Marlo Thomas is an actress, producer, author, and social activist who began her entertainment career in 1960. She is probably best known for starring in the sitcom ‘That Girl.’ However, she is also well-known as the creator of the children’s franchise ‘Free to Be… You and Me.’ It is estimated that Marlo Thomas’ net worth is $150 million, and here is how the multi-award-winning actress accrued her wealth.
Marlo Thomas’ Early Life
Born as Margaret Julia Thomas in Michigan on November 21, 1937, Marlo Thomas became known as Marlo when her parents nicknamed her Margo, and she mispronounced the nickname. Her father was Danny Thomas, an actor, producer, comedian, and singer. Thomas’ brother, Tony, was also in the entertainment industry as he was a film and television producer. Marlo Thomas also has a sister, Terre.
Starting Her Career in Entertainment
During the first five years of her career, Marlo Thomas had small roles in multiple television series. Some of these included ‘Bonanza,’ ‘Arrest and Trial,’ ‘My Favorite Martian,’ ‘The Joey Bishop Show,’ ‘The Donna Reed Show,’ ‘Ben Casey,’ McHale’s Navy,’ ’77 Sunset Strip,’ and ‘The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.’
Landing a Role in That Girl
Marlo Thomas did not get her big break until 1965. First, she was cast in a leading role in the stage production ‘Barefoot in the Park.’ Then, Thomas starred in ‘Two’s Company’ which was a sitcom pilot that aired on ABC.
Unfortunately, the series did not sell, but it brought Thomas to the ABC executives’ attention. During discussions with the executives, Thomas came up with the idea of a sitcom about a young woman leaving home and moving to New York to become an actress. The executives liked the idea, and they cast Thomas in the lead role of Ann Marie in the sitcom they titled ‘That Girl’, the role for which she is still best known.
When ‘That Girl’ first aired on ABC in 1966, people considered it a ground-breaking series as it was one of the first television shows to focus on the life of a single, working woman who did not live at home with her parents.
Thomas was also considered a trailblazer as she was only the second woman to produce her own television series, the first being Lucille Ball. The series was an immediate success, and it ran for 136 episodes before Thomas decided to end it in 1971. After ‘That Girl’ ended, it became a popular syndication.
Thomas’ Career After ‘That Girl’
Once ‘That Girl’ ended, Thomas decided to explore different opportunities. To help her expand her horizons, she studied with Less Strasberg at the Actors Studio. She also decided to become a writer and released the book ‘Free to Be… You and Me’ in 1972. During the 1970s and 1980s, Thomas recorded several television specials relating to the book.
During the 1970s, Marlo Thomas began accepting film roles. Her first film was the 1970 movie ‘Jenny,’ in which she played the lead character of the same name. Thomas was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance. She then played Sally Cramer in the 1977 film ‘Thieves.’ Although she had ventured into the film industry, Thomas also continued to work in television.
Some of the series in which she appeared during the 1970s included ‘The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie’ and ‘The Practice.’ She also had roles in television movies such as ‘Acts of Love and Other Comedies’ and ‘It Happened One Christmas.’ Thomas’ professional success continued into the 1980s. First, she hosted the 1980 documentary ‘The Body Human: The Facts for Girls.’ She then played Kathryn Beck in the 1984 television movie ‘The Last Honor of Kathryn Beck, for which she was also the producer.
Her next role was Tess Lynd in the 1985 television movie ‘Consenting Adult,’ for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe. She was nominated for another Golden Globe the following year for her performance as Marie Balter in ‘Nobody’s Child.’
Although she was unsuccessful in winning a Golden Globe, she did win a Primetime Emmy Award. During the 1990s, she worked in both film and television. The films in which she had roles included ‘In the Spirit,’ ‘Falling Down,’ ‘The Real Blonde,’ ‘Starstruck,’ and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.’ She also had roles in three television movies, two of which she produced, and small roles in multiple television series.
Although her career has slowed down somewhat since the turn of the millennium, she is still active in both film and television. Since 2000, Thomas has had roles in four films. Most recently, she played Rene in the 2018 movie ‘Ocean’s 8.’ In television, she has had roles in two television films, including two that she produced. Thomas has also continued to appear on television occasionally. These include ‘Friends,’ ‘Ally McBeal,’ ‘Ugly Betty,’ ‘Deceit,’ ‘The Ballers,’ ‘The New Normal,’ and ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.’ Her most recent television role was playing Vivian in a 2017 episode of a television series called ‘Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later.’
Marlo Thomas’ Net Worth
Marlo Thomas’ net worth is estimated at $150 million. She has made this money from her acting career in both film and television. Thomas has also made money from her work as a producer and author. She has accrued her wealth over a career in entertainment that spans seven decades.
Her Personal Life
Thomas’ first high-profile, long-term relationship was with the playwright Herb Gardener. She then met television host Phil Donahue in 1977 when she was a guest on his talk show ‘Donahue.’
Thomas later described it as love at first sight. The couple married in 1980, and Thomas became stepmother to Donahue’s five children from his previous marriage. She has said that she took on the role of their friend rather than attempting to become a second mother.
You can also read:
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee