conch/shell near her feet to calm everyone down.
Danny is also obsessed with cleaning and wants to make sure there's no speck of dust, dirt, or mildew on anything he owns. His motto is, "Clean is good, dirt is bad." D.J. and Stephanie do not like cleaning as much as Danny thinks they do. In "Granny Tanny", Stephanie had confessed that one Christmas, when she asked Santa for a cleaning tool, she did not know he would actually bring it to her. In the episode "Honey, I Broke the House", he even seems to care more about the mess that Stephanie made in the kitchen, than the fact that she drove Joey's new car through the kitchen wall. In the episode "The Trouble with Danny" in season five, it was hinted that Danny may have had a mild form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) because of his obsessive cleaning and him telling D.J. and Stephanie to chew their food "24 times" exactly. However, he decided to find a balance between clean and dirty because he realized his cleaning was getting out of control. In the episode "Joey Goes Hollywood", he revealed that his favorite scent is Lemon Pledge. He got Michelle to become his special helper on his "Christmas" (Spring cleaning), making her hope that he would be proud of her if she was very clean and tidy. In "Spellbound", he used cleaning products to teach Michelle the alphabet.
Danny is protective of his daughters. He has a habit of spoiling Michelle and treating her like a baby. Stephanie also stated in the show that while she was talking to a boy, Danny saw that her shoelaces were untied and bent down to tie them for her. His excuse was that he didn't want her to trip, but Stephanie retorted to him that she did trip, over him. D.J., on the other hand, usually has a rebellious attitude towards him when she finds out he's been prying into her private life (something she constantly warns Stephanie against), and his habits of doing this usually lead to arguments, which usually lead to her running off and/or isolating herself in her room.
He seems to have a lot of authority on his daughters. They are afraid of what his reactions are going to be like in the episode "The Hole-in-the-Wall Gang" (season four). In season two's "Joey Gets Tough", Danny teaches Joey about authority. Jesse, on the other hand, tends to conflict with Danny's authority figure like in "Please Don't Touch The Dinosaur" (season six) or in "Fogged In" (season two); in season one's "Our Very First Night" he takes the blame for allowing the girls to have sweets after midnight when his band came over for a rehearsal, but Danny still makes the girls apologize to him. Only three times has he taught both (together) about authority and lectured them about such: the series premiere, after he accused the guys of "losing" D.J., "Our Very First Night" (where he lectures Joey as well even though he was out), and again in the season one finale "D.J. Tanner's Day Off", where both guys considered punishing her, then realized they should've stuck to their guns after he lectures them again. Danny also teaches Becky about authority in "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" (season four) after D.J. comes home late from going out to study.
When Danny threatens to ground the girls "for life" (season five's "The Devil Made Me Do It", the season six premiere "Come Fly With Me", and the season seven finale "A House Divided"), it's not really for life, but for an amount of time set by him. Only once in the series has he grounded all three of them at the same time (in season five's "Sisters in Crime", for an unknown period of time).
His parenting style is more authoritative (demanding and responsive) than authoritarian (demanding only), as him being authoritative allows him to discuss issues with his daughters in a calm manner; only on occasion is he authoritarian, and often viewed as such.
Pam was Danny's wife, and mother of his children. She died in a car crash (by a drunk driver, as revealed in "Under the Influence") shortly before the series began. Danny eventually asks a woman out on a date, and afterwards, explains to D.J. and Stephanie (when they ask about how their mom would feel about him dating someone else) that he and Pam talked a lot of things over, like what would happen if something happened to one of them. He said that their mother would be glad that he would be making a new friend.
Vicky Larson is Danny's girlfriend and brief fiancee. Vicky and Danny meet on the set of Wake Up, San Francisco while she is filling in for Becky, who is on maternity leave. At first when they meet, Danny is named Bachelor of the Month and gets a swelled head about so many girls wanting to go on dates with him. Vicky dislikes him for having so many dates in a short period of time, which is described by Vicky as "shallow". Danny then asks Vicky, on air, to go on a date with him. Having an audience watching, she accepts.
After their date, they give each other a short but sweet kiss, and that starts a steady relationship. They have some problems, like Vicky being offered a job in Chicago. She moves, and their relationship becomes harder over long-distance, even though they each visit each other once a month. Soon, Danny proposes to Vicky during their trip to Disney World, and she says "yes." Before they could walk down the aisle, Vicky is offered her dream job in New York City. Danny, saddened by this, ends their engagement.
Claire Mahan is the mother of Gia Mahan, one of Stephanie's close friends. They meet when Stephanie (unknowingly) goes to Gia's unsupervised make-out party. They get off to a rough start, with Danny blaming Claire for not knowing her daughter was hosting a party, but after softening up, he admits that he blamed her because he did not want to blame himself for not knowing Stephanie was going. They go out for coffee—explained by Stephanie to Gia that for people their age, going out for coffee is a date—and then start dating. This makes both Stephanie and Gia excited, believing they could possibly be sisters. However, after all this sister talk, Michelle feels left out and acts like the complete opposite of herself. She and Danny make up, and allows Claire and Danny to dance. His pairing with Claire Mahan is called "Clanny".
Cindy first meets Danny when he walks into her store with his laundry separated into four groups. They start dating, but Cindy's ten-year-old son, Rusty, gets in the way of that, trying to keep Danny and Cindy apart with pranks because he strongly believes that Cindy and her divorced partner will get back together, and because he also wants to keep Cindy away from any other men. After Danny tries to keep him from getting in trouble after pulling a prank on the entire Tanner family, Rusty starts to accept his mother's relationship.
- Unnamed father
- Claire Tanner – mother
- Pamela Tanner – wife (deceased)
- D.J. Tanner – daughter
- Stephanie Tanner – daughter
- Michelle Tanner – daughter
- Wendy Tanner – sister
- Jesse Katsopolis – brother-in-law
- Rebecca Donaldson-Katsopolis – sister-in-law
- Nicky Katsopolis – nephew
- Alex Katsopolis – nephew
- Steve – nephew
- Nick Katsopolis – father-in-law
- Irene Katsopolis – mother-in-law
- Iorgos Katsopolis – grandfather-in-law (deceased)
- Gina Katsopolis – grandmother-in-law
- Stavros – cousin-in-law
- Teri Tanner – ex-wife
- Jackson Fuller – grandson
- Max Fuller – grandson
- Tommy Fuller, Jr. – grandson
- Tommy Fuller, Sr. – son-in-law (deceased)
- Unnamed granddaughter
- "Clean is good, dirt is bad." (his family motto)
- "Give me my kid." (said about Michelle, in "Our Very First Night")
- "Please make new friends." (said to D.J. [in reference to Kimmy Gibbler] in seasons 3–5)
- "Before it can soar like an eagle, the young baby bird must stumble and fall." (in "Making Out is Hard to Do")
- "Well, just remember when children seem the least lovable, it means they need love the most." (in "Making Out is Hard to Do")
- "What? You've only known each other for three months! What took you so long, son?" (said to Steve Hale in "Radio Days")
- Bob Saget was the first choice to play Danny, but at the time when they needed to make a pilot, he was working on a (real-life) morning talk show, so John Posey filled in for him; then, when it was time to do the first episode, Saget was available
- was the president of the glee club in High School
- went to college on a billiards scholarship
- and Joey both agree that they have horrible middle names
- is known to be a neat freak
- is also known to be ticklish
- has a good memory for dates, such as when the last time he arm wrestled Joey – June 22, 1979
- was 19 years old (nearly 20) when D.J. was born (according to their birthdates)
After Full House ended, Wake Up, San Francisco came to an end and Danny married Teri. Danny and Rebecca moved to L.A. when their show went national and became Wake Up, USA.
- Main article: Fuller House
Danny leaves behind his old family home to move to a new location and host a new show, Wake Up, USA. He originally intends to sell the house, but decides to take the house off the market when Stephanie and Kimmy decide to move in and help D.J. raise her children. Later, Danny returns to San Francisco for a Wake Up, San Francisco reunion. He is devastated to learn that Max's dog Cosmo ruined the family couch, but Stephanie manages to get one that looks exactly the same and makes him a blazer with material from the old couch.
Danny attempts to help fulfill Max's dream of riding in a fire truck, but the fire chief is still bitter that he did not get a chance to sing on Wake Up San Francisco years earlier. Danny sets up so the fire chief can sing on camera, and assures the cameraman they will edit it out of the real show. He also has a special bond between his grandson Max, who is similar to him.