Marlo Thomas was just 28 when she introduced a fiercely independent single working woman to ABC's prime-time audience. Her Ann Marie was an aspiring actress who moved to New York City to pursue her dream but kept herself afloat with odd temp jobs. It was 1966, and Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique had already hit the best-seller lists.
Thomas, the daughter of Make Room for Daddy star Danny Thomas, was a natural comedic actress — that's clear in Episode 1. She and Ted Bessell, who plays her series-long boyfriend, Donald Hollinger, are the very definition of “meet cute."
Courtesy Everett Collection
"I love this episode because it introduces Ann and Donald in the funniest way a couple could possibly meet,” Thomas says. “And it was such fun to play with Teddy. He was a great partner. I loved so much about doing That Girl — the team behind the scenes, the funny situations we got into, the gorgeous clothes every week and the fun Teddy and I had together the whole five years."
The first episode, titled “Don't Just Do Something, Stand There,” aired Sept. 8, 1966. Thomas’ Ann Marie would go on to delight viewers for 136 more, over five seasons.