For this week’s Feminist Friday post, I’m shining the spotlight on one of my favorite advocates for women: Marlo Thomas.
I first knew of Marlo from her portrayal of Rachel Green’s hilarious mom on Friends, but she had been playing the television circuit long before that. She’s comedian Danny Thomas’ daughter, and like her 20010 memoir suggests, she was familiar with Growing Up Laughing. After some earlier work in film, she really got on the map on 1969 when the pilot of That Girl got picked up. For those of you who don’t know, That Girl was the first television show that focused on a single, career-driven woman who didn’t live her parents. The show was Marlo’s baby, and at 25, she was the only girl besides Lucille Ball who successfully produced her own situation comedy.
In 1972, Marlo released Free to Be…You and Me, a project promoting individuality and acceptance. This inspired a children’s book, an Emmy-award winning TV special, an album and a stage show. From that point on, she continued to work in television, Broadway and film, but was definitely focused on her love of activism.
She currently serves as the National Outreach for St. Jude’s Hospital and runs her website: MarloThomas.com (now via Huffington Post), where she actively promotes women’s rights, healthy-living and equality for all. I haven’t met Ms. Thomas in person, but our aligned interests combined with her contributions to television and activism prove that she’s a fantastic role model. Thank you for being a continued source of inspiration, Marlo!