She Played Jody Banks on "The Fall Guy." See Heather Thomas Now at 64.
Some troubling experiences drove her away from acting, but she's still involved in the industry.
Throughout much of the 1980s, Heather Thomas turned heads as Jody Banks, a Hollywood-stunt-performer-turned-bounty-hunter, on the TV action drama The Fall Guy. At the same time, she was hung on the walls of millions of bedrooms and dorm rooms through her work as a model. After her hit show ended in 1986, Thomas largely vanished from the public eye, appearing in only a handful of movie and TV roles, but she's remained a prominent player in Hollywood, branching out into screenwriting and politics. Read on to learn why she retired from acting in 1998 and what she's been doing since.
She took on other roles during and after The Fall Guy.
While she was starring in The Fall Guy, Thomas also appeared in the 1982 teen sex comedy Zapped! opposite Scott Baio and guested on episodes of The Love Boat and T.J. Hooker.
After the show's cancellation, she landed a few other film roles, including the lead in 1987's Cyclone, a sci-fi adventure in which she plays a woman who must keep the world's most advanced motorcycle out of the hands of villainous arms dealers. Parts in a handful of TV movies and low-budget films like 1990's Red Blooded American Girl and the 1997 police thriller Against the Law followed. Her final big screen role was as a showgirl in the 1998 Billy Crystal comedy My Giant.
Stalkers drove her out of the industry.
Thomas's career success in The Fall Guy coincided with some tough times in her life offscreen. During the height of the show's popularity, she struggled with substance use and entered rehab in 1985, according to People. There, she met her first husband, Allan Rosenthal, one of the founders of Cocaine Anonymous. They divorced in 1986 after less than a year of marriage.
During and after The Fall Guy, Thomas was also dealing with unwanted attention from fans whose behavior crossed the line into stalking. "[In the '80s] I was getting so stalked," she told Reuters in 2009. "I had one guy climb over the fence with a knife one time." In 1993, she took out a restraining order against a fan who showed up at her home uninvited and sent her his screenplay, which she said was "clearly the work of a disturbed person." Though her career had already slowed, Thomas explained that these incidents and others like them contributed to her decision to retire from acting altogether in 1998.
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Out of the spotlight, she focused on her family and writing.
In 1992, Thomas married Hollywood attorney Harry M. Brittenham, who had two daughters from a previous relationship. With her career flagging, and given her past experiences with violent fans, she elected to retire from acting and focus on being a parent instead. In 2000, she gave birth to a daughter, India Rose. "I've been raising children for the past 15 years and it's been great," she told CNN in 2003. "I've had the luxury to do that—I'm very, very, very lucky."
After leaving acting, Thomas refocused her attention on writing. She penned a screenplay about a teenage girl whose reputation is ruined by a false rumor that sold to Touchstone Pictures, though the movie was never made. She has written and sold other un-produced scripts and also published a novel, a Hollywood satire titled Trophies, in 2009.
She's active in politics and philanthropy.
"If you don't take any action, you're just as much to blame," Thomas told CNN in 2003. She's has spent years living up to that ideal.
In the run up the the 2008 presidential election, Thomas became well known in Los Angeles for her political activism. According to a 2008 article in Time, she ran a "salon" known as the L.A. Cafe out of her home, inviting speakers to come and speak about liberal causes to wealthy potential donors. Her political involvement continued over the years, and in 2018, Variety singled her out as one of the Hollywood influential democrats organizing around that year's consequential midterm elections.
She also serves on the advisory boards of the Rape Foundation and Amazon Conservation Team.
She hasn't entirely left acting behind.
Though she never quite made a full onscreen comeback, Thomas did land one more role, in the 2014 webseries Girltrash!, created by Angela Robinson (The L Word) and the related prequel film Girltrash: All Night Long.
She also looks back fondly on her time on The Fall Guy, however, and participated in a 2020 virtual reunion alongside her former co-stars Lee Majors and Doug Barr.