As “Amos Jacobs” at WMBC radio in Detroit

One the 10 children, Danny thomas was born top top January 6, 1912, in Deerfield, Michigan, come Charles Yakhoob Kairouz and his wife Margaret Taouk. His parents were Maronite Catholic immigrants from Lebanon. Thomas was elevated in Toledo, Ohio, attending St. Francis de Sales Church (Roman Catholic), Woodward High School, and also finally the college of Toledo, whereby he to be a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Thomas was confirmed in the Catholic Church by the bishop of Toledo, Samuel Stritch. Stritch, a indigenous of Tennessee, was a lifelong spirituality advisor because that Thomas, and advised him to situate the St. Jude Hospital in Memphis. He married increased Marie Cassaniti in 1936, a mainly after his 24th birthday.

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In 1932, Thomas began performing top top radio in Detroit at WMBC on The Happy Hour Club. Thomas first performed under his Anglicized birth name, “Amos Jacobs Kairouz.” ~ he moved to Chicago in 1940, thomas did not want his friends and family to recognize he went ago into functioning clubs where the salary was better, so he come up through the pseudonym “Danny Thomas” (after two of his brothers).

He deserve to be uncovered living in Ward 6, Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio, in the 1920 U. S. Census as Amos Jacobs, the very same in the 1930 Census, and also in 1940 living in Ward 2, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, as Amos J. Jacobs, a radio and theatrical artist. Further, the 1930 Census claims his parents to be born in Syria; if the 1920 Census states that they to be born in “Seria”, and that their mommy tongue is “Serian”.

Career before television

Danny plays residence with tv daughter Linda

The show was created at Desilu Studios, where Lucille Ball was appearing alongside Desi Arnaz Sr. in I Love Lucy, and it featured several guest stars that went on to star in their very own shows, including Andy Griffith (The Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry RFD), Joey Bishop, and Bill Bixby (My favourite Martian and others). He also scored a significant success in ~ the London Palladium, in the years when many large American stars showed up there.

Thomas, Jack Benny, and Bob Hope in a in march 1968 Jack Benny special

Thomas to be responsible for Mary Tyler Moore‘s first “big break” in acting. In 1961, Carl Reiner actors her in The cock Van Dyke Show after cutting board personally recommended Moore. He had actually remembered her together “the girl with 3 names” who he had actually turned down earlier, however rediscovered her after a prolonged search with photos and records.

Return to television

In the at an early stage 1970s, thomas reunited many of his second Daddy cast (Marjorie Lord, Rusty Hamer, and Angela Cartwright) for a short-lived update of the show, Make Room for Granddaddy. Premised around Danny and also Kathy Williams caring for your grandson by daughter Terry, who was away with her husband on a long business assignment, the show lasted one season.

By the mid-1970s, Thomas’ son Tony had end up being an completed television producer. Tony, along with Paul Junger Witt, formedWitt/Thomas Productions in 1975, and also was responsible because that his father’s following three (and ultimately final) certification vehicles. Thomas reverted to collection TV in the NBC sitcom, The Practice, indigenous January 1976 come January 1977, and after that I’m a large Girl Now, which aired on alphabet from 1980 to 1981.

The last series in which thomas was a headlining star was One huge Family, i m sorry aired in syndication during the 1986–1987 season. The situation comedy’s premise was set around a semiretired comedian whose grandchildren to be orphaned after their parents were eliminated in a auto accident.


Thomas, like countless actors influential in television, endorsed commercial products. In particular, two companies that featured him in their heralding were Maxwell House, whose immediate coffee the endorsed (though it had no decaffeinated variant at the time, the later asserted he had actually been endorsing a “decaffeinated” prompt coffee and also the coffee he in reality drank had a high caffeine content), and Philips Norelco‘s “Dial-A-Brew” version of the short-lived “Better Cup the Coffee” heat of electric drip coffee-makers. One of his other “commercials” was in reality a public-service message, with fund-raising goals, because that St. Jude Children’s study Hospital.

St. Jude Children’s study Hospital

As a “starving actor”, Thomas had actually made a vow: If he discovered success, the would open a shrine devoted to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint the hopeless causes. Thomas never forgot his promise to St. Jude, and after coming to be a successful actor in the early on 1950s, his wife joined him and also began travel the United claims to assist raise funds to develop his dream – St. Jude Children’s research Hospital.<14> He fervently thought “no child have to die in the dawn the life.” With assist from Dr. Lemuel Diggs and nearby friend, Anthony Abraham, an auto magnate in Miami, Florida, Thomas founded the St. Jude Children’s research study Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1962. Since its inception, St. Jude has treated youngsters from all 50 states and around the world, continuing the mission of recognize cures and saving children. Dr. Peter C. Doherty of St. Jude’s Immunology Department, was a co-recipient the the Nobel prize in Physiology or medicine in 1996 for crucial discoveries on how the immune mechanism works to death virus-infected cells.

Personal life

Danny cutting board was a struggling young comic when he met rose Marie Mantell (born climbed Marie Cassaniti), who had a to sing career with her own radio present in Detroit, Michigan. They were married top top January 15, 1936, and also had three children, Margaret Julia (“Marlo”), Theresa (“Terre”), and also Charles Anthony (“Tony”) Thomas. Thomas’ children followed him into entertainment in assorted capacities: his daughter Marlo is an actress, his son Tony is a tv producer, and his daughter Terre thomas is an completed singer-songwriter. Cutting board was also the son-in-law of Marie “Mary” Cassaniti (1896–1972), a drummer and percussionist for “Marie’s merry Music Makers”.

Thomas was initiated, passed, and raised to the sublime degree of understand Mason Freemasonry at Gothic Lodge #270 F&AM located at Hamilton Square, NJ, on march 15, 1984, by distinct dispensation that the NJ grand Master. Throughout May 1985, he was made a 32° Mason and additionally a Noble in Al Malaikah Shrine located at Los Angeles, CA. Thomas also filmed the arrival to the Masonic business Association’s movie, When the tape Stops Playing.

A devout Maronite Catholic, cutting board was called a Knight commander of the Order the the holy Sepulchre by Pope Paul VI in acknowledgment of his solutions to the church and the community. He was a member the the great Shepherd Parish and also the Catholic Motion photo Guild in Beverly Hills, California.<19> In 1983, President Ronald Reagan presented Thomas v a Congressional gold Medal honoring him because that his work with St. Jude Children’s research Hospital. Thomas was one of the initial owners of theMiami Dolphins, along with Joe Robbie, however he offered his property share soon after the purchase. He to be an avid golfer, claimed a ten golf handicap, and also competed withSam Snead in a charity event. Two PGA Tour tournaments bore his name: the Danny Thomas-Diplomat Classic in southern Florida in 1969 and also the Danny thomas Memphis Classic from 1970 to 1984. He was additionally the very first non-Jewish member of the Hillcrest country Club in Los Angeles.

In 1990, Danny cutting board was inducted right into the Television hall of Fame.


Thomas passed away on February 6, 1991, of heart failure at age 79, in Los Angeles, California. 2 days prior, he had celebrated St. Jude Hospital’s 29th anniversary and filmed a commercial, i beg your pardon aired posthumously. The is interred in a mausoleum on the grounds the the St. Jude Children’s research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee; Cassaniti, his mam of 55 years, to be interred v him ~ her death in July 2000.

Awards and also honors

Thomas was a posthumous recipient of the 2004 Bob hope Humanitarian Award.

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On February 16, 2012, the United states Postal Service issued a first-class forever stamp honoring cutting board as an entertainer and also humanitarian. The Danny cutting board Forever Stamp attributes an oil-on-panel painting illustrating a smiling, tuxedo-clad cutting board in the foreground and St. Jude Children’s research study Hospital in the background. Tim O’Brien produced the artwork for the stamp, which was designed through Greg Breeding. William J. Glicker offered as arts director. Joining with each other to dedicate the stamp were male Cottrell, chief postal inspector and dedicating official; Thomas’ son and also St. Jude Children’s study Hospital board member, Tony; Richard Shadyac Jr., chief executive officer, ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s research Hospital; Dr. Wilhelm E. Evans, director and also chief executive officer, St. Jude Children’s study Hospital; and Stephen Kearney, manager, rubber stamp Services, U.S. Postal Service.