Happy Birthday Danny Thomas!


Danny Thomas (January 6, 1912 – February 6, 1991) was an American comedian and television and film actor, and later producer, who is best remembered for for his starring role on the sitcom Make Room for Daddy, later known as The Danny Thomas Show. His acting career spanned five decades, and he later went to produce such shows as The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, and The Mod Squad. As a producer, Thomas was responsible for actress Mary Tyler Moore's first major role on television, personally recommending "the girl with three names" to Carl Reiner for The Dick Van Dyke Show. Thomas was the founder of the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. 

Danny_thomas_jerry_dingle_baby_snooks_1945 Thomas as "Jerry Dingle", 1945.

dthomas1Amos Muzyad Yakhoob Kairouz was born in Deerfield, Michigan to Lebanese immigrants Charles and Margaret Taouk. When Tauok began performing on the radio in Detroit on The Happy Hour Club, he first performed under his Anglicized birth name, "Amos Jacobs Kairouz." Later, he moved to Chicago and began working in clubs under the name "Danny Thomas", after two of his brothers. On the radio, Thomas played Amos on The Bickersons, which began as a recurring sketch on the music-comedy show Drene Time. Thomas also played postman "Jerry Dingle" on The Baby Snooks Show and the The Big Show, a variety program on NBC hosted by Tallulah Bankhead.

In 1952, Thomas starred in The Jazz Singer opposite Peggy Lee. Beginning in 1953, Thomas embarked on a 13-year run of his showMake Room for Daddy, which was later known simply as The Danny Thomas Show. Production took place at Desilu Studios, the home of Lucille Ball's show, I Love Lucy.





Much of the show's immense popularity has been attributed to the wonderful screen chemistry of Thomas and Angela Cartwright (above), who played his daughter Linda on the show. 



Thomas and costar Majorie Lord, 1967.


Thomas with Desi Arnaz.

Because of this relationship, Make Room for Daddy enjoyed several guest stars, including Andy Griffith and Desi Arnaz. Later, Thomas and the rest of the cast would reprise their roles for an "update" of the show, Make Room for Grandaddy, but the show only lasted one season. 


as "Kolak", an alien from the planet Twilo, on The Dick Van Dyke Show

Thomas went on to produce several successful sitcoms, including The Andy Griffith Show, The Tycoon, and The Real McCoys. Thomas often appeared in cameos on the shows he produced, including an alien named Kolak in The Dick Van Dyke Show science-fiction spoof, "It May Look Like A Walnut."

Danny Thomas personally recommended the young actress Mary Tyler Moore for the role of Laura Petrie. Years before, Moore had auditioned for the role of the elder daughter on Make Room for Daddy, but was turned down because, as Thomas explained, "no daughter of mine could have that [little] nose."


Thomas breaking ground for the St Jude Children's Research Hospital.

A devout Catholic throughout his life, Thomas made a vow in his early career that if he ever became successful, he would open a shrine to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes. In 1962, Thomas founded the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. To this day, the hospital's mission is to treat young cancer patients regardless of their race, religion, or their ability to pay. Since it's establishment in 1962, the hospital has increased the rate of survival for childhood cancers from below 20 percent to 80 percent today.


Thomas and his wife Rose Marie Cassaniti are survived by their children, the actresses Marlo Thomas, Terre Thomas, and televsion producer Tony Thomas. The family remains involved in the fundraising and mission of St Jude Children's Hospital.

Rose Marie was pregnant with their eldest daughter, Margaret "Marlo" Thomas, when the actor, struggling with his career and facing mounting hospital bills, made a promise to St. Jude to build a shrine to him some day, if his patron saint would look after him, giving his last seven dollars as an offering. Thomas never forgot his promise, and remained involved in the hospital for the rest of his life. Remembering her father's devotion, Marlo said, "The hospital was his absolute passion. He lived it, he dreamt it."


In 2012, in honor of the 50th anniversary of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Thomas was honored with a personalized "forever" stamp, unveiled during a gala remembering the devoted philanthropist. 


Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Monday, 06 January 2014
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