Fast Facts

  • Father changed family surname from Yakhoob to Jacobs, and Thomas was renamed Amos Jacobs. He took the moniker of Danny Thomas on August 12, 1940, for a performance at a Chicago club.
  • Started working at 11 years old, selling candy and ice cream at a burlesque house; dropped out of high school after freshman year.
  • Began showbiz career in 1932 on a Detroit radio program, "The Happy Hour Club"; a guest appearance on Fanny Brice's radio show led to his own radio program, "The Danny Thomas Show" (1944-49).
  • Made TV debut in 1950 on Four Star Revue as a rotating weekly host with Ed Wynn, Jack Carson and Jimmy Durante; did not fare well and later declared the new medium "for idiots."
  • Began producing television in the late-1950s and eventually partnered with Sheldon Leonard and, later, Aaron Spelling.
  • Considered his greatest contribution to be the founding of the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which opened in Memphis in 1962.
  • Received Congressional Gold Medal in 1983.
  • Inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 1991.
  • Penned the 1990 autobiography Make Room for Danny.


  • 1956, Emmy — Best Actor-Continuing Performance: Nominee
  • 1955, Emmy — Best Actor Starring in a Regular Series: Winner
  • 1970, Emmy — Outstanding Dramatic Series: Nominee
  • 1958, Emmy — Best Continuing Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1971, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
  • 1959, Emmy — Best Actor in a Leading Role (Continuing Character) in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2004, Emmy — Bob Hope Humanitarian Award: Winner
  • 1991, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1955, Emmy — Best Written Comedy Material: Nominee


  • Tony Thomas — Son
  • Marlo Thomas — Daughter
  • Charles Jacobs — Father
  • Theresa Thomas — Daughter
  • Margaret Jacobs — Mother
  • Rose Marie Thomas — Wife


  • Birth Name: Muzyad Yakhoob
  • Birth Place: Deerfield, MI
  • Died: February 6, 1991
  • Profession: Comedian, Actor, Producer

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