Inspired Lives: Marlo Thomas

Marlo Thomas is not a woman of half measures. The charismatic mistress of all trades first burst onto the world stage on the seminal series That Girl (1966-1971), where she played the first single working woman on TV. But her rise to “it girl status” didn’t happen overnight. She was born into a show business family, and had already appeared on dozens of TV shows and had a successful turn on Broadway before That Girl debuted. But the series, which she also conceived and produced, solidified her as a cultural icon—quirky, chicly eccentric and also daring—especially when it came to pushing the envelope. It’s something she’s never shied away from, whether it’s standing up for women, families or children with cancer, through her decades-long work with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


Over the years she’s penned seven best-selling books, created a series of albums, including the platinum-selling “Free to Be You and Me,” co-founded the Ms. Foundation for Women, and spearheaded a national anti-bullying campaign through her website ( in partnership with the Huffington Post, AOL and the National Ad Council.

In 2004, Marlo created the annual St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign, a national holiday fundraising program that’s earned an eye-popping $500 million to date.


At Brooks Brothers, we’ve come to know Marlo through her work with St. Jude, which was founded by her father, actor and producer Danny Thomas, in 1962. Knowing Marlo’s history, it’s hardly surprising that she has approached her commitment to St. Jude with the same grit and drive that have propelled the rest of her pioneering career.

In 2004, she created the hospital’s annual Thanks and Giving campaign, a national holiday fundraising program that’s earned an eye-popping $500 million to date. This year we’re celebrating ten years of partnership with Marlo and the amazing team at St. Jude, raising more than $10 million along the way.

And she isn’t even close to done. Today she runs a wildly successful website in cooperation with The Huffington Post and AOL. She hosts the web series Mondays with Marlo, where she interviews tastemakers and celebrities from Martha Stewart to Erin Brockovich and Chelsea Clinton. And this month St Jude will cut the ribbon on its newest building, The Marlo Thomas Center for Global Education and Collaboration. Last, but not least, on November 24th, President Obama awarded Marlo the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a White House ceremony. She was one of just eighteen honorees.Marlo embodies the very best of what we stand for at Brooks Brothers, and for that, we’re proud to call her a woman who inspires us.


This year we’re celebrating a decade of working with Marlo and the amazing team at St. Jude, during which we’ve raised more than $10 million. It’s a partnership based on a true sense of shared purpose. “Brooks Brothers has been an invaluable part of the St. Jude family,” she says, “and I think that’s because we share the same values, and care deeply about being there for families across the country.” Last year alone we raised $2 million (“That’s enough to operate the entire hospital for a full day!” she says) and this year we’re reaching for $3 million. It’s a lot, but we’re keeping one of Marlo’s mottos in mind: “Never take no for an answer.”