Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny

( 82 )

Overview

“. . . this one is special.”
USA Today

Growing Up Laughing is a compelling autobiographical journey—hilarious and heartfelt, intimate and inspiring. It is a book that only Marlo Thomas could write.

For as long as Thomas can remember, she’s lived with laughter. Born to comedy royalty—TV and nightclub star Danny Thomas—she grew up among legendary funny men, carved much of her career in comedy and, to this day, ...

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Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny

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Overview

“. . . this one is special.”
USA Today

Growing Up Laughing is a compelling autobiographical journey—hilarious and heartfelt, intimate and inspiring. It is a book that only Marlo Thomas could write.

For as long as Thomas can remember, she’s lived with laughter. Born to comedy royalty—TV and nightclub star Danny Thomas—she grew up among legendary funny men, carved much of her career in comedy and, to this day, surrounds herself with people who love and live to make others laugh. Thomas takes us on a funny and heartwarming adventure, from her Beverly Hills childhood, to her groundbreaking creation of That Girl and Free to Be . . . You and Me, to her marriage to talk-show king Phil Donahue.

Her youth was star-studded—Milton Berle performed magic tricks (badly) at her backyard birthday parties. George Burns, Bob Hope, Sid Caesar, Bob Newhart and other great comics passed countless hours gathered around her family’s dinner table. And behind it all was the rich laughter nurtured by a close and loving family.

Growing Up Laughing is not just the story of an iconic entertainer, but also the story of comedy. In a voice that is curious, generous and often gleeful, Thomas not only opens the doors on the funny in her own life, but in a series of insightful and hilarious interviews also explores the comic roots of today’s most celebrated comedians.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

As the daughter of famed comedian Danny Thomas, Marlo Thomas grew up in an atmosphere where primetime laughs came not just from TV, but also from frequent visits to her home from the likes of Bob Hope and George Burns. In her family, laughter became "the cushion for life," her father insisting that adults should laugh as frequently as children do. Growing Up Laughing is her tribute to her father and the philosophy of good cheer and good works that he instilled in her. This feel-good memoir possesses an activist side too: The former star of That Girl writes candidly about problems that women face in the workplace and elsewhere. A top-seller; now in a paperback and a NOOKbook.

From the Publisher
"This one is special."—USA Today
USA Today
"This one is special."
USA Today
". . . this one is special."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401310639
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 5/3/2011
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 302,287
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Marlo Thomas is the author of five bestselling books including Free to Be You and Me and The Right Words at the Right Time. She has won numerous awards including four Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, the Grammy Award, the Peabody Award, and has been inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame for her work in television, including her starring role in the landmark series That Girl. She is the National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. She lives in New York with her husband.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

The Set-up: A Prologue 1

1 Celebrations 5

2 A Kid at the Studio 9

3 The Boys 13

4 Socks and Moxie-Jerry Seinfeld 21

5 The Wives 31

6 Stirring the Sauce-Joy Behar 37

7 Hotels 45

8 Comedy Begins at Home-Billy Crystal 51

9 On the Road 57

10 The First Laugh-Robin Williams 65

11 The Funny Barber 71

12 He Said/He Said-Ben-Jerry Stiller 79

13 aka Orson 87

14 Testifying-Chris Rock 91

15 Beverly Hills, My Neighborhood 103

16 My Dad 113

17 Harry and the Parakeet 121

18 Angelo's Boy-Jay Leno 127

19 Miss Independence 135

20 My Big Brown Eyes 139

21 Killing and Dying-Alan Alda 147

22 Comedians in Their Dressing Rooms 153

23 A Phone Call with Mr. Warmth-Don Rickles 155

24 The Two Dannys 165

25 Turn-ons-Conan O'Brien 169

26 The Bow 179

27 Twenty Questions-Stephen Colbert 181

28 Dinner at the Goldbergs 189

29 The Survivor-Joan Rivers 195

30 Obsession 205

31 Fall-Down Funny-George Lopez 217

32 Tony's Pilot 223

33 Oh, Donald 229

34 Lew Parker 233

35 The Comedian's Comedian 241

36 Growing Up Free 245

37 One-Girl Show-Lily Tomlin 253

38 Rose Marie 265

39 The Book-Kathy Griffin 273

40 Capra, Orson (the Other One), and Me 283

41 The Wright Stuff-Steven Wright 293

42 Growing a Feminist 303

43 The Joke on Me 313

44 The Making of a Wisenheimer-Tina Fey 319

45 The Reluctant Interview: An Improv 327

46 The Storyteller-Whoopi Goldberg 337

47 Against the Odds 343

48 Legends of Comedy 345

49 The Elm House 351

50 Mother and Marge 357

51 The Only Jew in the Neighborhood-Jon Stewart 361

52 St. Jude Children's Research Hospital 371

Epilogue 379

About the Author 381

Credits and Permissions 382

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 82 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(30)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(18)

2 Star

(12)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 82 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 30, 2010

    That Girl definately has it!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I grew up watching "That Girl" and "Make Room For Daddy" and when I first heard that this book was coming out...I could not wait to get it...Well let me tell you I enjoyed it so much and the memories it brought back were astounding. Get it...read it...and relive your own memories, you will not be sorry.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 11, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    First read on my nook. Wonderful remembering things as I was growing up. I would highly recommend this and all the memories it brings back.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Funny and fun

    She grew up among the legends of comedy; Milton Berle, George Burns, and Sid Ceasar to name just a few. She was referred to as "Danny Thomas' little girl" or "That Girl." But through it all, Marlo Thomas has been her own woman, independent, opinionated, and very appreciative of her loving family. Growing Up Laughing is as much a story of Danny Thomas as it is of his daughter Marlo. The well-known actress recounts a myriad of stories of her dad, his career, and the company he kept within the pages of this book. There are many tales of Danny Thomas with "The Boys," (Red Buttons, Milton Berle, Art Linkletter, Don Rickles, Carl Reiner, etc.) that are both touching and humorous. It quickly becomes clear that this was a tightly knit group of friends. The Boys liked to hang out at Hillcrest Country Club and they wanted their friend Thomas to join them for Sunday afternoons at the club. The only problem was that the club was restricted to Jews and Thomas was Catholic. The board had to decide if an exception would be made and with all of Thomas' friends pushing for him, he was allowed honorary status. They went on to share many great times at the club. The Boys were also constantly trying to one-up each other, creating havoc as they all would surrender in laughter. The book is filled, particularly the early pages, with the exploits of these famous comedians and what they did and said to keep their friends in hysterics. Growing up in Beverly Hills, Marlo didn't have the typical middle-class American suburb upbringing, but rather the privileged childhood that came from her elite zip code. Still, Marlo and her two siblings remained amazingly "normal" and happy and avoided many of the pitfalls of other celebrity children they went to school with. Throughout the book, the reader gets a sense that her's was a happy life, full of laughter and love. If you're looking for ugly gossip on those famous comedians of the past, or of celebrities Marlo has encountered in her own career, you will be disappointed with this book. The author is at all times respectful of others and is far more interested in recounting the funny in life rather that the dirt. There's a chapter on "The Donald," (no, not that one, the one from That Girl) Ted Bessell, who played Donald Hollinger on That Girl. We also meet Lew Parker, who played Marlo's father on the show. We're introduced to many greats Marlo has worked with such as Orson Welles. In addition, Marlo recalls her awakening as a feminist and her fight for women's rights alongside Bella Abzug and Gloria Steinemn and her courtship with future husband Phil Donahue. Growing Up Laughing is not just a memoir of Marlo Thomas but a look at what "funny" is and what makes a good comedian. Interspersed throughout the book are interviews the author conducted with over 20 well known comedians. Through her questions, we get to see what in their backgrounds led to their life in comedy, how they struggled, and what they find funny. There are also a LOT of jokes in this book, some from Marlo but most from those comedians who have touched her life. You can't help but laugh as you read this memoir. Quill says: Funny and fun - a great look back at the comedians of the past, as well as an enjoyable look into Marlo Thomas' life.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 27, 2011

    A Great Read

    When I was younger, I wanted to be Ann Marie from "That Girl". By the time I finished reading this book, I wanted to be Marlo Thomas!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

    very good book

    so enjoyed the different ladies lives and their courage and get up and go to change their lives. One really realizes all the strength we have when reading these ladies lives

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  • Posted December 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Somehow went from a nice commentary on growing up the child of D

    Somehow went from a nice commentary on growing up the child of Danny Thomas to a feminism brochure...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    Love the book love her in Thats Girl

    What a great story What A Beauitful Lady Love What she Does For St Judes We Need more Beauitful Ladies like Her in Hollywood like her I send money to StJudes to help the little ones with cancer Thank You And Your very wonderful Father

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  • Posted September 22, 2011

    Good read

    If you remember danny thomas and love comedians, in general, this is a fun book to read.

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  • Posted May 17, 2011

    St. Judes

    Ilove what she did to the children at st judes shes is really nice and have met her

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    You'll Laugh Reading it...

    If you grew up knowing Danny Thomas, you will love this. Brief chapters offering snippets of life growing up with "Daddy" and his pals, George Burns, Jan Murray, Rickles, and many more. MT provides insight into her life, how she got where she is today, and interviews many of her favorite contemporary comedians. A fun read. What a life!

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  • Posted February 22, 2011

    Light Hearted

    It was nice she interviewed other comedians. This made it a little more interesting. It gave us many different perspectives.It will make you laugh.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2011

    Enjoyed That Girl

    I loved the book and all the stories about her father and other famous comics. Also enjoyed her interviews with current comics. Ms. Thomas sounds like she comes from a very loving and warm family. Her love for her family was well reflected in book. Stories about her father were so enjoyable. He sounds like his character on Make Room for Daddy was very close to home. Would highly recommend. Surprised that more people haven't written reviews. Marlo Thomas is still That Girl.

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    Posted February 9, 2012

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    Posted October 24, 2010

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    Posted October 19, 2010

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    Posted December 27, 2010

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    Posted October 23, 2010

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    Posted January 20, 2011

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    Posted October 22, 2010

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    Posted February 25, 2011

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 82 Customer Reviews

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