Danny Thomas was born in Deerfield,
Michigan, the fifth of ten children born of Lebanese immigrants.
At age 10, he was selling newspapers on the street and candy
in a burlesque theater. This theater experience inspired
him to become an entertainer and comedian. He quit school
at 16 to find his place in show business.
He married Rosemarie Mantell, whom he met while singing on the radio show "The
Happy Hour Club". As the birth of their first
child (Margo) approached, Thomas was earning a precarious living. However, his
career did begin
earning him major engagements in Chicago and New York. He soon moved to California
where he made five films and launched his Emmy Award winning show, "Make
In partnership with Sheldon Leonard, he formed T & L
Productions, which produced such television comedies as
the "Andy Griffith
the "Dick Van Dyke Show".
In 1966, Thomas teamed with producer Aaron Spelling to
form Thomas-Spelling Productions, which created such successful shows as "The
Thomas performed for five Presidents: Roosevelt,
Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson.
He helped raise funds to build the St.
Jude Children's Research Hospital center and raised $12 million annually
to keep it operating. To do so, he organized and performed at large public events
such as the "Miracle Ball" in Miami and the "St. Jude Shower of
Stars" in Memphis.
He received numerous honors and awards in recognition of
his efforts with the hospital, and in the fall of 1983,
an act of Congress commended his contribuitions
to the world renown research and treatment facility. In the spring of 1984, Danny
Thomas was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor byPresident