Marlo Thomas

Active - 1965 - 2018  |   Born - Nov 21, 1937 in Detroit, Michigan, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Children's/Family

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Anyone who watched the old TV sitcom Make Room for Daddy will remember that it was produced by a company called Marterto. This corporate name was an amalgam of the names of Danny Thomas' children: Margaret, Terry, and Tony. By 1959, Margaret Thomas had undergone a little cosmetic surgery, changed her name to Marlo Thomas, and launched an acting career on stage and TV. After guest starring in dozens of programs, she starred in her own series, That Girl, in which she played an aspiring actress with a benevolent despot of a father (where did that concept come from?). That Girl ran from 1966 through 1970, after which Thomas concentrated on Broadway appearances and occasional films like Thieves (1971). Extremely active in social and political causes during the next two decades, Thomas nonetheless found time to star in several made-for-TV movies and also co-produce the Emmy-winning children's TV special Free to Be...You and Me. She won additional Emmys for producing the 1988 follow-up Free to Be...a Family; for hosting the 1980 special The Body Human: Facts for Girls; and for her outstanding dramatic performance as an institutionalized mental patient in the TV film Nobody's Child (1986). Long a marital holdout, Marlo Thomas closed out the 1970s by walking down the aisle with talk-show host Phil Donahue. She continued to appear intermittently on the big and small screens over the next thirty years on a variety of projects including Consenting Adults, Reunion, Friends, Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo, Ally McBeal, In the Woods, and LOL.

Movie Highlights

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  • Played the single, struggling actress Ann Marie in the groundbreaking sitcom That Girl (1966-71).
  • Father Danny Thomas and siblings Tony and Terre all appeared in an episode of That Girl, called "My Sister's Keeper."
  • Has written numerous children's books including the 1973 classic Free to Be...You and Me, which also inspired an album and the award-winning TV special.
  • National outreach director for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which was founded by her father, comedian Danny Thomas, in 1962.