Though not everyone will be immediately familiar with the name Heather Thomas, they will likely recognize the actress’s visage. In addition to appearing on the television series The Fall Guy, the actress became a popular pin-up girl that featured on posters gracing the walls of dorm rooms across the world. Sadly, a number of stalking incidents later in her career forced the actress into early retirement. Thankfully, her writing career and family kept her going! Join Facts Verse as we explore what happened to Heather Thomas, Jody Banks from The Fall Guy.
Heather Thomas was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, on September 8, 1957. Her mother worked as a special education teacher in the local school district. After graduating from high school in 1975; Heather moved to California and began attending the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television; where she became a member of one of the school’s notable sorority houses due to both her good looks and academic achievements. She graduated from the university in 1980, and was ready to head out into the world.
Heather had studied at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television to become a writer and director. But the industry soon showed that it had other plans for the young woman. Heather had already dabbled in being on screen. As a 14-year-old, she had been a host on the NBC series Talking with a Giant; where children given the chance to interview celebrities. However, Heather didn’t have plans to pursue an acting career as an adult. Still, she ended up finding that it was easier for her to get gigs as an actress than it was for her to get work as a writer or director.
Starting in 1978, Heather began gaining attention as a television actress, taking on a variety of small roles. One of her earliest roles was on the show Co-Ed Fever, but the show was a flop with audiences and didn’t make it for a full run.
After the failure of Co-Ed Fever, Heather offered the role of Jody Banks in The Fall Guy. The series starred Lee Majors. Though the part of Jody had initially been written for Lee’s wife, Farrah Fawcett, the two had since gotten divorced. Farrah had filmed the pilot, and now Lee was looking for a star to take over the role for the rest of the series. Lee and the producers ending up deciding on Heather; who was soon going to become a sex symbol to rival Farrah Fawcett in her own right. This would be due to both her popularity on The Fall Guy. As well as numerous photo shoots for magazines and posters that were about to litter dorm rooms across the world.
Lee Majors had just recently come off the success of The Six Million Dollar Man, and he was able to draw a big audience. Once people tuned in for Lee, they stayed for Heather. The Fall Guy followed a group of stunt performers that worked as bounty hunters during their off hours. Heather stayed on to play the role of Jody for the show’s entire run, which lasted from 1981 to 1986. By the end, her increased popularity was causing Heather to have numerous incidents with stalkers. Pretty soon, the actress was going to develop a somewhat negative view of the fame that she had acquired.
During the years that The Fall Guy filmed, Heather developed a cocaine habit. Heather had tried the drug previously at parties during college. However, her use of the drug during the filming of The Fall Guy was far less recreational. Not only did Heather’s cocaine use help keep her fit and attractive for filming and photo shoots. But it also helped alleviate the negative effects of another dietary aid that she was using. In addition to using cocaine to stay skinny, Heather also used the diuretic drug Lasix. The actress has shared that the Lasix made her tired, and the cocaine helped keep her awake during workdays.
Heather ended up entering rehabilitation for her cocaine use; where she met and fell in love with one of the founders of the Cocaine Anonymous program. Sadly, their romance incredibly short-lived. They married in August of 1985, and divorced in September of 1986. That same month, Heather struck by a car and received serious injuries to both of her legs that required surgery. The Fall Guy had aired it’s last episode in May of that year. And things were not looking good for Heather. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! As well, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Heather Thomas had given a surprise intervention soon after the filming of the final episode of The Fall Guy. Her family had called her up on the phone and told her to come to the hospital under the pretense that her father had fallen ill. When Heather got there, she realized she had tricked into attending an intervention for her cocaine use. This is what led to Heather entering rehabilitation.
Heather admitted into the hospital’s drug rehabilitation program, where she ended up staying for three weeks. During that time, she suffered from numerous health complications as a result of her withdrawals. In addition to general chemical balance, these included pneumonia and kidney inflammation. Thankfully, the rehabilitation proved successful, and Heather is still currently drug free.
After the disastrous year that saw Heather live through the cancellation of her hit show, a three-week stay in rehab, a divorce, and numerous broken bones, Heather was ready to get back in the acting game with some new jobs. She appeared in a few films in 1987, including Death Stone and Cyclone. However, none of these roles brought the actress much Hollywood credibility. It soon appeared as if Heather going to relegated to the status of sex symbol and B-movie star. Thankfully the actress soon found something else to focus on in the form of a new husband and family.
In 1992, Heather met attorney Harry Brittenham. The actor was a notable figure in the Hollywood scene, and Heather soon fell in love with him. The two decided to get married and start a family. Heather had become increasingly disinterested in acting, due both to the lack of quality offers that she was receiving and to the increasing attention that she was getting from stalkers.
Since her rise to fame on The Fall Guy, Heather had always had to deal with obsessive fans giving her unwanted attention. Apparently, these incidents became so numerous that Heather once had over 40 restraining orders in place against fans that had begun stalking her. This stalking continued into the 1990s, and became a serious issue once Heather began starting her own family. Heather had been able to deal with the stalking when she was the only one suffering, but she didn’t want it to be an issue when she was raising her kids. This was another big part of why Heather eventually decided to retire from being an actress.
Heather’s last acting role before her official retirement was in the 1998 Billy Crystal comedy My Giant, in which she played a showgirl. The role proved a fitting swan song for the actress, who was now ready to rekindle her love of writing. Heather began writing numerous scripts, many of which she able to get sold. However, none of the scripts that Heather has sold over the past few decades have yet turned into film, which is a common issue for writers.
After several years of selling scripts that never made it into production, Heather decided to write a novel and get it published. That way, the people would finally be able to see what she had to offer. Heather’s debut novel released in 2008, and it called Trophies. The story revolved around a trophy wife, who functioned as an avatar for Heather herself. The story inspired by Heather’s life as the trophy wife of her husband Harry, and how she helps her husband navigate the social scene. The novel was meant to change the perception that trophy wives aren’t capable and knowledgeable individuals with skills of their own.
Besides writing, Heather also maintains another passion in her twilight years. Due to the numerous stalking incidents that she suffered during her acting career, Heather has become incredibly passionate about women’s safety. She has written pieces for The Rape Foundation. As well, she has written pieces for the Amazon Conservatory Board, which works to conserve the Amazon rainforest.
Now that her children are older, Heather has expressed that she is willing to get back into acting. However, the only acting appearance that she has made since her official retirement in 1998 has been in the 2014 film Girltrash: All Night Long. The obscure feature was based off of the LGBTQ+ web series Girltrash! It seems that Heather thomas may be interested in taking on more roles in the future, and is also continuing to write as much as she can. Perhaps, one of her scripts will end up being turned into a major motion picture someday. Until then, you can check out Heather’s debut novel, Trophies, and hope that more is on the way!
Heather Thomas is one of countless figures in the entertainment industry that has suffered from stalking at the hands of obsessed fans. Comment down below to share if you were surprised to learn about the reason that Heather Thomas chose to quit acting, or if you’re looking forward to her possible return to the screen! As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!