Tony Thomas was born into a family of talented people in the entertainment industry and learned a lot from his father, Danny Thomas. Naturally, he carved out his path as a producer and was recognized for notable works such as "The Golden Girls," "Dead Poets Society," and "Insomnia."
Born Charles Anthony Jacobs, the producer was born to be in a creative industry. Tony Thomas, as he is known, is the son of Danny Thoms from the popular television series, "The Danny Thomas Show." Although he credits his father for learning about producing, Thomas became a star in his own right.
He is the brilliant mind behind "The Golden Girls," "Dead Poets Society," and "Insomnia," all of which were highly-regarded productions. Here's a glimpse into Thomas' life, career, and celebrity sister Marlo Thomas.
Terre Thomas, Tony Thomas, Marlo Thomas, Danny Thomas in "My Sister's Keeper," circa 1969. | Source: Getty Images
HIS WORK ON "GOLDEN GIRLS"
In 1985, Tony struck career gold when he became an executive producer on "The Golden Girls," which aired 180 episodes over seven seasons from September 1985 until May 1992. The comedy focused on four older women who shared a home in Miami, Florida and became an instant hit.
Hollywood stars Betty White, Beatrice Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty graced the screens of American Television and contributed greatly to the show's massive success.
During the show's run, it received several awards, including two Primetime Emmy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series. Each actress also received Emmy Awards for their notable performances.
Tony Thomas on January 7, 2012, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images.
"The Golden Girls" made history as one of only three sitcoms to achieve such accolades. Decades after the show ended, people still remember and recognize the show's beloved cast, who all consider each other family. According to Tony:
"What we built was family. What we told America was life was not over just because you have an empty nest or you're divorced or your spouse died. You can create a new family and live another life."
Tony wanted to show his audience that no matter what happens, life goes on, and there are always people who will turn into family. Although he has poured his effort into all episodes, some scenes particularly stand out in Tony's memory.
Tony Thomas, Betty White, and Paul Junger Witt on May 4, 2006, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images.
HIS FAVORITE SCENE
"One of my favorite scenes is when Dorothy tells Rose that she realizes she's getting so old. She was talking with some of the high school kids that she was teaching and felt so young," Tony shared. "All of a sudden realized she was not that age."
Marlo won Emmy Awards throughout her career and even received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and attributed her accomplishments to her go-getter attitude.
The four ladies performed their characters exceptionally well. They perfectly sent the correct message to the audience and "brought families together."
WORKING AS A PRODUCER
Being a producer has been nothing but a gratifying experience for Tony, especially during his first few times hearing people laugh and making viewers happy. According to him, it was a beautiful experience to be part of something that brought joy to others. Tony said:
"Television fell into our laps the way that was very gratifying, not the success of course, but the laughs [...]. I go once again back to my roots making people laugh was always so moving [...]."
Tony's work brings both him and his viewers happiness. His other film and television credits include "Blossom," "Empty Nest," and "Soap."
HIS FATHER'S IMPACT
Much of his knowledge in producing came from his father's wisdom and experience in the industry. Tony said:
"My father was a great-great man on so many levels, and I learned probably most of what I know about this business truly at his feet."
When his father traveled for work, which happened often, Tony got pulled out of school and spent the best days with his family and on set.
One aspect of those visits seemed odd as Tony and his sisters' last names only changed later in life. He previously explained that he only followed his sisters' actions and changed his name to Thomas after schooling.
Because Tony received family names at birth, the family soon came up with an alternate name that stuck for life. He said:
"First of all, they always called me Tony. I was named after my grandfather Charles and my uncle, Tony. It's been a pain filling out forms as Charles A. all my life when everyone knows me as Tony."
Danny also set an example in being a good person to others. In 2012, Tony appeared on the red carpet with his wife, Ann Souder whom he married on September 24, 2005, at the 50th Anniversary fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Tony's father founded the research hospital along with other Hollywood celebrities in 1962, and it has since grown to a leading cancer research hospital. It began when Danny didn't have money to settle his wife's hospital bill, amounting to $70.
He ran to St. Jude Thaddeus to pray for help and donated $7 of the $10 in his wallet. Years later, he made it big in the industry and never forgot to pay it forward. His daughter, Marlo, is also hands-on in helping St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
PASSING DOWN DETERMINATION
Danny Thomas's determination to follow his dreams rubbed off on his children. The actress said in July 2019:
"People said to my father, 'You can't build a hospital for sick children. You're a comedian.' And they said to me, 'You can't create a television series about a single working girl. No one has ever done that.'"
Marlo ignored advice from networks that no one wanted to watch a show about a woman who chose her career over family and started working on the show "That Girl" in 1965. She was only 26 at that time and one of the youngest female producers with their own television show, following Lucille Ball.
MARLO THOMAS' CAREER
Certainly, it was a challenge. "I was surrounded by men and many didn't want to be in a situation where a woman had the power," she said. "They didn't want their paychecks signed by a woman either."
After initial struggles to get a network to air her show, it became a roaring success from its first season until its last episode five years later. Marlo won Emmy Awards throughout her career and even received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and attributed her accomplishments to her go-getter attitude.
Marlo enjoys similar successes in her private life. She married the television talk show host, Phil Donahue, in 1980, and they have a long-lasting marriage.
During an interview, Marlo Thomas shared the secrets to her almost forty-year marriage when she opened up about the cornerstones of her bond with Phil.
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