Actress, author and activist Marlo Thomas has had a wonderful and multifaceted career, and 2010 is already shaping up to be a banner year. She has launched her very own website for women, MarloThomas.com, and like all things Marlo, it is personal, wise and funny; she is also celebrating the release of her sixth book – and only memoir – Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny (Hyperion Books, Sept. 28). And she completed production on a new film, “LOL” (Laughing Out Loud), co-starring Demi Moore and Miley Cyrus, to be released in 2011.
The daughter of legendary nightclub and TV star Danny Thomas, Marlo exploded onto the scene with her groundbreaking television show “That Girl,” the first TV program to prove that a single girl could make it on her own in the big city. Conceived and produced by Marlo, the show broke new ground for independent women everywhere. But could she stay on a winning streak after such an auspicious television splash? You bet. Her pioneering spirit continued with her creation of Free to Be … You and Me, her landmark children’s project that became a platinum album, bestselling book, Emmy Award-winning television special and a stage show.
An outspoken feminist and political activist, her body of work continues to have an impact on American entertainment and culture – from her Emmy-winning performance in “Nobody’s Child” to her popular portrayal of Jennifer Aniston’s mom on “Friends” and her guest-starring role on ABC’s “Ugly Betty.” She is also a regular presence on the theatrical stage. In 2009, she appeared in Arthur Laurents’s new play, “New Year’s Eve,” co-starring Keith Carradine, at the George Street Playhouse in New Jersey; and in Spring 2011, she will star on Broadway in Elaine May‘s new comedy, “George Is Dead.”
She has been honored with four Emmy Awards, the Peabody, a Golden Globe, a Grammy and has been inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame. For her activism, she has received the Helen Caldicott Award for Nuclear Disarmament, the ACLU’s Thomas Paine Award, the American Women in Radio and Television Satellite Award and the William Kunstler Racial Justice Award.
Marlo is the National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, which was founded by her father, Danny Thomas, in 1962. She is the driving force behind St. Jude’s annual Thanks and Giving campaign which she created with her sister Terre and brother Tony in 2004, a national fund-raising effort that encourages shoppers to “Give thanks for the healthy children in your life and to give to those who are not.” Now in its seventh year, the Thanks and Giving campaign has become an annual national holiday tradition. Her tireless efforts and ingenuity are behind countless awareness campaigns designed to educate the public about the pioneering and life-saving work being done every day at St. Jude – work that impacts the lives of children in communities across America.
Marlo lives in New York with her husband, Phil Donahue – who’s no slouch himself.
See My (Brilliant) Husband’s (Brilliant and Award-Winning) Documentary Film!”:
Buy My (Grammy-Winning) CD (All Proceeds Go to St. Jude’s!):
Buy My Books (Proceeds Go to St. Jude’s!):
From the Shameless Promotion Department!:
My Favorite Quote of all Time:
“I raised you to be a thoroughbred. When thoroughbreds run, they wear blinders to keep their eyes focused straight ahead with no distractions, no other horses. They hear the crowd, but they don’t listen. They just run their own race. That’s what you have to do. Don’t listen to anyone comparing you to me or to anyone else. You just run your own race.”
— Danny Thomas, to his aspiring actress daughter, Marlo, at 17 years old.
Dead to Me:
What Never Fails to Get My Attention:
Anyone who can tell a good story.
I Don’t Care When They Say I…:
…hound people to give money to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Everyone runs for cover when they see me coming. But…I’ll catch you!
Tacky Things I Can’t Do Without:
Email emoticons. I known they’re corny, but I have to express myself now that I’m not using the phone.
Did my husband ask you to ask me this?
My Favorite Food:
Italian. My Mom was Italian (well, actually, Sicilian—so we didn’t mess with her). When most people are sick they want chicken soup. I just want my pasta.
My Favorite Health Tip:
I Love(d) Reading:
Nancy Drew books. She was smarter than anybody. And then Ayn Rand. No original sin?…. you’re kidding!
I Love(d) Listening To:
My father and his comedian pals telling stories at the dinner table. I would hide at the top of the stairs after bedtime so I didn’t miss anything.
I Love(d) Watching:
The Dodgers when they came to L.A. Our first Major League Baseball team, and I couldn’t get enough of them. Cracker Jacks, hot dogs…the whole thing!
I Wish I Lived In…:
A city where all my family members were just around the corner.
I Want to Own…:
A TV remote that I know how to work.
I’m Addicted To:
The First Thing I Do in the Morning Is:
Check out the window to remind myself what city I’m in.
Why I Hate My Computer:
Because I never talk to anybody anymore.
Why I Love My Computer:
Because it saves me from 20-minute phone calls.
What WOWS Me:
People who rise to the occasion.