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

Marlo Thomas
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 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:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381,932 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 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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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Much More than "That Girl!" October 11, 2010
Format:Hardcover
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and hard to read December 3, 2012
By CJS
Format:Paperback
Very disappointing and hard to read. The book is subtitled My Story. I expected to hear about what it was like to grow up with Danny Thomas as your father and having dinner guests such as George Burns or Jack Benny and yes, you did get some of that and I admit that what there was of it was very good - but I am sure there were many more stories Thomas could have told of her father, her tv series That Girl, and others she worked with. Instead, you got an interruption every other chapter or so where Thomas interviews a comedian such as Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, Jay Leno, and others and asks them questions about their childhood and if they were the class clown. This has NOTHING to do with Ms. Thomas' story. If I had wanted to read about these people (which I did not) I would have bought a book on them. It got so that I skipped those chapters to preserve the continuity of what there was of the story of Marlo Thomas. It disrupted your concentration on the text and the enjoyment of hearing those stories to then go into a chapter on a completely different topic and subject. Additionally, Ms. Thomas did not go into the loss of her mother and what affect that had on their family. She devoted a chapter to her mother but never let us know what happened to this interesting personality and comedian in her own right. The interviews with the comedians that so disrupted this book should have been a different book or put altogether in the back.
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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
Format:Paperback
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect much.
I expected a good backstage show biz tale. Especially in how "That Girl" came into being and what went into the show. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Raymond G. DeForest
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
This was a good book; interesting, though less autobiographical than I had expected.
Published 7 days ago by Eddie Webster
4.0 out of 5 stars Her stories and interviews were really fun to read
Was very interesting. Her stories and interviews were really fun to read. Also, I am from Memphis and had always wondered why her father chose Memphis for St. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Sarah Washington
5.0 out of 5 stars so surprised that this was wonderful. warm. hilarious jokes....
Loved the style, Thomas family memories interspersed with interviews with current comics. Such decent family people! Tribute to St.
Jude's at end is heart warming. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Deborah
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn about Funny
I'm a big Marlo Thomas fan. I also grew up in California and my dad was a comedian. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her life. I loved the chapters on humor. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Suzanne
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book
Very interesting way to present your life and also learn about great ! Thoroughly enjoyed the book. Loved Ms Thomas before I read it and love her more now.
Published 5 months ago by Maria Arza
3.0 out of 5 stars The best reading was the jokes from her father's friends
The best reading was the jokes from her father's friends. She is not an interviewer. Good at times and slow a lot more.
Published 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A loving tribute
Fond recollections of growing up within a close, loving family that included close, loving friends that happened to be funny. Some good anecdotes and jokes. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Doris Doll
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
It is ok!!
Published 6 months ago by Grace Man
3.0 out of 5 stars Would have been better as just a memoir
Thomas relates stories of her childhood and young adulthood as the daughter of comedy legend Danny Thomas, alternating with mini-interviews with famous comics. Read more
Published 7 months ago by MamaSylvia
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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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