Heather Thomas, best known for her role as Jody Banks in the ’80s action series The Fall Guy, alongside Lee Majors and Douglas Barr, captured the hearts of viewers with her beauty and talent. However, in 1986, Heather’s life took a dramatic turn due to a tragic accident.
In September 1986, something terrible happened to Heather Thomas. She was hit by a car, and this accident left her with serious injuries to her legs. This incident led her to make a significant change in her life. Instead of continuing her career in showbiz, she chose to focus on writing screenplays and raising her two stepdaughters, followed by the birth of her own daughter in 2000. Since then, Heather has become an active voice in political activism, advocating for women’s rights and environmental causes.
Heather Thomas was born on September 8, 1957, in Greenwich, Connecticut. Her journey to fame began when she hosted NBC’s celebrity show, Talking with a Giant, as a teenager. She studied theater at UCLA and took on various TV roles before landing her breakthrough opportunity in the 1981 series The Fall Guy.
Her portrayal of Jody Banks, a stunt performer turned bounty hunter, catapulted Heather to stardom. She went on to appear in films like the sex comedy Zapped! and the sci-fi thriller Cyclone.
In 1984, Heather confronted her battle with addiction by entering a drug rehabilitation program. She later shared with the press, “The doctors said I should have been dead three years ago.” During her recovery, she met psychotherapist Allan Rosenthal, and the two were married from August 1985 to September 1986.
Tragedy struck again in September 1986 when Heather was involved in a car accident while crossing San Vicente Boulevard. Although the car was traveling at a relatively slow speed, the impact left her with broken legs, head and chest pains, as well as cuts and bruises. Heather underwent a grueling six-hour surgery, including plastic and orthopedic procedures, as well as a skin graft. Fortunately, her physician, Dr. Steve Hoefflin, held hope for her recovery.
During her hospitalization, Heather’s close friend Ted Deerhurst, a British-American viscount and surfer, stood by her side. Little did she know that Deerhurst harbored deep feelings for her, a secret he carried until his passing in 1997.
The car’s driver faced no fault, and Heather avoided charges for jaywalking, which was once strictly penalized in California. Notably, the state has since decriminalized jaywalking, reducing the potential fine from $250.
Heather Thomas decided to step away from the entertainment industry following the accident. In a subsequent negligence complaint against the driver, it was stated that her “rapidly rising career… was abruptly halted by the debilitating and disfiguring injuries she suffered.” These injuries not only affected her physically but also emotionally, preventing her from participating in most sports and physical activities.
However, it wasn’t just her injuries that prompted her departure from Hollywood in the ’80s. Heather faced unwanted attention from multiple stalkers, prompting her to obtain approximately 45 restraining orders to protect herself and her family. In a 2009 interview, she cited these stalkers, rather than her injuries, as the primary reason for leaving the industry, saying, “I was getting so stalked… I had one guy climb over the fence with a knife one time. I had these two little girls, and they desperately needed raising, so that was that.”
In 1992, another unsettling incident occurred when a man entered her Los Angeles home after sending her a disturbing screenplay filled with references to sadomasochism and perverse behavior.
Since 1992, Heather has been happily married to entertainment lawyer Harry Marcus ‘Skip’ Brittenham. Together, they have raised his two daughters from a previous relationship and welcomed their own daughter, India Rose, in 2000. Heather also added a pet parrot to their family.
Throughout the ’90s, Heather devoted her time to writing, penning over 40 screenplays, although securing film deals proved challenging. Her stories often delved into horror themes and carried a deep social agenda. In 2008, she authored a novel titled “Trophies.”
Heather Thomas extended her influence beyond the entertainment world by becoming active in political circles. In the late 2000s, she hosted the L.A. Cafe, a monthly event at her home, where speakers discussed various liberal topics. Her advocacy work has encompassed women’s rights and environmental causes.
While she made appearances in the 2014 web series Girltrash and its prequel, and participated in a Fall Guy reunion in 2020 during the global pandemic, Heather Thomas has predominantly left acting behind. Yet, she harbors no regrets about her time as a sex symbol, affirming, “When I was young, I did what people told me to do, but when I was older, I didn’t compromise myself. I wanted power and freedom. This gave me a house and the notoriety to get into the door. There is nothing horrible in letting people see your body. I don’t think I betrayed myself. I don’t think being a feminist means you should be ashamed of your body.”