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Marlo Thomas may be most associated with her famous dad, Danny Thomas, but she was extremely close with her mother, Rose Marie. Thomas pays her mom tribute this weekend of Mother's Day in the video below and on her website, MarloThomas.com. When your parents are gone, says Thomas, Mother's Day or Father's Day can be sad. "What I'd give to spend the day with my mom and dad again, even for just a couple hours," she says. "I miss them both dearly."
Q. Your relationship with your dad was well-known but clearly you were close to your mother. Who was the bigger influence on the woman you became?
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A. Because I wanted to be in the same business as my father, he was the more powerful influence. I learned my work ethic from him, how to stand up for myself in business dealings and, of course, my sense of humor. He was the one I focused on and wanted to be like throughout my childhood. But what I got from my mother (and this is something that's become more apparent to me as I've gotten older) was a complete devotion and unconditional love and, yes, sacrifice, that helped me to become who I am.
Q. You talk about the singing career your mother gave up to give her family all of her. You say, "We would have been OK with half." Did that inspire your early and committed feminism?
A. Yes, very much so. When I look back at those pictures of my mother performing — and listen to her recordings — it makes me sad to think that all of that joy she found in her work came to an end. I wish she hadn't had to make that sacrifice, even if it was for the benefit of my father and siblings and me. So, yes, during the feminist movement in the '70s, the fact that my mother had given up so much
in the back of my head all the time; and I fought and lobbied and marched, in many ways, for her. And to help women everywhere know that, if it was their choice, they could have families and live their dreams.