Comic actress, Michelle Thomas was one of the brightest stars on American television between the late 80s and the 90s. She came into the limelight when she portrayed the character Justine Phillips on The Cosby Show. She later got the biggest role of her career on the ABC sitcom Family Matters in which she played the main role of Myra Monkhouse. Thomas also recorded a notable recurring guest role on the hit soap opera The Young and the Restless for which she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award nomination. Sadly, she died in 1998 bringing an abrupt end to her promising career.
Michelle Thomas – Biography
The talented actress and comedian was born Michelle Doris Thomas on the 23rd of September 1968. She was born in Brookline, Norfolk County, Massachusetts but she grew up in Montclair, New Jersey. Interestingly, her parents were both involved in show business. Her mother, Phynjuar Thomas, was a stage actress and acting coach while her father, Dennis “D.T.” Thomas plays the saxophone for the 1970s funk band ‘Kool & the Gang’. She was raised alongside one sibling, a brother named David Thomas.
Michelle Thomas attended West Essex High School in North Cadwell, New Jersey. She also trained at the Montclair School of Arts and the Broadway Dance Center. Growing up, she took part in a number of beauty contests including Hal Jackson’s Talented Teen pageant for which she was crowned Miss Talented Teen New Jersey. She ultimately won the International Queen title at the International competition held in Montego Bay, Jamaica in July 1984.
Thomas began her acting career after graduating from high school in 1987. Her first major TV role was on the NBC hit sitcom The Cosby Show (1988-90) starring as Justine Phillips. She portrayed the character Sally Palmer in the made-for-TV movie Dream Date (1989) and also featured on the short-lived action series A Man Called Hawk (1989). The talented actress also played a minor role in the coming-of-age comedy film Hangin’ with the Homeboys (1991).
She was also on the main cast of the ABC sitcom Family Matters (1993-98) starring as series regular Myra Monkhouse. While at it, Michelle Thomas also recorded guest roles on other hit sitcoms Thea (1994), Duckman (1996) and Malcolm & Eddie (1997). She also portrayed a guest character Callie Rogers Stark on the hit soap opera The Young and the Restless (1998) and this earned her a nomination for the 1999 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series.
Michelle Thomas appeared in several music videos in the course of her career and she also featured in many Los Angeles theatre productions. Her last acting role was in the romance film Unbowed (1999). The movie was released after she had died.
Height: How Tall Was She?
Michelle Thomas had a petite stature as she was 5 feet (152 m) tall. She was known to have a buxom physique and a brilliant smile, the latter being her trademark feature. The gorgeous actress was also known to have long black hair.
How and When Did She Die?
Michelle Thomas was diagnosed with an unusual form of stomach cancer a few weeks to her 29th birthday. The condition is said to have affected her work on the show Family Matters and her screen time was reduced progressively until she eventually quit the show. She is also reported to have refused to take any form of treatment that could have hampered her chances of procreating in the future.
Before landing her role on The Young and the Restless, Michelle Thomas underwent a surgical operation to remove a small tumor the size of a lemon. The actress underwent a second surgery in October 1998 after a second tumor ruptured. After Michelle Thomas was discharged from the hospital, she traveled to her home in New Jersey to spend Thanksgiving with her family.
Michelle Thomas’s untimely death occurred on December 23, 1998, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center located in Manhattan, New York City. She was surrounded by family and friends including her former boyfriend and fellow actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner. A Muslim funeral service was held in her honor on December 26, 1998, and her remains were laid to rest at Rosedale Cemetery located in Orange, Essex County, New Jersey.