Danny Thomas, Who Never Wore Out His Welcome, Takes His Leave
updated 02/18/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 02/18/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST
The sentiment is shared by millions. Thomas's Make Room for Daddy (later The Danny Thomas Show) reigned as a top sitcom from 1953 to 1964, in part because many of the show's most telling episodes, and even the title, came from the comedian's own life. Born Muzyad Yakhoob, the Lebanese-American son of a Toledo dry-goods peddler dropped out of school to follow his star in radio and vaudeville. Like his TV character, he was so often on the road that wife Rose Marie would frequently let one of the Thomas kids sleep in her bedroom. When Danny came home, they had to make room for Daddy.
More than an actor, he amassed a fortune producing such hits as The Andy Griffith Show and The Mod Squad. A devout Catholic, he showed his gratitude for success by founding St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis in 1962. "Danny Thomas was a giver," says Berle, "not a taker. I feel that he's up there right now in heaven being St. Jude's assistant."