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As of 2014, he was twice listed in the Guinness World Records, for the longest career as a reporter, and for the most consecutive Academy Awards shows covered by an entertainment reporter.
Born in San Diego in 1922, he grew up in Los Angeles, where his father was a film publicist. He attended UCLA. He lived in Encino with his wife, Patricia. They had three daughters. Thomas, aged 92, died on March 14, 2014 at his home.
Thomas made his mark by engaging celebrities in activities that brought out their personalities, whether by measuring their waistlines after childbirth (as he did with Betty Grable) or testing just how tall a leading lady needed to be by kissing her himself (as he did with June Haver). Acclaimed as the dean of Hollywood reporters, Bob Thomas had been writing about the movie business for the Associated Press since the days when Hollywood was run by the men who founded it: Jack L. Warner, Darryl F. Zanuck, Harry Cohn, and Louis B. Mayer. 
For contributions to the motion picture industry, Thomas received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (the first author-reporter to be given this honour), which was paid for by his friends in advance and placed at 6879 Hollywood Boulevard. In 2009, in recognition of over 60 years of covering the entertainment business for the Associated Press, the Publicists Guild awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award.