Danny Thomas - Biography - IMDb
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Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trade Mark (5)  | Trivia (96)  | Personal Quotes (37)  | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Born in Deerfield, Michigan, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameMuzyad Yakhoob
Nicknames Muzzy
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Known primarily as a TV actor, he starred as a nightclub singer on the popular The Danny Thomas Show (1953).

He also served TV behind the cameras partnering with Sheldon Leonard and Aaron Spelling to create such shows as Dick Van Dyke's show, The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961), The Andy Griffith Show (1960) and Mod Squad (1968).

He was also dedicated to building the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, which he founded in 1962.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ray Hamel

Family (3)

Spouse Rose Marie Mantell Thomas (15 January 1936 - 6 February 1991)  (his death)  (3 children)
Children Marlo Thomas
Tony Thomas
Terre Thomas
Parents Charles Yakhoob Kairouz
Margaret Christen Kairouz

Trade Mark (5)

His eagle beak nose
He, Sheldon Leonard, and son Tony Thomas, each produced several long-running sitcoms and/or dramas.
A couple of his characters were entertainment performers.
Frequently played characters that were gruff in tone
His loud, nasal voice

Trivia (96)

Took his stage name from his eldest brother Thomas and his youngest brother Danny. Most of his friends called him "Jake".
Though he was a spokesman for Sanka decaffeinated coffee, he later confessed that he never drank it. He claimed he could drink cup after cup of Maxwell House coffee and still fall asleep minutes later.
Child of Lebanese immigrants.
Was a founding minority owner of the National Football League's Miami Dolphins.
Danny Williams, his character on The Danny Thomas Show (1953), was ranked #5 in "TV Guide'"s list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" in its 20 June 2004 issue.
Founded St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Guest speaker at the 1973 National Boy Scout Jamboree in Butler, PA.
Was offered the lead role in The Jolson Story (1946) after James Cagney turned it down. He also turned it down.
Godmother of his daughter Marlo Thomas was Loretta Young.
His The Danny Thomas Show (1953) co-star, Angela Cartwright, said in an interview that TV producer Irwin Allen was a huge fan of Thomas' show, and asked her to audition for a sci-fi series he was producing that eventually wound up to be Lost in Space (1965), which was loosely based on the novel, "The Swiss Family Robinson".
Angela Cartwright's parrot was named after him.
Father-in-law of Phil Donahue.
Best remembered by the public for his starring role as nightclub entertainer Danny Williams on The Danny Thomas Show (1953).
Before he was a successful TV actor, he was a radio actor.
Met his future wife, Rose Marie Mantell Thomas, at a Happy Hour Club in Detroit, MI, when he was 23.
Before he was a successful actor, he used to work at a nightclub in Chicago, IL.
His daughter, Margaret Julia--better known as Marlo Thomas)--was named after his mother.
Survived by his wife, Rosie Marie, of 55 years and three children: Marlo Thomas, Terre Thomas and Tony Thomas.
Graduated from Woodward High School in Toledo, OH, in 1931.
Was the first actor to legally change his name, twice, before Jane Wyman, Julie London and Robert Fuller.
He and his brother Raymond were a vaudeville team as children.
Before he became a successful comedian and producer, he sold candy with his brother, Raymond, in a vaudeville theater called the Continuous Burlesque.
By the time his mother Margaret Christen reached 30 she had ten children, from 12 pregnancies.
Brother of Tom Jacobs.
His entire family moved to Toledo, OH, after his birth, until times were better.
Has a street named after him in Memphis, TN.
His mother-in-law, Marie "Mary" Cassaniti, died in 1972.
"Billboard" and "Variety" named him Best Newcomer in Radio in 1945, but he was eventually fired.
Before his death, his final guest-starring appearance was on Empty Nest (1988), which was produced by his son Tony Thomas' production company.
His uncle Tonoose and Aunt Julia were originally from Detroit, MI.
His father Charles Yakhoob raised horses.
Enjoyed singing, dancing, golfing, spending time with family, helping terminally ill children, dining, smoking, traveling and reading.
With Thomas' encouragement, after graduating from Woodward High School in Toledo, OH--which was also his alma mater--Jamie Farr decided to become an actor.
His The Danny Thomas Show (1953) character was Lebanese, as was Thomas, in real-life.
His father, Charles Yakhoob, died in 1953.
His first radio show was called "The Happy Hour Club".
In 1944 he volunteered to go overseas with Marlene Dietrich's USO troupe.
When he was only three his Aunt Julia became a surrogate mother to him.
In the 1960s he was instrumental in developing the career of a struggling young actress named Mary Tyler Moore, by co-starring her with Dick Van Dyke in a sitcom he was developing--The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961).
Had always wanted to do a television series, but it took a long time for him and producing partner--and fellow actor--Sheldon Leonard to develop the pilot of The Danny Thomas Show (1953), due to Thomas' busy schedule.
While still a young man, Ronald Reagan used to play basketball in Thomas' backyard with the neighborhood kids.
When Rose gave birth to their last child, Tony Thomas, Danny was set to name him Charles Anthony, in honor of his father and uncle.
His Aunt Julia died in a car crash in 1932 and his uncle Tenoose died the following year.
Pictured on a nondenominated ("forever") USA commemorative postage stamp issued in his honor 16 February 2012. It also commemorated the 50th anniversary of the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which Thomas founded in February 1962. Price of the stamp on day of issue was 45¢.
Interred in a mausoleum on the grounds of the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.
The only time he got pied in the face was by his ex-The Danny Thomas Show (1953) co-star, Marjorie Lord, who played his second wife on the show.
At Lewis Street Center, he was the center of his basketball team. At the time, he was only 5'10".
When he was ten years old he first became acquainted with the doings of Crotchy Callahan--a mainstay of his nightclub act for years.
He passed away on February 6, 1991, just prior to the release of his autobiography and a few days after he guest-starred on Empty Nest (1988).
Just before his death, he made his last guest-appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Jay Leno (guest host), Richard Dreyfuss, Danny Thomas, Kelly Preston, Celine Dion (1991), January 29.
His first job was as an extra in a Charles Chaplin film when he was only age eight.
His barber, Harry Gelbart (who was the son of M*A*S*H (1972)'s Larry Gelbart) had told some stories about him as a teenager.
Just before Larry Gelbart became a successful comedy writer, he worked for Thomas' radio show, after his father, whom Thomas liked, showed him a lot of jokes Gelbart had written.
Was always ashamed of his small-town roots, and forsook Deerfield, MI. It may also be that he only lived there for such a short time that he didn't feel he owed anyone anything.
Was healthy and physically active until his death of a heart attack at age 79.
Before Aaron Spelling had his own production company, he worked for Thomas.
Had a son, Chris Thomas, who was born out of wedlock. [8 May 1960].
Appeared on the front cover of "TV Guide" nine times.
Began his film career as a contract player for MGM in 1947 and Warner Bros. in 1951.
Through Rose Marie, he saw Marjorie Lord in the play "Anniversary Waltz". He went to see her backstage and invited her to come down to the studio to discuss her playing one of his weekly dates on The Danny Thomas Show (1953). The two began a lifelong friendship from 1956 until Thomas' death in 1991.
His son Tony Thomas ran his own production company with Susan Harris and Paul Junger Witt.
Before he was a successful comedian, he had such jobs as busing tables, punch-press operator's assistant in a lumber yard, k amateur entertainer at at WMBC Radio in Detroit, MI.
His series The Danny Thomas Show (1953) was actually based on 14 years of his' real-life persona as a nightclub entertainer.
His widow, Rose Marie Mantell Thomas, was Italian.
Was born during a blizzard.
Began his show The Danny Thomas Show (1953) at age 41.
Attended the University of Toledo, where he was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.
Was a posthumous recipient of the 2004 Bob Hope Humanitarian Award.
In 1968 he was Interviewed in "The Great Comedians Talk About Comedy" by Larry Wilde.
His daughter, Terre Thomas, began singing in grade school.
His granddaughter, Dionne, was named after Dionne Warwick.
Before he was a successful comedian, both he and Rose Marie Mantell Thomas worked as amateur entertainers at WMBC in Detroit, MI.
In 1974 he was invited back to take part in a show to benefit the Lebanese Red Cross in Beirut.
When he was working on an episode of The Lone Ranger (1949), he was hired to make sounds of horses' hooves by beating his chest with two toilet plungers.
His widow, Rose Marie Mantell Thomas, died on July 12, 2000, at 86.
When he was born, he was nicknamed 'Muzzy'.
When he was 35 his father Charles Yakhoob was diagnosed with lung cancer. Like Thomas himself, his father was a heavy smoker. He died in 1953.
Tried to get a television show that starred Tim Conway (formerly of McHale's Navy (1962)), but it failed to sell.
Long before Carrie McDowell became a member of the Christian pop/dance duo "Two Hearts" with her husband, Michael Hodge, she once opened a show with him, in Reno, NV.
According to his The Danny Thomas Show (1953) co-star Angela Cartwright, he was absolutely loud and gregarious, the opposite of her own father.
Was born on a horse farm. He rode horses when he was young.
Resided in Los Angeles, CA, from 1947 until his death in 1991.
Before Martin Short went on to have a successful career in comedy, he worked with Thomas.
He was considered for the role of Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972) before Marlon Brando was cast.
Inducted into the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame in 2015 (inaugural class).
Surrogate father of Rusty Hamer, Sherry Jackson and Angela Cartwright.
His uncle Abe Lastfogel was head of the prestigious William Morris Agency.
Several of his screenplays and lyrics songs were written by Jerry Seelen.
His The Danny Thomas Show (1953) co-stars Angela Cartwright and Rusty Hamer all appeared in the episode of The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show (1956), on New Years' Day, 1959.
Best remembered for having taken Angela Cartwright under his wing, when she was only 5 years old. Their friendship had lasted 34 years, until Thomas's own death, early in 1991.
Almost like Danny himself, his mother moved to Toledo, Ohio, with her family, when Margaret was only 10.
Was a spokesperson for Union Fidelity Life Insurance Company in the 1980s.
His uncle, Abe Lastfogel, died on August 25, 1984.
Best friend of Telly Savalas. Thomas guest-starred opposite him on the last episode of Kojak (1973).
Acting and producing ran in his family.
Has a park and a monument dedicated to him on Broadway Street in Toledo, Ohio.

Personal Quotes (37)

Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It's what you do for others.
Then a fellow whose wife had just been cured of cancer of the womb came into this little night club where I was playing and told me about St. Jude, the patron of the hopeless. So I went around to church and told him.
[In 1957]: I understand you're the patron of the hopeless. Well, that's me. I want to know whether I should stay in showbusiness. If I shouldn't, please make me a sign. If I do stay and if I make good in a big way, I'll build you a shrine.
[When he moved to Chicago, where he worked at a small night club, where he was paid $50 a week, before he made $500]: I got through my act at 4:30 A.M. and I went to a 5 A.M. mass to thank God. As I knelt, I saw in the pew in front of me a huge pamphlet with St. Jude's picture mentioning a novena in honor of a national shrine. I remembered the vow I'd made and I saw why I come there. This was St. Jude's hometown.
[When in 1945 his career began to escalate]: By 1946, I could have built an altar and fulfilled my obligation. By 1948, I could have built a small chapel. By 1950, I could have built a larger one.
[In 1957]: It's the difference between having your merchandise in the basement or having it in the street window.
[About The Danny Thomas Show (1953) being a ratings bonanza]: By all rights, I should have been off the air by now. Every law of television would dictate that I was through. And I could have done very well financially if I had quit. I then could have released our four-year backlog for reruns and made a lot of money. But everything in me revolted against quitting that way.
[About art]: So, the success we've had is truly 'art for art's sake.'
[When asked if he thought The Danny Thomas Show (1953) did much better during the 1957 season]: I don't see how I can say that it is, except that in our fifth year we should be working even better as a team. But I don't think that we have ever had a really bad show; at least that's what people tell me.
Certainly we couldn't have asked for more awards or critical raves than we got in our first three years. And we got up to a good rating too. But last year, we came right in the middle of 'Climax' and we couldn't do a thing.
[When asked as to how long he could continue starring as Danny Williams]: I have options for two more years after this one. I'd like to do at least one more year in deference to the sponsors. Then I'd like to slow down and let the reruns work for me.
[on the hospital he was promoting]: It is my belief that St. Jude Hospital will one day announce to the world the great tidings of a cure for leukemia or cancer or even both. I am proud to beg for this project.
[In 1961]: Situation comedy! I hate the term. There's all that talk about giving the public education on TV. We haven't yet educated the public to appreciate what it is getting now.
Why should all shows be lumped into the category of 'situation comedy?' They should be called 'life shows,' because they reflect life. Do you know why they have the tragic and the comic masks in the theater?
[Of his ex-partner Sheldon Leonard developing another TV series]: Sheldon Leonard [his director] and I sometimes discuss it. We think we are tired and have no place to go. But then we say, 'What we would do if we quit? Start another series?' We could never find another cast and crew as congenial as this one. We love each other. We see more of each other than we do of our own families. Should we give this up?
[Who said in 1962 about thanking people who contributed to his hospital]: It took a rabble-rousing, hook-nosed comedian to get your attention, but it took your heart, your loving minds, your generous souls to make this dream come true.
[Who said in 1964 about the character of St. Joseph]: It's a story that has never been told before.
Nobody has anything to be ashamed of regarding his national origins - and by golly, I'm trying to prove it.
I'll do Yiddish, Greek, Arabic, Negro, Italian and Irish vernaculars, and to heck with the squawks.
[In 1959]: Dialect jokes are the best weapons available to fight prejudice. People who complain about dialect bits cause more bigotry than they prevent. Afterall, everybody in this country belongs to some kind of minority group.
[Said about the dialect jokes are a forgotten art, thanks to over-sensitive groups and individuals]: From now on, I'm going to us as much dialect material as possible in my guest appearances. I can't use dialect stuff on my own show because it doesn't fit in.
Semi-retired? I've been working like crazy for the past three years.
[Who rhapsodized on his stand-up's role]: It's the epitome of entertainers: to stand alone and hold an audience. There aren't many who can do it. You either fight the bull or you conduct the symphony ... If the audience resists you, then you are like the matador in the so-called fight. Or you can be the conductor, calling for pianissimo or fortissimo-as you lead the symphony.
[Who responded in 1986 about his legs that are rebelling after a lifetime as a stand-up comedian]: Oh, no, that's different. A stand-up comedian doesn't have to wait for other people. Out there, it's only God, the audience and you.
[When his son Tony Thomas promised his father he shouldn't have to work, everyday]: That's the only promise Tony's ever broken.
[In 1964]: All our shows have a preoccupation with trouble. Nothing is shared by so many people.
[on the death of Lucille Ball in 1989]: She was the best female clown that ever lived, no question .... Lucy did everything - jumping in a barrel of cement, light her nose, eat candy off the conveyor belt.
[When asked if he was tempted by the gorgeous Vegas chorus girls]: Not in 36 years of marriage. However, the first woman who helps me cheat gets $400.
[In 1988]: Once in a while, I used to consider cheating. Then I would think of my Sicilian wife and a Sicilian funeral.
[In 1989]: Today, they've got no place to stink. I played the beer gardens when 3.2 beer first came out. Nobody listened. When men wanted to go to the bathroom, they didn't walk around you. They walked right in front of you and didn't care. But that was OK, because we were bad then.
If I were starting out today. I wouldn't make it.
[About to read the Academy Awards voting rules] For you people watching at home, this might be a good time to make some dip.
[on his popularity of playing the forty-five something nightclub singer/father Danny Williams on The Danny Thomas Show (1953)]: I've always felt ... well, in 'Make Room For Daddy,' we had fun, but we said something about disciplined love, love of children, love of neighbor and so on. That's lacking a lot right now. Unfortunately, mothers and fathers have to work so much now that we are getting more houses and fewer homes.
[In 1976]: If there's a basic reason for the success of TV shows, it is their preoccupation with trouble. Nothing else is shared by so many people!
My people are inherently storytellers. When I was a kid, the entertainment was somebody from the old country or a big city who came and visited and told tales of where they came from.
[About the population of St. Jude]: Never mind the old routines, the new TV show or anything else. Raising money for St. Jude is my reason for living. Until I die I will continue to beg for more. A part of the reason I decided to do the new show is to introduce a new generation to this guy with the hooked nose. Then, when I ask for their dollars for St. Jude, they'll know who I am. And I plan to be asking for their dollars for a long time.
[About the institution where he embarked on terminally ill-cancer patients]: That hospital is my only interest in life. That's why I was born. If I must be remembered, it will be for that more than anything else.

Salary (1)

I'll See You in My Dreams (1951) $50 .000

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