Marlo Thomas grew up in Beverly Hills, CA surrounded by her father’s friends—Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, George Burns, Bob Hope, Carl Reiner, Joey Bishop and Jan Murray. Her father was Danny Thomas, famous comedian and pioneer of TV.
Marlo wanted to go into show business. Encouraged by George Burns, she wore down her father’s resistance and entered the business. She recounts in her book, Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny, the advice her father gave her that changed her life. He said, “everyone is judged on his or her own merits. Marlo was like a thoroughbred. She should run her own race.”
Marlo remembers her father enjoyed being with children. He took her and her siblings to work. He was a good listener. Her father inherited “the gift of laughter” from his Uncle Tony (the role model for Uncle Tonoose in the TV series Make Room For Daddy).
Marlo did go on to have a successful acting career. She is best known for her starring role on the TV series That Girl (1966–1971).
Currently, Marlo is the National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee—a duty she carries on from her father.She helps St. Jude’s raise $700 million dollars per year to keep the hospital going.
Marlo is married to Phil Donahue and lives in New York.
Listen to the touching story she tells about Bob Hope flying to perform a benefit to help raise money for St. Judes after Danny had passed away. Click on the interview below: