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Danny Thomas

Danny Thomas

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Also Known As: Amos Muzyad Jacob, Muzyad Yakhoob Died: February 6, 1991
Born: January 6, 1912 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Deerfield, Michigan, USA Profession: actor, singer, TV producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Sporting the most prominent proboscis this side of Jimmy Durante, beloved comedian Danny Thomas received his start in nightclubs and worked his way on to radio and the big screen, where he appeared in such movies as the first remake of "The Jazz Singer" (1952). However, it was on television where his career really thrived, and the enduring success of "Make Room for Daddy" (ABC/CBS, 1953-1964) helped establish the formula and production techniques that many later comedies would follow. Thomas also established himself as a top television producer with such hit shows as "The Andy Griffith Show" (CBS, 1960-68), "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (CBS, 1961-66), and "The Mod Squad" (ABC, 1968-1973). He closed down production of "Make Room for Daddy" after 11 seasons, but returned to the premise only a few years later with "Make Room for Granddaddy" (ABC, 1970-71). Though that effort did not fly, nor did his other attempts to get another series off the ground, Thomas' achievements in the entertainment world were tough to match. As important as his showbiz work was his devotion to various philanthropic endeavors, including a key role in establishing the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Tennessee. His...

Sporting the most prominent proboscis this side of Jimmy Durante, beloved comedian Danny Thomas received his start in nightclubs and worked his way on to radio and the big screen, where he appeared in such movies as the first remake of "The Jazz Singer" (1952). However, it was on television where his career really thrived, and the enduring success of "Make Room for Daddy" (ABC/CBS, 1953-1964) helped establish the formula and production techniques that many later comedies would follow. Thomas also established himself as a top television producer with such hit shows as "The Andy Griffith Show" (CBS, 1960-68), "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (CBS, 1961-66), and "The Mod Squad" (ABC, 1968-1973). He closed down production of "Make Room for Daddy" after 11 seasons, but returned to the premise only a few years later with "Make Room for Granddaddy" (ABC, 1970-71). Though that effort did not fly, nor did his other attempts to get another series off the ground, Thomas' achievements in the entertainment world were tough to match. As important as his showbiz work was his devotion to various philanthropic endeavors, including a key role in establishing the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Tennessee. His daughter, Marlo Thomas, also found fame on the small screen and continued that humanitarian work after his passing. For all of his considerable accomplishments, Thomas was remembered most fondly as Danny Williams, one of those archetypal television father figures that made viewers wish they were a part of his family.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Side By Side (1988) Charlie Warren
2.
 Journey Back to Oz (1974) Voice
4.
 Looking for Love (1964) Themselves
5.
 The Jazz Singer (1953) Jerry Golding
6.
 I'll See You In My Dreams (1952) Gus Kahn
7.
 Call Me Mister (1951) [Pfc.] Stanley [Popopolis]
8.
 Big City (1948) Cantor David Irwin Feldman
9.
 The Unfinished Dance (1947) Mr. Paneros
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up in Toledo, Ohio
:
First job in entertainment world: selling candy and ice cream in aisle at local burlesque house at age 11
1932:
Began career on Detroit radio program, "The Happy Hour Club", an amateur show
1940:
Worked as master of ceremonies (and took name Danny Thomas, from first names of two of his brothers) at the 5100 Club in Chicago
:
Performed on Fanny Brice's radio show and was given own radio program, "The Danny Thomas Show"
:
Entertained troups in North Africa, Italy and Philippines during WWII
1946:
Film acting debut, "The Unfinished Dance"
:
First TV appearance as guest performer on "All Star Revue"
1951:
Notable feature film role, as Gus Kahn in "I'll See You in My Dreams" opposite Doris Day
:
Starred in TV series, "Make Room for Daddy/The Danny Thomas Show"
1991:
Week of his death, made personal book signing appearances promoting autobiography and appeared as doctor on son's program, "Empty Nest"
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Notes

Founded the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis TN in 1962

"He would hold an audience for an unprecedented length of time in the imagery of the story he was telling, and suddenly would come the punch line, and the ceiling would crack with laughter. He wove an illusion on the stage with no props, all by himself." --Phil Donahue about his father-in-law

"Sporting a cigar only slightly longer than his epic nose, mixing verbal sass with moralistic schmaltz, he shaped small-screen humor--along with the likes of buddies Milton Berle and Sid Caesar--for over four decades." --"People" Magazine, February 18, 1991

Title for TV series came from family's experience when Thomas was a nightclub entertainer on the road and his daughters would sleep in his room with their mother and use his dresser. When he returned home, they would have to clean out the dresser to "make room for Daddy".

He was given the Layman's Award by the American Medical Association.

Thomas received the Better World Award from the Ladies Auxillary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (1972)

He was awarded the Michelangelo Award from Boys Town of Italy (1973)

He received the Humanitarian award from the Lions International (1975)

Thomas was given the Father Flanagan-Boys Town Award (1981)

He has received the AFL-CI Murray-Green-Meany Award (1981)

The Touchdown Club gave him the Hubert H. Humphrey Award (1981)

He has received the Humanitarian Award from the Variety Clubs International (1984)

Thomas was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize (1980-81)

He was decorated a knight of Malta.

Thomas was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal from former President Reagan.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Rose Marie Cassanti. Born in 1914; married from January 15, 1936 until his death; died at age 86 on July 12, 2000.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Charles Jacobs. Drygoods peddler. Lebanese immigrant.
mother:
Margaret Jacobs. Lebanese immigrant.
daughter:
Marlo Thomas. Actor. Married to Phil Donahue.
daughter:
Theresa Thomas.
son:
Tony Thomas. TV producer. Producer of TV's "Golden Girls", "Empty Nest", "Lenny" and "Blossom" with partner Paul Junger Witt.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Make Room for Danny" G.P. Putnam's Sons

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