Marlo Thomas: Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau

Marlo Thomas

Award-winning Actress, Author, and Activist

Marlo Thomas is an award-winning actress, author and activist whose body of work has continued to impact American entertainment and culture for the past half-century. She has been honored with four Emmy Awards, the Peabody, a Golden Globe and a Grammy, and has been inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame. A frontline soldier of the early feminist movement and tireless humanitarian, she is also the recipient of the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award, which pays tribute to individuals fulfilling the mission of Dr. Martin Luther King; the CLIO Honorary Healthcare Award, for her creation of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s Thanks and Giving program; the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the NAACP Pathway to Excellence Award and the Helen Caldicott Award for Nuclear Disarmament. In 2011, she was honored with the Jefferson Award for Public Service, which she received along with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; and this past December, she was named ABC News’ Person of the Week.

Born into a show business family—her father was TV star Danny Thomas—Thomas worked her way up through summer stock and TV roles, making her breakthrough when Mike Nichols cast her in the London production of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. She won raves and came home a star.

In 1966, Thomas created and executive-produced That Girl, the first situation comedy about an independent young woman living on her own and pursuing a career. The show made Thomas a household name, as well as television history, opening the door for such other iconic female characters as Mary Richards and Murphy Brown. The overwhelming fan mail from That Girl introduced Thomas to the many struggles of women of that era—domestic abuse, teen pregnancy, gender and racial discrimination—and it politicized her: She became a delegate to the 1972 Democratic Convention, an initial organizer for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment; a co-creator, along with Gloria Steinem, of the Ms. Foundation, and a co-creator of the national Take Our Daughters to Work Day.

In 1972, Thomas brought her passion for fighting cultural stereotypes to a younger generation, conceiving the celebrated children’s project, Free to Be…You and Me, which included a number-one bestselling book; an Emmy Award-winning TV special; a gold record album; and a stage play. Embraced by teachers and librarians nationwide, Free to Be eventually became a part of school curriculum in 35 states. Its impact continues to be felt today, as parents hand it down to a new generation of children.

Throughout it all, Thomas has continued to be a presence on television, producing and starring in dozens of issues-oriented films, three of them groundbreaking movies based on true stories: Consenting Adults, about a mother coming to grips with her teenage son’s homosexuality; Ultimate Betrayal, about a woman coping with the scars of childhood sexual abuse; and Nobody’s Child, about a woman’s journey out of mental illness, for which Thomas won the Emmy for Best Dramatic Actress.

On stage, she explored such complex issues as death and dying (The Shadow Box), wrongful conviction (The Exonerated) and the emotional aftermath of 9/11 (The Guys). Her Broadway theatre credits include Thieves (1974), Social Security (1986), The Shadow Box (1994) and Elaine May’s comedy George Is Dead, which was part of an evening of three one-act plays entitled Relatively Speaking. (The other two plays were written by Woody Allen and Ethan Coen.) Regional theatre productions include: Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Wolff at the Hartford Stage; Woman In Mind at the Berkshire Theatre Festival; Paper Doll, with F. Murray Abraham at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre; and The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds at the Cleveland Playhouse. In 1993, she toured in the National Company of Six Degrees of Separation; and in the spring of 2008, she starred in Arthur Laurents’ final play, New Year's Eve, with Keith Carradine, at the George Street Playhouse. She is currently performing in a pre-Broadway show at George Street Playhouse entitled Clever Little Lies, written by Tony Award-winner Joe DiPietro.

Thomas has also been a driving force in publishing, producing six best-selling books: Free To Be ..You and Me; Free To Be A Family; The Right Words at the Right Time; The Right Words at the Right Time, Volume 2: Your Turn!; Thanks & Giving All Year Long; and, in 2009, her memoir, Growing Up Laughing. Her next book, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over, is scheduled for release in Spring 2014.

In 2010, Thomas brought her inspiring message to an entirely different demographic—women over 35—when she launched her innovative website,, in partnership with AOL and the Huffington Post. Through informative articles, expert forums and engaging video segments, Thomas’ mission is to spark a national conversation among women that exposes the pervasiveness of ageism, and reinforces her fervent conviction that “life is not over at 40.” Her personal blogs on topical issues—from equal pay, to women’s athletics, to her new national campaign to eradicate bullying—and her wildly popular interview show, “Mondays With Marlo” (the first show of its kind on the Internet), have earned her 100,000,000 page views in 2013 alone.

It would be impossible to assess the life work of Thomas without acknowledging her ongoing commitment to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which her father founded in 1962, and continues to provide life-saving medical care to children with cancer and other catastrophic illnesses. As St. Jude’s National Outreach Director, Thomas has become the public face of the hospital, spearheading the team that raises $850 million annually. In 2004, she created the annual Thanks & Giving program, an unprecedented collaborative campaign, in partnership with more than 60 of the nation’s leading corporations and retailers, that raises millions of dollars from holiday shoppers across the nation. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the campaign raised $387 million in 2013.

Thomas is married to TV talk show pioneer Phil Donahue. They live in New York City.

Interested in booking Marlo Thomas to speak at your next event?

Contact Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau.

(866) 248-3049

  • It Ain't Over Till It's Over
  • Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny
  • The Right Words at the Right Time

Your name: Your e-mail: