Danny Thomas to Receive Bob Hope Humanitarian Award

Sep 17, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Legendary actor Danny Thomas, the founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, will posthumously receive the third annual Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the 56th Primetime Emmy Awards Sept. 19. Dick Askin, chairman of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, announced the honor Friday.

Actress Marlo Thomas will accept the award for her father, who died in 1991.

“My father would have loved to receive this award from the Academy,” she said. “He always said it was the power of television that enabled him to raise the first money to build St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. And it is so touching that the award is named for his dear friend, Bob Hope, who helped him on many occasions to raise money for St. Jude.”

Danny Thomas made his television debut in 1953 on “Make Room for Daddy,” which went on to a long run and won an Emmy in 1954 for “Best New Program” and in 1955 for “Best Situation Comedy Series.” Mr. Thomas later executive produced “The Mod Squad,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”

His vision for helping children stricken with cancer and other diseases became a reality in 1961 when the doors to St. Jude first opened. Today, St. Jude has more than 4,000 active patients, nearly 200 a day, from across the United States and 60 foreign countries.

Mr. Thomas’ work with St. Jude earned him a Congressional Medal of Honor in 1983, and he remained actively involved in the hospital until his death.

“Danny Thomas is a legend, one of the pioneers of television, as not only a performer, but as a very successful producer,” Mr. Askin said. “But as popular as he was in television, those achievements paled in comparison to his unparalleled contribution to children by founding St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.”