About Rose Marie Thomas (Cassaniti)
Rose Marie Cassaniti was the wife of of actor Danny Thomas, best known for his role in the television sitcoms Make Room for Daddy and The Danny Thomas Show, and as founder of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
After her husband’s death in 1991, Mrs. Thomas carried on as President of ALSAC, the hospital’s fund-raising arm. In recognition of her humanitarian work, Thomas was named Lady Commander with Star of Knights of the Holy Sepulchre by his Holiness, Pope Paul VI.
Born Rose Marie Cassaniti, Thomas had a singing career with her own radio show in Detroit, Michigan, where she met Danny Thomas, then a struggling young comic. They were married on January 15, 1936, and had three children, Marlo, Terre and Tony Thomas.
Although her singing career ended when she married, Thomas remained active in a wide variety of outside activities, most notably her support of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the world-renowned research and treatment center for childhood catastrophic diseases. She served as president of the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, the hospitals fund-raising arm, for almost a decade after Danny Thomas’ death. She was also instrumental in the hospital’s work, traveling extensively with her husband starting in the 1950s and throughout the next four decades as he sought financial support for St. Jude. She often accompanied him on his visits to the institution and to events around the country.
Thomas was a life member of St. John's Hospital and Health Center Guild, a perpetual member of the Mary and Joseph League, the Maronite Guild, the Screen Smart Set Auxiliary for the Motion Picture and Television Relief Fund, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the Eucharistic Orphanage of Lebanon and the Women's Auxiliary of Permanent Charities of the Entertainment Industry.
She has received awards from Mt. Sinai Hospital and Clinic, the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, B'nai B'rith and E.S.A. International and has received commendations from the Mayors of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills for her civic accomplishments.
Rose Marie Thomas was named St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's "Volunteer of the Decade, 1980-1989" for her efforts for the hospital. She organized a fund-raising dinner that was a highlight of the Los Angeles social scene for many years and is now carried on by her children.