Who was Michelle Thomas?
Michelle Thomas was an American actress probably best known for her roles as Myra Monkhouse in the TV series “Family Matters” (1993-1998), and as Callie Rogers in the TV series “The Young and the Restless” (1998), in addition to several other notable roles she had in her career.
Michelle Thomas Wiki: Age, Childhood, and Education
Michelle Thomas was born on 23 September 1968 in Brookline, Massachusetts, USA, the daughter of Phynjuar’ Penwah’ Thomas, an actress, and Dennis’ Dee Tee’ Thomas, founding member of the popular band Kool & the Gang.
She spent her childhood in Montclair, New Jersey, and attended West Essex High School, from which she matriculated in 1987.
Michelle expressed interest in acting from an early age, and her mother served as her acting coach. Michelle would accompany her mother to her theater rehearsals, and she was spotted by her mother’s friend, who heard her singing.
Michelle went on to win the Miss Talented Teen New Jersey, and at 15 years old, she was crowned Miss Talented Teen International in Montego Bay, Jamaica from among 35 state and national representatives.
Michelle began her career in the early ’80s. She first made an appearance in a commercial, after which she made a guest appearance in “Soul Train”.
However, her acting debut was in 1988, when she was chosen for the part of Justine Phillips in the TV sitcom “The Cosby Show”. Her character was the girlfriend of Theo Huxtable, portrayed by actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner. Although she only appeared in eight episodes between 1988 and 1990, it was enough for her to get recognition and a chance to prove herself as an actress.
In 1989, she appeared in the television romantic comedy movie “Dream Date”, which tells a story of an overprotective father and his teenage daughter, who is ready for her first date with the captain of the football team, starring Tempestt Bledsoe, Clifton Davis and Kadeem Hardison.
Rise to Prominence
Two years later, Michelle had a minor role as a telemarketing operator in the comedy-drama film “Hangin’ with Homeboys”; the film starred John Leguizamo, Doug E. Doug, Mario Joyner and Nestor Serrano, and follows the misadventures of a group of friends over the course of one night in The Bronx.
However, in 1993, Michelle secured the role of her career, achieving significant success with her role as Myra Monkhouse in the hit television series “Family Matters” from 1993 to 1998. She appeared in 55 episodes of the show and became a fan favorite among viewers.
Thomas got the part of Myra after auditioning for the show’s producers, who were impressed by her talent and energy. Her character, Myra, was introduced in the show’s fourth season as the girlfriend of Steve Urkel, played by Jaleel White.
Her chemistry with White’s character helped to make their on-screen relationship a memorable one for viewers.
One of the major moments in Thomas’s career on “Family Matters” was her character’s eventual breakup from Steve Urkel. The storyline was a significant one for the show’s fans, who had grown to love the Myra and Steve relationship, and it showcased Thomas’s acting abilities as she portrayed the heartbreak and emotional turmoil of her character.
During her time on “Family Matters”, Thomas’s popularity grew, and she became a prominent figure in the show’s cast, working alongside notable actors such as Reginald VelJohnson, Darius McCrary, and Kellie Shanygne Williams.
Michelle Thomas aka Myra from Family Matters, parents are actress Phynjuar Thomas and saxophonist and founding member of the band Kool & the Gang, Dennis D.T. Thomas https://t.co/lOOu3EXxYH pic.twitter.com/kg5vXealUN
— Rahshawn (@ijahmeer) July 15, 2022
Unfortunately, Thomas’s time on “Family Matters” was cut short due to her untimely death in 1998 from a rare form of cancer.
Nevertheless, her legacy lives on through her work on “Family Matters”, and her other acting roles, which continue to be enjoyed by viewers today.
While on “Family Matters”, Michelle didn’t pursue many other roles, but still played Keanda in two episodes of the TV series “Thea” in 1994, while in 1997, she was Brooke Bellamy in an episode of the TV series “Malcolm & Eddie”.
Then in 1998, when “Family Matters” ended, Michelle landed the role of Callie Rogers in the long-running daytime soap opera “The Young and the Restless”, appearing in 38 episodes of the show before her untimely death later that year. She took medical leave when her health suddenly deteriorated, and never returned.
Her character, Callie, was a nightclub singer and love interest of Malcolm Winters, played by Shemar Moore. In addition to acting, Michelle showcased her vocal talents with several musical performances throughout her time in the show.
Thomas’s time on “The Young and the Restless” was brief but impactful, as she left a lasting impression on viewers with her talent and charm, and which earned her a posthumous nomination for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series.
Released posthumously was the romantic historical drama film “Unbowed”, in which she portrayed Anna, also starring Tembi Locke, Jay Travare, and Chuma Gault.
According to authoritative sources, Michelle Thomas’s net worth was estimated at close to $1 million at the time of her death.
Personal Life, Dating, Boyfriend, Single, Marriage
Michelle was very private about her personal life and only provided rare leaks of her private information. According to reports, she dated actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner from 1989 until 1994.
Illness and Death
Michelle received a rare cancer diagnosis in August 1997; she had an intra-abdominal desmoplastic small-round-cell tumor (DSRCT), and underwent surgery before she was chosen for the part in “The Young and Restless”. Another operation followed in October 1998 as a second cancerous growth was discovered. Once she was released from the hospital, she went home to New Jersey, desiring to spend time with her family, specifically Thanksgiving.
Unfortunately, Michelle died in New York City at Manhattan’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center on 23 December 1998. Her ex-boyfriend, Malcolm-Jamal, was at her side in her time of dying.
She was a Muslim, and a Muslim funeral service was held three days after her death. She was buried in New Jersey.
Michelle never drank alcohol or smoked and was a vegetarian.