Marlo Thomas, born on November 21, 1937, is most recognized for her roles in “That Girl” and the children’s television series “Free to Be… You and Me.” She has been included in the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. She has won three Primetime Emmy Awards, a Daytime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Peabody Award for her work in television. She also won a Grammy Award for her children’s album “Marlo Thomas and Friends: Thanks & Giving All Year Long.” Additionally, she’s also the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Let’s celebrate her special day here.
Margaret Julia Thomas
Marlo, Miss Independence, Mugsy
November 21, 1937
The oldest child of Rose Marie Cassaniti and comedian Danny Thomas, Margaret “Marlo” Thomas was born on November 21, 1937, in Detroit, Michigan, in the U.S. Her father had Lebanese ancestry, while her mother was of Italian descent. Tony Thomas, a producer, is her brother, and Terre Thomas is her sister. Thomas graduated with a teaching degree from the University of Southern California after attending Marymount High School. Her zodiac sign is Scorpio.
Thomas started her acting career early, and she appeared in several roles in different television series. Her first appearances were in parts on shows like “Bonanza,” “My Favorite Martian,” and “Ben Casey.” She made her big break in 1965 in the well-liked play “Barefoot in the Park.” She performed the play in London and was chosen for more Broadway productions. She was hired for an A.B.C. pilot called “Two’s Company” that same year. She performed the part of Ann Marie in “That Girl” from 1966 to 1971. She joined Actors Studio after the show since her reputation grew, and she wanted to improve her acting. She has written a children’s book titled “Free to be…You and Me.” She made her film debut in the 1970 movie “Jenny.” She then worked in several other films, including “Thieves,” “Starstruck,” “The Real Blonde,” and “Playing Mona Lisa,” among others. She won her first Emmy for “Nobody’s Child” in 1986 for Best Dramatic Actress. Additionally, she has contributed to off-Broadway productions such as “The Vagina Monologues,” “The Guys,” “The Exonerated,” and a lot more. Thomas continued to be a regular on T.V., appearing in everything from dramas like “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (1999) to comedies like “Friends” (1994) and shows like “Roseanne,” “Ally McBeal,” “Ugly Betty,” and “The New Normal,” as well as recurring roles on “Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later” (2017).
Marlo met her husband when she made a guest appearance on “Donahue,” a daytime talk show, in 1977. According to reports, Marlo and host Phil Donahue hit it off immediately. They tied the knot in May 1980 and they have been together since then. She took on the role of stepmother to Phil’s five children from a prior union.
Thomas appears in the London production of Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park," her first major break.
A significant turning point for Thomas occurs when she is chosen for the lead part in the top-rated sitcom "That Girl," which runs for five years.
She receives a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer for portraying the dramatic title character in "Jenny."
She publishes "Free to Be... You and Me," a children's book inspired by her young niece, Dionne Gordon.
On November 24, at a White House ceremony, President Barack Obama bestows Thomas with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor.
Why We Love Marlo Thomas
She is a philanthropist
Thomas is a notable philanthropist, having been active in various charitable organizations in addition to her work in entertainment. She has received a "Peabody Award" for her charitable endeavors.
She’s a talented actress
All of her works are evidence of her brilliance. Each of her works demonstrates her inventiveness and ingenuity. She is an actress, producer, and author simultaneously, and has found success in every career path she has chosen.
She’s a fashion icon
The way she presents herself captivates everyone. She is a style icon for all ages. Even at her age, she continues to enthrall people with her style.
5 Surprising Facts
She created a website for women
Thomas created “MarloThomas.com” in 2010, a website for women aged 35+ years that is linked to A.O.L. and the Huffington Post.
Her godmother was an actress
American actress Loretta Young was her godmother.
She has received many important awards
Thomas received the Women in Film Lucy Award in 1996 in honor of the excellence and inventiveness of her artistic creations, which improved how people saw women in the world of television.
She created the Ms. Foundation for Women
The Ms. Foundation for Women, the first women's fund in the U.S., was established in 1973 with the help of Thomas, Gloria Steinem, Patricia Carbine, and Letty Cottin Pogrebin.
She is the director of a hospital
Danny Thomas, Thomas' father, founded St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where she currently works as the National Outreach Director.
Marlo Thomas FAQs
What is the actual name of Marlo Thomas?
The full name of Marlo Thomas is Margaret Julia “Marlo” Thomas.
Who is Marlo Thomas’ lifelong friend?
Marlo Thomas’ lifelong friend is another feminist leader, Gloria Steinem.
What part did Marlo Thomas play in the hit television show "Friends"?
Sandra Green, Rachel Green’s mother, was portrayed by Thomas on the television series “Friends” from 1996 to 2002.
Marlo Thomas’s birthday dates