Actress Marlo Thomas and her husband Phil Donahue recycle "and we don't use plastic at all, we use glass" at their New York apartment and new home in Connecticut, which has geothermal heating and cooling. "More and more people are doing that as they build a new house. It's harder to do if it's already built because you have to dig up the ground for the wells," she notes. "It was a big expense, but it amortizes."
Thomas, who follows a mostly organic, dairy-free diet, is currently playing a recurring role on the NBC sitcom "The New Normal," is about to start rehearsals for a new play called "Clever Little Lies," opening this spring, and devotes her time to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, which her father Danny Thomas founded in 1962, and to issues she cares about like bullying. She also took part in the PBS documentary "Makers: Women Who Make America," a three-hour history of the women's movement. Narrated by Meryl Streep — and including interviews with Gloria Steinem, Oprah Winfrey, Katie Couric, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton — the film, which is now airing on PBS stations and on PBS.org, seeks to set the record straight about the movement's aims and intentions.
"We were not fighting so that all women could leave their homes and go to work. We were fighting for choice," says Thomas. "What we were trying to achieve was an equal chance at the pie, the freedom to be who you want to be." She's proud that her 1974 TV special "Free to Be ... You & Me" and her single-girl series "That Girl" (1966-71), pop culture hallmarks of the movement, made a big impression on young women at the time. She's gratified that women have made strides in many fields like science and medicine, but points out that females are still a small minority among Senators and Fortune 500 CEOs. "And we don't have a President yet," she reminds.
In her personal life, Thomas is proud that she's "a contributor to society, that I have a healthy, good marriage, 32 years." What makes it work? "I think listening helps," she says. "We understand what real unconditional love is. You have to, or you shouldn't be married."
Asked what's on her to-do list, Thomas responds, "I like what I do, I just want to do more. I love every minute of being an actor and I love my work with St. Jude's. I like my private time with my husband, and things that I notice. I'm involved right now in an anti-bullying campaign, reaching out to parents and teachers to get them to take some responsibility for this, which they haven't," she says. "It bothers me, and I want to help."