5 things you didn’t now about Danny Thomas

20 Jul

The story of Danny Thomas one of the ultimate rags-to-riches story. He was the son of immigrants that went on to have an almost six decade career in nightclubs, radio, television, movies, and became a humanitarian with a legacy that is still going strong. Some of the best known highlights of this extraordinary career are his television show “Make room for Daddy”, the “Dick Van Dyke Show”, the “Andy Griffith Show”, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The latter of those, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is still going strong as one of the premiere Hospital for treating childhood cancer patients.

There is much more to Danny Thomas that most us know. The follow are just five of these little known facts:

He joined a fraternity in college

When Danny Thomas went to the University of Toledo he joined the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity; TKE is a fraternity dedicated to social, moral, and spiritual development of young men. The fraternity that played a part in making Danny Thomas the humanitarian that started St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital would later comeback and play a new role in his life. In the late 1970’s, when St. Jude’s had only been in existence for a few years TKE joined forces with Mr. Thomas to raise funds for the continuing operation of the Hospital.

His big break on radio in “The Bickersons”

Even though his on local radio was over a decade old it wasn’t until the late 1940’s that he first hit the national spotlight. In 1946 Don Ameche and Frances Langford where putting together a cast for their radio show, “The Bickersons”, where they brought in Danny Thomas to play the part of Blache’s brother Amos.

He was an original co-owner of the Miami Dolphins

In late 1965 Danny Thomas, along with Joe Robbie and others, paid $7.5 million dollars to bring a professional football team to Miami. Not long after the team came into exist Mr. Thomas sold his interest to Joe Robbie.

He was presented the Congressional Gold Medal

In 1983 President Ronald Reagan presented Danny Thomas with the Congressional Gold Medal. The honor was in recognition of the promise kept to St. Jude when he began raising funds and starting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 1962.

He was a Freemason

In March of 1984 Danny Thomas was initiated into the Gothic Lodge #270 F&AM located at Hamilton Square, NJ. Since that initiation he rose to the rank of 32 degree Freemason. He even wrote a service film for the Freemason entitled “When the band stops playing”.

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