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Margaret Julia “Marlo” Thomas (born November 21, 1937) is an American actress, who first achieved fame on the TV series That Girl in the 1960s.

Early life

Thomas was born in Detroit, Michiganmarker, the daughter of Rose Marie (née Cassanti; 1914–2000) and Lebanesemarker-American comedian Danny Thomas (1912–1991). Her brother Tony Thomas is a television and film producer, and her sister, Terre Thomas, is a former actress. Marlo Thomas was raised in Beverly Hills, Californiamarker, and went by the nickname of Margie Thomas while attending school. She attended Marymount High Schoolmarker in Los Angeles. She graduated from the University of Southern Californiamarker with a teaching degree and was a member of the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta.

Career

Thomas began appearing as a regular on The Joey Bishop Show (1961-1962). She followed the series with guest shots on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Ben Casey, My Favorite Martian, and Bonanza, but it was not until 1966 that she hit her professional stride as aspiring New Yorkmarker actress Ann Marie on the ABC sitcom That Girl. The series ran until 1971, garnering her a Golden Globe Award and four Emmy nominations. She was instrumental in the production of the TV special and record album Free to Be… You and Me.

Anxious to show she was as adept at drama as she was at comedy, she proved herself in the television movies It Happened One Christmas (1977) (a remake of It's a Wonderful Life, with Thomas in the rewritten James Stewart role), Nobody's Child (1986) , and The Lost Honor of Kathryn Beck (1984), while she starred in Jenny (1970) and Thieves (1977) on the big screen.

Thomas's Broadway theatremarker credits include Thieves (1974), Social Security (1986 which she also toured), and The Shadow Box (1994). In 1993 she toured in Six Degrees of Separation. In 2007, she starred as Doreen in Elaine May's comedy Roger Is Dead at George Street Playhousemarker. She returned to George Street Playhouse in the spring of 2008 in Arthur Laurents' play New Year's Eve with Keith Carradine and Natasha Gregson Wagner.

She is also known for her children's books and the recordings and television specials created in conjunction with them: Free to Be… You and Me (1972 and 1974) and Free to Be… A Family (1987), with Christopher Cerf, which were born out of an attempt to teach her then-young niece Dionne about life. She is donating all royalties from her 2004 book and CD, Thanks & Giving: All Year Long (also produced with Cerf), to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospitalmarker in Memphis, Tennesseemarker. Started by her late father, the organization helps young children suffering from grave forms of disease, especially cancer and leukemia, including many whose parents do not have much money or health insurance; the services are free to all patients, although insurance is accepted from those who are insured.

Thomas has continued her legacy of charity and donation through her publications of The Right Words at the Right Time volumes I and II. Both books are collections of essays written by celebrities and fans of Thomas, explaining when a friend, family member or perfect stranger said the right thing in the author's time of need. All proceeds go to her charity (St. Jude's Hospital).

In recent years, Thomas has appeared in guest shots on Ally McBeal, Friends (as Rachel's mother, Sandra Green), and made several guest appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, playing attorney and former judge, Mary Conway Clark, who had a mentoring relationship with assistant District Attorney, Casey Novak. She also appeared in the 2000 comedy Playing Mona Lisa with Alicia Witt and Harvey Fierstein.

Thomas is the recipient of four Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a Grammy Award, and the George Foster Peabody Award. She has been married to talk show host Phil Donahue since 1980. She has no children, but is stepmother to Donahue's five children from his previous marriage. The couple lives in New York Citymarker and Connecticutmarker, but Thomas travels to Los Angelesmarker for work or to receive donations to her charity, St. Jude Children's Research Hospitalmarker.

Since its launch in 2008, Thomas has been a contributor for wowOwow.com, a website for women to talk culture, politics and gossip.

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