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Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny [Kindle Edition]

Marlo Thomas
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.99
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $6.00 (38%)
Sold by: Hachette Book Group


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Book Description

Growing Up Laughing is a compelling autobiographical journey--hilarious and heartfelt, intimate and inspiring. It is a book that only Marlo Thomas could write.

For as long as Thomas can remember, she's lived with laughter. Born to comedy royalty--TV and nightclub star Danny Thomas--she grew up among legendary funny men, carved much of her career in comedy and, to this day, surrounds herself with people who love and live to make others laugh. Thomas takes us on a funny and heartwarming adventure, from her Beverly Hills childhood, to her groundbreaking creation of That Girl and Free to Be . . . You and Me, to her marriage to talk-show king Phil Donahue.

Her youth was star-studded--Milton Berle performed magic tricks (badly) at her backyard birthday parties. George Burns, Bob Hope, Sid Caesar, Bob Newhart and other great comics passed countless hours gathered around her family's dinner table. And behind it all was the rich laughter nurtured by a close and loving family.

Growing Up Laughing is not just the story of an iconic entertainer, but also the story of comedy. In a voice that is curious, generous and often gleeful, Thomas not only opens the doors on the funny in her own life, but in a series of insightful and hilarious interviews also explores the comic roots of today's most celebrated comedians.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Some know her as the star of the 1960s TV show That Girl, or creator of Free to Be... You and Me, or perhaps major fund-raiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Thomas, author of five bestselling books, here focuses on a role she's had her entire life: daughter. Laughter was the soundtrack for Thomas's formative years in 1950s Beverly Hills. Her father, comedian Danny Thomas, regularly had funny friends--including Bob Hope, Sid Caesar, and George Burns--over to the family home. The author, actress, feminist, and philanthropist shares fond memories of enjoying and learning from these comedy luminaries, and of being a Hollywood kid long before game-changers like the Internet and cable TV. She chronicles her path from childhood to adulthood; particularly interesting tidbits include her meeting and marrying Phil Donahue, becoming friends with Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug, and, with her siblings, "producing" her father's funeral. But this book is more than a well-written memoir. Thomas also includes interviews with comedy powerhouses galore, from Tina Fey to Alan Alda, Chris Rock to Ben and Jerry Stiller. On the whole, this book offers a delightful firsthand look at how comedy has become integral to American culture--and the way it's shaped one woman's colorful life.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Thomas, star of the classic sitcom That Girl and daughter of comedy legend Danny Thomas, has taken an interesting approach to the usual Hollywood memoir. Chapters exploring her life as the daughter of comedy royalty, and her struggles to establish an independent identity for herself, alternate with profiles of contemporary comedians (Seinfeld, Leno, Stiller, Rock, Crystal, Rivers, Williams, Fey, Wright, and Colbert, among others). We see how her father inspired her, and we also see how he inspired the professionals who came after him. Thomas’ personal stories are heartwarming and entertaining. Her father, who came by his legendary status by dint of hard work and perfect delivery, comes across as a driven man who always made time for his family and who never made any secret of the fact that he loved his little girl. It was a privileged childhood, to be sure, and you can’t help being a little envious of someone who grew up around the likes of Milton Berle, George Burns, and Sid Caesar. The profiles of other comedians allow us to see Danny Thomas through others’ eyes, too, offering a different perspective on the man and his legacy. An engaging, highly informative memoir—definitely not the routine show-biz autobiography. --David Pitt

Product Details

  • File Size: 1737 KB
  • Print Length: 402 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 140132391X
  • Publisher: Hyperion (September 28, 2010)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0042VJ1PS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,546 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Light on Personal Information October 4, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Like most, I find Marlo Thomas to be charming, witty and a stunning beauty. This memoir is not an autobiography so if you are looking for the story of her life, all you get are several very short chapters of personal history, mostly involving her father, St. Jude's with a few non-revealing stories about her own life. Guys, there ain't no dirt in this one - damn! The rest of the book is comprised of interviews with present-day comedians, interspersed with some hysterical (and ribald) jokes. One short chapter is dedicated to Ted Bessell and one to Lew Parker. The rest of the story of "That Girl" was either never written, or omitted.

If you want to read this (and it is enjoyable), wait for it to come out in paperback.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Much More than "That Girl!" October 11, 2010
Almost all of us have a set of traits that attract us to others, and that we value in others: honesty, intelligence, attractiveness, and, to many, the most important--a sense of humor. Marlo Thomas' sixth book is a paean to humor. Ms. Thomas is the daughter of comedian/actor/St. Jude Children's Hospital founder Danny Thomas. Her book is unusual in its approach and in its style, and extremely enjoyable.

First, it is a memoir, a love story, a thank-you letter to her family, and a personal glimpse into her childhood as one of Danny Thomas' three children. But interspersed with the marvelous, intimate stories (about her drum-playing grandmother, her Catholic family, her acting successes and failures) are interviews with current comics and deeply moving homages to the comics of the past. So, a few chapters about her early life, Thomas segues into an interview with Jerry Seinfeld. A discussion about the years her father spent "On the Road" is followed by a wonderful conversation with Robin Williams. Newer comics are referenced and interviewed as well: Tina Fey, Chris Rock ,and Steven Wright all have one-on-one time with Thomas.

She makes us laugh, cry, and trip happily down memory lane with the great comedic geniuses of the past--Milton, Sid, Jan, George, Phil, Red, and the Bobs (Hope and Newhart). She remembers at-home dinners with these stellar humorists and discusses Hollywood from the point of view of someone raised there. As she does the storytelling, she also shows us behind the scenes of her own coming of age: That Girl, Free to Be...You and Me, her feminist roots and friendship with Gloria Steinem (and the founding of the Ms.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of jokes....but also tender and sweet.. October 11, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A delightful book, and while not entirely a memoir, it has a very loving quality to it. We all know Danny Thomas was not just a funny and talented guy. He had a successful career and was honorably philanthropic. After reading Marlo's lovely stories about her childhood, he was quite a wonderful father too. Marlo does a great job of intermingling her memories of all the iconic comedians from the early Hollywood and TV days, to today's funny people, and some really funny jokes and stories. This kind of mixed bag of stuff could come across as hokey handled by someone else who didn't have Marlo's pedigree, talent and smarts. But it all works. It is funny, charming, touching and sweet. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and will pick it up again in a few years and enjoy it all over again. Danny Thomas left quite a legacy, and you know what.....Marlo will too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is such an enjoyable book! August 26, 2011
By Adgirl
I wasn't sure if this would be good or too "sweet" for my tastes. It was wonderful. She has led an interesting life, been around the most interesting and creative people, and the "what is funny" parts are worth the price of the book. My husband and I hardly ever enjoy the same books but he heard me laughing out loud so often that he read it too. And enjoyed it immensely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Was okay. January 1, 2011
By Eileen
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was okay but not what I expected. I thought it would be more of a biography but it was just some funny moments from her growing up years and alot of memories from other celebrities.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Growing up laughing October 26, 2010
By Diane
I Was very disappointed wanted more of her growing up although she did shed light on some parts, I wanted more. I really didn't care for some of the comics that were featured. Thought this book would have been more "family" not about others.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MARLO THOMAS, GROWING UP LAUGHING November 1, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have only read about 1/3 of this book so far, it is very hard to get into. I was disappointed, I thought this book would be more about her life growing up, but it is not. There is some stories she throws in from time to time of her life as Danny Thomas' daughter but "so far" not a lot. Most of the book is about her interviewing other comedians about what makes them laugh and their thoughts, etc, etc. I grew up loving her father and her, wanted to know more about them and their household, family and life.
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3.0 out of 5 stars This book needs a different title March 31, 2014
Like a gazillion other people, I was and am, a huge fan of That Girl and like a gazillion other people, I expected this "my story" to reveal more details about the show and about Marlo Thomas' life in general. It really doesn't. There are of course some stories but it's not what I expected. She wrote in a guarded way, I felt. I'd like to ask her why she wrote this book.

How is this a "my story" when so many of the pages are filled with interviews with today's comedians and their jokes? Why did she include this in her memoir? I can understand her reminiscing about her Dad's comic friends, she grew up with them in her house. But the title is Growing up Laughing, My Story. Ok, so what do today's comedians and their stories have to do with that? I found it kind of odd to include soooooo much of that. It just didn't belong.

She mentions Phil Donahue from time to time but there's no real feel for their relationship. And I can't even begin to tell you how disappointed I was on how little she wrote about Ted Bessell. She mentions her mother, sister and brother in passing but again there is not a lot of emotion toward them. She did write a touching story about Lew Parker, though. Most of all, she does show her obvious love and respect for her Dad.

I found this book easy to read, in a conversational way, but oddly arranged. All in all, it was fun to read but disappointing as a memoir.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars My thoughts
This book was not exactly what I expected . At first l was annoyed with all the interviews. I thought I was reading an autobiography of Marlo Thomas. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Joanne Meyers
5.0 out of 5 stars laughter and tears
This book was so entertaining. I couldn't put it down. There we're laugh out load moments and there were tears of sadness for the lost of Danny Thomas. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alexandria Lim
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Lovely and real. Marlo shares her feelings about the people in her life. I found myself in tears remembering myself when her Dad passed and how sad my family was. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kathleen Ciulla
4.0 out of 5 stars Love That Girl!
A fun read full of heartwarming memories and true insights into how much we benefit from the gift of comedy.
Published 2 months ago by Edward L. Lefkowitz
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice read.
Lovely blasts from the past. Sweet tribute to her father, while taking us through her entertaining childhood and her memories.
Published 3 months ago by Pati
4.0 out of 5 stars Marlo Thomas
I enjoyed reading Marlo's book. She has so many special, precious memories that she shares and I highly recommend this book.
Published 4 months ago by Elizabeth R. Boykin
5.0 out of 5 stars Book
I always enjoyed watching Marlo Thomas on That Girl, and I will love reading her life story. Book arrived in perfect condition.
Published 4 months ago by irish
5.0 out of 5 stars FABULOUSLY FUNNY.
I am so glad I read this book. My Mother passed away in 2012 and knowing that she is in Heaven with all of the great comedians of her lifetime is a comfort and blessing. Read more
Published 7 months ago by HBR
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny
Iloved this book, it was funny and I remembered all the old comedians that she wrote about, I also remembered "That Girl" it was my favorite show when I was a Teenager.
Published 8 months ago by Gail D. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Typical Marlo
Written very well. Laughed out loud and it brought back a lot of memories of some of my favorite people.
Published 10 months ago by Mamafish
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More About the Author

MARLO THOMAS is the author of five bestselling books, including The Right Words at the Right Time and Free to Be . . . You and Me. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including four Emmys, a Golden Globe, a Grammy and a Peabody, and is an inductee into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame. She lives in New York with her husband, Phil Donahue.

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