Marlo Thomas. Growing Up Laughing: My Story and Story of Funny. New York: Hyperion Books, Harper Collins, 2010.
The author was taught by her father actor Danny Thomas, when she was a child, to always respect the audience. He advised her to never lie to the audience, for “once you go off that road, you’ve lost them.”
At 8 years old, Marlo Thomas watched her father filming on Warner Brothers sets. She watched as the directed yelled “Cut! Print it! Very good! We try again!” She used those very lines on her father in getting out of trouble once when her father was mad at her.
Jerry Seinfeld told the author that the nervousness of his first doing “The Tonight Show” was like a full body flu.
At age 12, Marlo Thomas wrote a school essay. When she read it to her touring father, he was so moved he decided to stop touring and decided to stay home and do a TV series instead. When her father returned, her mother would tell her to leave the bed because “we have to make room for daddy”. The name of the Danny Thomas TV series was be “Make Room for Daddy”.
The author grew up near where gossip columnist Louella Parsons lived. People were afraid to be seen by her for fear of what she would write. Children would not go to her house on Halloween for trick or treat.
Danny Thomas would tell stories on TV interview programs about his family. When he humorously told about Marlo getting her first bra, she didn’t leave the house for a week afterwards.
The author, lacking oval eyes, was cast in the role of a Chinese woman on “Bonanza”. She filmed the movie “Jenny” with Alan Alda. She then starred in her own TV series “That Girl”. Danny Arnold was a workaholic producer on that series who knew writing, directing, and editing. The work day would begin at 5 am and he’d still be at work when she left at 9:30 pm. Groucho Marx read for the role of her father on the series. Lew Hunter was given the role.