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Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny Hardcover – September 28, 2010
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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.
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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
Top Customer Reviews
If you want to read this (and it is enjoyable), wait for it to come out in paperback.
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.Read more ›
This book suffers badly from its mixed purpose. Either Thomas' own memories or her take on the elements of comedy could become a worthwhile book, but trying to kill two birds with one stone - er, book - just detracts from either goal. Many of her "interviews" didn't interest me because I don't consider the subjects funny, such as Chris Rock. I did enjoy her growing-up stories and I did finish the book. But I can't say it was worth buying. Spelling, grammar, and Kindle formatting were fine. The title was appropriate.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed reading Marlo Thomas' memoir. She interviewed many comedians and also focused on her relationship with her dad Danny Thomas. Such a sweet relationship. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kari
I gave it 2 stars because the title is a bit misleading. Yes, there is discussion of her childhood among many of those great, old comedians, including her dad. However. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Perfect airplane read: interviews with a different funny man/gal in each chapter ending with a few bits of good old-fashioned humor. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Cupcake
I loved reading this very funny and poignant story about the terrific comedians and special father and family that Marlo Thomas grew up with. Read morePublished 2 months ago by sharon waltz
Who doesn't love Marlo Thomas of "That Girl?" But this book isn't simply about that girl, that woman, that Marlo. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Williams
a beautiful book from a beautiful lady, a wonderful family that founded St. Jude's Children's Hospital. What did Danny Thomas carry in his wallet for years? Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
I grew up with Marlo thomas in the TV show "That Girl" and she is doing great things with the St. Judes program for kids with cancer. It was great to read this book!Published 12 months ago by Laurie Newbold