I was thinking today about how much television has changed over the decades in regards to the new ratings standards & then I remembered a popular wholesome television show that ran for about five years from the mid sixties to the early seventies called 'That Girl'. 'That Girl' starred the then, up and coming actress Marlo Thomas. Thomas was born in Detroit in 1937 and is the daughter of the late comedian Danny Thomas who is well known for being the founder of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Marlo has kept her father's legacy of 'hope' alive as she has continued on as national outreach director.
Thomas' career fell into place easily because of her father's rapport in the business, starting out in small roles and then making her own mark when she got the lead role on the popular, now vintage sitcom. Ironically, life was imitating art or the other way around maybe, because the plot was based on the life of an aspiring actress who moves from her small hometown to make it in the big city. To many, Marlo Thomas is considered to rank up there with the top 10 fashion icons of the 60's. From her signature flip hair style, to the bold geometric, colorful fashions she wore that inspired a generation, she was the ultimate 'girl next door' who made being smart, funny & beautiful admirable.
In a sense, Thomas was instrumental in moving women towards the future of 'doing it for themselves' so to speak as her character Ann Marie in the show, was a young woman who graduated from college, didn't rush into getting married and having children, but rather moved away from home to live on her own and pursue her own career goals. Looking back in retrospect, I wonder if Candace Bushnell who wrote 'Sex In The City', used Thomas' character in 'That Girl' as her muse? Or is it just a coincidence that Carrie Bradshaw & Ann Marie were both trend setting clothes horses, living in New York City? Things that make you go Mmm? I'm pretty sure she would never fess up to it, but makes you think doesn't it?
Now in her early 70's, Marlo mostly continues to work with St. Jude but hasn't really done any acting in over a decade. Active in fundraising for the children's cancer charity, she continues to donate all proceeds from her book, 'Thanks & Giving: All Year Long' to the hospital that offers support to gravely ill kids who otherwise couldn't afford treatment.
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