What happened to Marlo Thomas? 84-year-old returns for Christmas movie

Bruno Cooke November 17, 2022
What happened to Marlo Thomas? 84-year-old returns for Christmas movie
Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images


In her first screen credit for two years, Marlo Thomas has returned to the small screen as Vivian Todd in Hallmark’s A Magical Christmas Village.

It’s not the first time the veteran actress has made a festive movie. In 1977, she starred in It Happened One Christmas, a remake of It’s A Wonderful Life.

But it’s been a minute since people have seen her make a public appearance. And, perhaps inevitably, some have reacted by commenting on her appearance.

What happened to Marlo Thomas these past couple of years, and why are people commenting on her face as if she’s had plastic or cosmetic surgery?

Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

From It Happened One Christmas (1977) to A Magical Christmas Village (2022): Marlo Thomas returns

Over the course of a long and varied career, Margaret Julia “Marlo” Thomas has added many strings to her bow.

In the early 1960s, she cut her chops in episodes  of various television series, including The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis, 77 Sunset Strip and Boris Karloff Presents.

From 1965, and perhaps most famously, she was That Girl. She played Ann Marie in 137 episodes from 1965 to 1971. Fortune’s Patricia Sellers describes Ann Marie as “the first independent working woman I ever saw on TV.” Before that, she was in 22 episodes of The Joey Bishop Show. 

Marlo Thomas’ first Christmas movie appearance was in It Happened One Christmas, which was a remake of the festive classic It’s A Wonderful Life. That was in 1977. And now she’s back to celebrate Christmas 2022 with her first on-screen appearance in two years.

She has done much more besides acting

While she may have established her name as a “fizzy TV sitcom star” and matured into a respectable dramatic artist, Marlo Thomas has also ventured outside the industry.

In 1972, she released a children’s book, Free To Be… You And Me. Her young niece Dionne Gordon inspired it. She has published seven best-selling books in total.

In the same year, she was a California delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida.

She co-founded the Ms Foundation For Women in 1973. It’s a nonprofit that aims to “build women’s collective power” in the US. It does so by “investing in, and strengthening, the capacity of women-led movements to advance meaningful social, cultural, and economic change.”

Thomas is the national outreach director for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Her father Danny founded it. In 2004 she launched the Thanks And Giving campaign with her siblings Terre and Tony, which raises money for the hospital.

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Fans are saying Marlo Thomas’ face looks different in 2022

Marlo Thomas plays Vivian Todd in Hallmark TV movie A Magical Christmas Village. 

Luke Macfarlane and Alison Sweeney also star, along with Maesa Nicholson and Maria Meadows, and child actors Alaysia Jackson and Trae Maridadi.

Since it premiered, fans have been tweeting their reactions to it, some of which pass comment on Marlo Thomas’ physical appearance, specifically her face, which one suggests looks different in 2022 as a result of cosmetic and/or plastic surgery.

Thomas has reportedly never addressed rumors that she has undergone cosmetic or plastic surgery. Such rumors have, however, been around for some time. 

Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

What happened to Marlo Thomas in 2014?

In November of that year, while Barack Obama was president of the United States, Thomas received the presidential medal of freedom.

It’s the highest civilian honor. Obama bestowed it upon her at a ceremony in the White House.

Among the 18 recipients were author Isabelle Allende, Stevie Wonder and Meryl Streep. During the ceremony, Obama reportedly “confessed a crush” for Streep, saying: “Her husband knows I love her. Michelle knows I love her. There’s nothing either of them can do about it.”

The ceremony took place on Monday, November 24, 2014.

Catch A Magical Christmas Village, starring Marlo Thomas, on the Hallmark Channel.

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.