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Rose Marie Thomas, celebrity widow, 86

Wednesday July 12 9:22 PM ET

Widow of late entertainer Danny Thomas dies

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) - Rose Marie Thomas, the wife of late
entertainer-producer Danny Thomas and the mother of actress Marlo Thomas,
died Wednesday at age 86, publicists for the family and the hospital her
husband founded said.

Thomas, who gave up a professional singing career after marrying but became
a key supporter of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.,
died in her sleep at her home in Beverly Hills, according to a statement
issued by the hospital.

Born Rose Marie Cassaniti, Mrs. Thomas had a singing career with her own
radio show in Detroit, where she met Danny Thomas, then a struggling young

The couple married in January 1936 and went on to have three children,
Marlo, Terre and Tony, who survive their parents.

Actress Marlo Thomas, 61, is best known as the star of the 1960s TV sitcom
``That Girl.'' Brother Tony is a producer whose credits include the film
``Dead Poets Society'' and such TV shows as ``The Golden Girls'' and

Danny Thomas is best remembered as the father and nightclub singer on the
popular 1950s-60s TV sitcom ``Make Room for Daddy,'' later titled ``The
Danny Thomas Show.'' The show was loosely based on his own experience as an
entertainer frequently away from family on the showbiz circuit, and the
original title came from a phrase used in the real-life Thomas household --
whenever Thomas returned home from a tour, his children had to shift
bedrooms to ``make room for Daddy.''

He also served behind the camera as an executive producer for a number of TV
shows during the 1950s and '60s, including ''The Real McCoys,'' ``The Dick
Van Dyke Show,'' ``The Andy Griffith Show'' and ``The Mod Squad.''

After Danny Thomas died of a heart attack in 1991, his wife carried on as
president of St. Jude's fund-raising arm and remained active in a number of
other charities.

Memorial services for Mrs. Thomas will be held Friday in Los Angeles at the
Church of the Good Shepherd, and she will be interred with her husband at
the Danny Thomas Memorial Gardens on the St. Jude grounds in Memphis.


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