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Bloodworth-Thomason, Linda (Joyce) 1947–

Bloodworth-Thomason, Linda (Joyce) 1947–

(Linda Bloodworth)

PERSONAL: Born May 15, 1947, in Poplar Bluff, MO; father an attorney, mother a homemaker; married Harry Thomason (a television producer), 1983. Education: University of Missouri, B.A.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, William Morrow, 10 East 53rd St., 7th Floor, New York, NY 10022.

CAREER: Writer, producer, and creator of television series, including Filthy Rich, 1982; Lime Street, 1985; Designing Women, 1986; Evening Shade, 1990; Hearts Afire, 1992; Women of the House, 1995; and Emeril, 2001. Cofounder of Mozark Productions; founder of Claudia Company (foundation for needy women). Formerly teacher of high-school English in Los Angeles, CA. Director of films for Clinton Presidential Library.

AWARDS, HONORS: Named among fourteen most influential women of the year by Newsweek; Genii Award, American Women in Radio and Television.

WRITINGS:

The Man from Hope (documentary film), Clinton/Gore for President, 1992.

Liberating Paris (novel), William Morrow (New York, NY), 2004.

Also author of scripts for television series, including M∗A∗S∗H∗, Rhoda, Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers, Filthy Rich, Lime Street, Designing Women, Evening Shade, Hearts Afire, and Emeril.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Another novel; adapting and producing Liberating Paris as a film.

SIDELIGHTS: Linda Bloodworth-Thomason has distinguished herself as one of the most successful writers and producers in American television, and has created, produced, and written scripts for such popular television programs as Designing Women, Hearts Afire, and Evening Shade. Bloodworth-Thomason is also known for her ties to former U.S. President Bill Clinton; she and her husband, Harry Thomason, were heavily involved in Clinton's presidential campaign, and their work in Hollywood came to a virtual standstill while they devoted themselves to supporting Clinton during his presidency. Such political intensity is in keeping with Bloodworth-Thomason's work, for while she has made her name writing comedy, she is also known for incorporating outspoken personal commentary on social issues into her scripts.

According to Bloodworth-Thomason, a concern with correcting the world's problems is a family tradition. Her father was an attorney who took on anti-war causes, and her grandfather was shot and wounded by the Ku Klux Klan in response to his social activism. Bloodworth-Thomason originally planned to follow her father into the field of law, but she visited Los Angeles after graduating from college and ended up staying there. She taught English at an inner-city school in Los Angeles for a while, but eventually began selling scripts to such top-rated television programs as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and M∗A∗S∗H∗. In 1982, she sold a pilot for a soap-opera spoof titled Filthy Rich, to the CBS television network. Although it lasted just one season, Bloodworth-Thomason was now established.

In 1983 she married producer Harry Thomason, and the two founded Mozark Productions, a company whose name honored their home states of Missouri and Arkansas. The company's first produced television series was Lime Street, starring Robert Wagner, and it too was short-lived, partly because of the accidental death of one of its stars. Bloodworth-Thomason then began work on Designing Women, writing the first thirty-five episodes of the program herself. This series concerns four intelligent Southern women who worked together at a design firm in Atlanta. Praised for its humor, insight, and courage in tackling meaningful issues, Designing Women was successful even as it went through several cast changes. When the series went off the air after a long run, Mozark produced Hearts Afire, a romantic comedy that placed a liberal, female journalist in the position of acting as press secretary to a conservative southern senator. Another program, Evening Shade, also had a southern setting, but focused on characters who were less politically aware than those in Designing Women or Hearts Afire.

In 2004, Bloodworth-Thomason published her first novel, Liberating Paris. Although the title evokes a story of World War II, the book is actually set in a small town in the American South. Discussing the book with an interviewer for the Southern Literature Review online, Bloodworth-Thomason reflected, "I wanted to write a story that did a couple of things. I wanted it to show a close knit group of southerners who live in a small town and are as sophisticated, open-minded and beautiful as anyone in Manhattan. They do exist. I know plenty of them, but somehow the rest of America has defined the South as something less they're wrong."

The book's narrative concerns six friends who return to their Southern hometown to reunite as they reach the age of forty. The town's struggle to cope with the arrival of a gigantic retail store also drives the plot. A Library Journal reviewer praised Liberating Paris as both meaningful and humorous, citing its "funny dialog and vivid descriptions of the past and present" as among its best traits. A Publishers Weekly writer recommended it as having "a rich, layered feel," and concluded: "Poignant, welcoming and warmly funny, this is an irresistible page-turner." Booklist reviewer Carol Haggas also gave the book an enthusiastic review, calling it "a touching and tender tribute to small-town Arkansas" and noting: "Thomason excels at creating larger-than-life yet down-to-earth characters."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Newsmakers 1994, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1994.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 2004, review of Liberating Paris, p. 1874.

Broadcasting & Cable, May 23, 1994, "Evening Shade Executive Producers Harry and Linda Thomason and Star Burt Reynolds Are Considering Legal Action against MTM," p. 124; August 21, 1995, "DreamWorks Signs Bloodworth-Thomason," p. 29.

Daily Variety, March 10, 2005, Michael Fleming, "Thomasons Wage 'Paris' Campaign," p. 1.

Entertainment Weekly, January 29, 1993, Frank Spotnitz, "Design for Disaster?," p. 6.

Hollywood Reporter, October 23, 2001, Chris Gardner and Gregg Kilday, "Pro-Clinton Docu in the Works," p. 103.

Inside Media, August 25, 1993, "Passion Designer," p. 1.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2004, review of Liberating Paris, p. 701.

Library Journal, September 15, 2004, Elizabeth Blakesley Lindsay, review of Liberating Paris, p. 51.

Los Angeles Times, December 2, 1992.

Media Week, August 21, 1995, "DreamWorks Signs Thomasons," p. 29.

New Republic, November 2, 1992.

New Yorker, October 12, 1992.

New York Times, March 3, 1991.

People, January 28, 1991, Jeannie Park, "When Not Battling Delta Burke, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason Are Redesigning CBS," p. 49; September 28, 1992.

Philadelphia Daily News, December 27, 2004, Ellen Gray, review of Liberating Paris.

Publishers Weekly, August 9, 2004, Suzanne Mantell, review of Liberating Paris, p. 128.

Time, January 18, 1993; January 9, 1995, Richard Zoglin, review of Women of the House, p. 70; February 13, 1995, ""TV Producer to DC: Drop Dead," p. 22.

Working Woman, November, 1992.

ONLINE

Bookreporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (May 2, 2005), review of Liberating Paris.

Southern Literary Review Online, www.southernlitreview.com/ (May 2, 2005), interview with Bloodworth-Thomason.

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