Born Muzyad Yakhoob, he began his show biz career in 1932 as a singer at a Detroit radio station; he began performing as an MC-comedian in nightclubs in 1938 and gradually gained popularity and national recognition over the next decade. He debuted onscreen in 1947, going on to a brief film career in corny lead roles or comic supporting parts. He was much more successful on TV, starring in the long-running sitcom Make Room for Daddy (later re-named The Danny Thomas Show); he also starred in a number of specials and made guest appearances on variety shows. In the late '50s Thomas began producing for TV, forming a partnership with Sheldon Leonard and later Aaron Spelling; he produced such series as The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Gomer Pyle, and The Mod Squad. He also starred in several failed TV shows including The Danny Thomas Hour and Make Room for Granddaddy. He founded the St. Jude's Research Hospital, which is dedicated to finding cures for catastrophic chidren's diseases. He was the father of actress Marlo Thomas. He authored an autobiography, Make Room for Danny (1990).