On equal standing with his contribution to the television comedy form, entertainer Danny Thomas' other legacy will be that of humanitarian and comforter of stricken children.
Thomas, who died Wednesday, is to be buried on the Memphis, Tenn., grounds of his most cherished creation, The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, founded in 1962 to treat cancer-stricken children."I'm going to be buried there, you know," Thomas, 79, told an interviewer last week. "My mausoleum is on the grounds, so I'll still be around."
Thomas, who attended the hospital's 29th anniversary ceremony Monday, suffered a fatal heart attack Wednesday at his Beverly Hills home.
Death brought to an end a wide-ranging career that spanned more than 50 years as comedian, actor and producer and encompassed nightclubs, radio, television and movies.
His most popular TV role was Danny Williams, the cantankerous but kind-hearted patriarch in the "Make Room for Daddy" series that aired from 1953 to 1964.
Thomas had been especially active in recent weeks, taking part in a promotional tour for his autobiography, "Make Room for Danny," and appearing on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson."