In the bustling heart of the Upper East Side, behind the veil of a penthouse duplex, resides a living legend — Marlo Thomas. Born on November 21, 1937, this American actress, producer, author, and social activist has not only graced our screens but has also left an indelible mark on the world.
You may remember Marlo from the iconic sitcom “That Girl,” where she stole our hearts from 1966 to 1971. Her influence extends beyond entertainment; she is the creative force behind the beloved children’s franchise “Free to Be… You and Me.” Marlo’s talent has earned her numerous accolades, including three Primetime Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and a Peabody Award. Not to mention, she’s a proud recipient of the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom, a testament to her outstanding contributions.
But beyond the glitz and glam, Marlo is deeply committed to a cause close to her heart — St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As the National Outreach Director, she continues the legacy started by her father, Danny Thomas, in 1962. In 2004, she launched the “Thanks & Giving” campaign, a heartfelt initiative to support the hospital’s mission.
And yes, as of 2023, Marlo Thomas is very much alive, savoring life in her penthouse haven alongside her husband, the iconic Phil Donahue, and their loyal companion, Charlie, the dog. It’s a picturesque scene that paints a vivid image of a life well-lived.
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Marlo’s journey began in Detroit, but she was raised in the glitz and glamour of Beverly Hills, California. As the eldest child of comedian Danny Thomas and Rose Marie Cassaniti, she grew up in a world where showbiz met family values. Her unique name, “Marlo,” emerged from her childhood mispronunciation of “Margo,” a moniker bestowed upon her by her family.
Educated at Marymount High School and a graduate of the University of Southern California, Marlo initially pursued a teaching degree. As she once remarked, “I wanted a piece of paper that said I was qualified to do something in the world.” A member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, Marlo’s journey was destined for greatness.
In matters of the heart, Marlo’s life took an unexpected turn. After a long relationship with playwright Herb Gardner, fate intervened during a 1977 episode of “Donahue.” It was there that she and host Phil Donahue experienced “love at first sight.” The couple exchanged vows on May 21, 1980, and Phil relocated to New York City to be with Marlo. In navigating the role of stepmother to Phil’s four sons and daughter, Marlo chose friendship over a traditional motherly stance, fostering relationships that have endured the test of time.
Marlo Thomas, a living testament to talent, love, and humanitarian spirit, continues to grace our lives. In the ever-evolving narrative of her existence, Marlo’s story is one of inspiration, resilience, and the enduring power of genuine connections. As the sun sets over the Manhattan skyline, Marlo Thomas remains a shining star, living her legacy in the heart of New York City.