Actress Marlo Thomas
Generation X and Y may recognize Marlo Thomas best as Rachel’s mother in Friends; older generations remember her best as That Girl – television’s first independent female role model.
Thomas’ Ann Marie worked many different temporary jobs while pursuing her goal of becoming a Broadway actress. Additionally, she is an active philanthropist; publishing Free to Be and continuing in his footsteps by supporting St Jude Children’s Research Hospital after his passing.
Early Life and Education
Thomas was raised within the bustle of Beverly Hills show business as the daughter of actor and comedian Danny Thomas, appearing on numerous television programs before landing her breakthrough role as Ann Marie on 1966 series That Girl – one that spotlighted an independent young woman without financial or marriage prospects from either parent.
Thomas’ success with That Girl set the precedent for female actors portraying independent, empowered characters on-screen. She went on to win numerous awards – including both Golden Globes and Emmys – while becoming an esteemed author and National Outreach Director at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Marlo Thomas, daughter of Danny Thomas, made her mark on show business through acting. For seven years she struggled to secure work but remained undeterred by her family’s success.
In 1966, she finally scored her big break when she landed the lead role as Ann Marie on That Girl – an innovative series that followed a single woman as she pursues her goals and strives towards fulfillment. It ran for five seasons.
After That Girl, Thomas made several dramatic TV movies including Nobody’s Child and The Lost Honor of Kathryn Beck. Additionally, Thomas hosted AOL/General Mills talk show Mondays With Marlo as well as guest appearances in several popular series like Roseanne, Frasier, Friends Law & Order:SVU and Ugly Betty.
Achievement and Honors
Thomas has also established herself as an author and social activist, challenging societal norms through writing and activism that has left an indelible mark on both her acting career as well as society in general.
Her activism resulted in two books, Free to Be – You and Me and Free to Be – A Family, along with television specials based on these publications.
Thomas has dedicated her philanthropic efforts to working with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, both financially and with her time. For her efforts she received many honors including being honored on Hollywood Walk of Fame. President Obama presented Thomas with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony.
Thomas was well known for her charming personality and comedic stylings when she began acting professionally in the 1960s. While she appeared in various television shows and movies during that period, Thomas truly found fame thanks to her portrayal of New York-born Ann Marie on That Girl between 1966-1971.
Thomas went on to appear in several television movies and Broadway performances after That Girl wrapped, writing children’s book Free to Be… You and Me (1974), while also serving as editor of anthologies such as The Right Words at the Right Time and Women of Our Times.
Thomas has also become known for her numerous philanthropic endeavors; most notably serving as National Outreach Director for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital founded by her father Danny Thomas.
Marlo Thomas is one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood, boasting an enormous fan base and being a staunch supporter of social causes. Her film and television work has left an impactful mark on pop culture; Marlo is known for encouraging women to be independent while breaking gender norms.
She has been acting professionally for seven decades and amassed an estimated net worth of $150 million, most of it thanks to films and TV shows she acted in.
After her time on “Bonanza”, Thomas made the transition into soap operas and television shows; performing Broadway performances as well as making numerous movies including her most well-known role: that of ‘That Girl”, which ran for 136 episodes before coming to an end in 1971.