Marlo Thomas is an award-winning actress, author and activist whose body of work continues to impact American entertainment and culture. 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. In November 2014, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest honor a civilian can receive—by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony.
Marlo burst onto the scene as television’s That Girl, which broke new ground for independent women everywhere, and which she also conceived and produced. Her pioneering spirit continued with her creation of Free to Be...You and Me, which became a platinum album, best-selling book, Emmy Award-winning television special and a stage show. Proceeds from this project went toward the formation of Ms. Foundation for Women, which was co-founded by Marlo, Gloria Steinem, Letty Cottin Pogrebin and Pat Carbine, who also created Take Our Daughters to Work Day.
Throughout it all, she has remained a constant presence on television, including her portrayal of a mentally ill woman in Nobody’s Child, for which she won the Emmy for Best Dramatic Actress, and numerous guest appearances, including Ballers, The New Normal, Law & Order and Friends (in which she played Jennifer Aniston’s mom). She continues to win critical acclaim on stage, most recently in Elaine May’s 2012 Broadway comedy-drama, Relatively Speaking; and in Tony Award-winning playwright Joe DiPietro's 2015 dark comedy, Clever Little Lies.
Marlo has produced seven bestselling books (three of them #1 bestsellers), including: Free to Be You and Me; Free to Be a Family; The Right Words at the Right Time (Volumes 1 and 2); Thanks and Giving: All Year Long (which became a Grammy-winning CD); her memoir, Growing Up Laughing; and It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over: Reinventing Your Life and Realizing Your Dreams—Anytime, at Any Age.
She has been honored for her activism with the Helen Caldicott Award for Nuclear Disarmament, the ACLU's Thomas Paine Award, the American Women in Radio and Television Satellite Award, the William Kunstler Racial Justice Award, The National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award, and The Jefferson Award for Public Service, which she received along with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In 2010, Marlo launched her innovative website, MarloThomas.com, in partnership with AOL and the Huffington Post. Through informative articles, expert forums, video segments, and her hit weekly web interview series, "Mondays With Marlo" (featuring such celebrated guests as Dr. Oz, Suze Orman, Kelly Ripa, Jon Hamm and Chelsea Clinton), she earned 100,000,000 page views in 2014 alone. She also launched a bullying prevention campaign on the site, spearheading a nationwide anti-bullying initiative in partnership with, among others, the Ad Council, AOL, Facebook, and the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.
Marlo is the National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which was founded by her father, Danny Thomas, in 1962. Her countless fundraising and awareness campaigns have educated the public about the life-saving work being done every day at St. Jude. In 2004, she created the hospital’s annual Thanks and Giving campaign, a national holiday fundraising and awareness program that has raised nearly $700 million to date. In 2014, in recognition of her commitment to the hospital, St. Jude christened its newest building The Marlo Thomas Center for Global Education and Collaboration. Hillary Rodham Clinton presided over the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Marlo lives in New York with her husband, talk show pioneer Phil Donahue.