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Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny Paperback – May 3, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140131063X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401310639
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,314,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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.

Customer Reviews

I so enjoyed the interviews with comedians from this era as well.
Wendy
Just finished reading "Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny" and all I can say that is was a great and involving read.
Jimmy Ramirez
Marlo's style is readable and breezy while telling of a life filled with amazing people, starting with her famous and funny dad.
L. Stamilla

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Arlington, VA on 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 By Story Circle Book Reviews on 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 By Lady Broadbent on 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 By Adgirl on August 26, 2011
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eileen on January 1, 2011
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 By Diane on October 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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 By Shirley C. Rosinski on 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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Format: Paperback
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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