|Born:||September 23, 1969|
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
|Died:||December 22, 1998 (aged 29)|
New York, New York, USA
|Height:||5 ft 0 in (1.52 m)|
Michelle Thomas (born September 23, 1969 – December 22, 1998) was an actress who is best known for her roles as Myra Monkhouse, the girlfriend of Steve Urkel, on the American sitcom Family Matters from 1993 to 1998 and Justine Phillips, girlfriend of Theo Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Additionally, in 1984 Thomas was crowned Hal Jackson's Talented Teens Miss New Jersey and Miss International.
Thomas was born in Boston, Massachusetts, but grew up in New York City, where she attended the Montclair School of the Arts and the Broadway Dance Center. Her mother was Phynjuar Thomas, a stage performer, and her father was Dennis Thomas, a founding member of the band Kool & the Gang. Thomas grew up in Montclair, New Jersey, and is an alumna of West Essex High School. Although she had many talents, Thomas's first love was music. With both parents in the entertainment industry it was only natural that she would develop her own performing skills at a young age.
In addition to music, she studied jazz, modern and hip-hop dance at the Broadway Dance Center in New York. While attending an all-girls private school in New Jersey, she was crowned Miss Talented Teen New Jersey in Hal Jackson's Talented Teen Competition, a contest based on talent and academics. She went on to compete in the international pageant in Jamaica and was crowned International Queen in 1985.
At the age of 16, Thomas was offered a recording contract, but decided to move to Los Angeles and focus on her acting career. She landed a national commercial on her very first audition.
She appeared in a variety of television programs during the 1990s including The Cosby Show, Roseanne and The Young and the Restless (for which she was nominated for NAACP Award as outstanding African American actress in a daytime television program). In her spare time, Thomas performed with The Groundlings Theatre group.
In August 1997, Thomas was diagnosed with intra-abdominal desmoplastic small round cell tumor, a rare soft tissue sarcoma. Thomas initially refused the treatment for she was afraid that it would interfere with her chances of conceiving children. Though she died before she could have any children, she had agreed to treatment after her illness was deemed terminal.
During the last season of Family Matters, her cancer grew worse, making it harder for her to do her scenes. Her screen time grew shorter and shorter, before she had to leave the show for good in 1998 shortly before it was canceled. On December 22, 1998, Thomas died in New York City at the age of 29. Her former boyfriend, actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner, was at her side.
Michelle also starred in Dru Hill's video Never Make a Promise and Mint Condition's "What Kind of Man Would I Be". She also made a brief appearance on the movie Hanging with the Homeboys.
- Michelle Thomas at a fan page from Kellie Shanygne Williams
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- Michelle Thomas biography
- Chambers, Cheehsa. 29 December 1998, Variety, Michelle Thomas. Accessed 3 May 2009.
- infoplease.com, Michelle Thomas. Accessed 3 May 2009.
- Entertainment Weekly, 8 January 1999, "Monitor." Accessed 3 May 2009.
- The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 26 December 1998, Michell Thomas, Television actress".
- Pace, Eric. "Michelle Thomas, 30, Actress On TV Soap Opera and Sitcoms", The New York Times, December 28, 1998. Accessed October 3, 2007. "She was born in Boston, Mass., grew up in Montclair, N.J., and graduated from West Essex High School in North Caldwell, N.J."