|Born||September 23, 1968 or 1969
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||December 22 or 23, 1998, (aged 29 years old  or 30 years old)
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of death
Michelle Thomas (September 23, 1968 or 1969 – December 22 or 23, 1998) was an American actress. She was best known for her roles as Justine Phillips (girlfriend of Theo Huxtable) on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show, and as Myra Monkhouse (girlfriend of Steve Urkel) on the ABC/CBS sitcom Family Matters.
Early life and career
She was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 23, 1968, although some sources use the year 1969.
Michelle Thomas grew up in Montclair, New Jersey and was an alumna of West Essex High School. She was the daughter of Phynjuar Thomas, a stage actress, and Dennis Thomas, a member of music group Kool & the Gang. In September 1984, and aged 15, Thomas was crowned Miss Talented Teen New Jersey in Hal Jackson's Talented Teen Competition. The following year, she competed in the international pageant and won the title of International Queen.
From 1988 to 1990, Thomas played Justine Phillips, the girlfriend of Theo Huxtable on The Cosby Show. She later appeared on various television programs during the late 1980s and 1990s including A Man Called Hawk and Thea. She had a role on a TV movie, Dream Date, in 1989. In 1991, she had a small role in Hangin' with the Homeboys. She also appeared in music videos for Mint Condition, Dru Hill and Chubb Rock. In 1993, she won the role of Myra Monkhouse on the long-running sitcom Family Matters. After the series ended in 1998, Thomas portrayed Callie Rogers Stark, an aspiring singer on The Young and the Restless. She left the series in October 1998.
In August 1997, Thomas was diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer, intra-abdominal desmoplastic small-round-cell tumor. She underwent surgery to remove a lemon-sized tumor shortly before landing her Young and the Restless role in the spring of 1998. In October 1998, she underwent surgery after a second cancerous growth ruptured. After being released from the hospital, Thomas flew home to New Jersey to spend Thanksgiving with her family.
|1988 - 1990||The Cosby Show||Justine Phillips||8 episodes|
|1989||A Man Called Hawk||Ruthie Carver||Episode: "Choice of Chance"|
|1989||Dream Date||Sally Palmer||Television movie|
|1991||Hangin' with the Homeboys||Telemarketing operator|
|1993 - 1998||Family Matters||Myra Monkhouse||55 episodes|
|1996||Duckman||Voice role||Episode: "Exile in Guyville"|
|1997||Malcolm & Eddie||Brooke Bellamy||Episode: "Roofless People"|
|1998||The Young and the Restless||Callie Rogers Stark|
|Year||Award||Category||Title of work||Result|
|1999||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series||The Young and the Restless||Nominated|
- Staff (December 26, 1998). "Michelle Thomas actress on sitcoms, daytime drama". Miami Herald. pp. 4B Local. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
- "Boston-born actress Thomas, dead at 29". Bay State Banner. February 11, 1999. Retrieved 2014-10-04. "... has died as a result of a desmoplastic small round tumor, a rare form of cancer, at age 29."
- Pace, Eric (28 December 1998). "Michelle Thomas, 30, Actress On TV Soap Opera and Sitcoms". The New York Times. p. 8. Retrieved 2012-03-30. "Michelle Thomas, an actress in the television programs The Cosby Show, Family Matters and The Young and the Restless died on Wednesday at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. She was 30 and lived in Los Angeles, though she had been staying with her family in Weehawken, N.J., since November. ... She was born in Boston, Mass., grew up in Montclair, N.J., and graduated from West Essex High School in North Caldwell, N.J."
- Chambers, Cheehsa. December 29, 1998, Variety, Michelle Thomas. Accessed 2009-05-03.
- Entertainment Weekly, January 8, 1999, "Monitor." Accessed 2009-05-03.
- The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 26, 1998, Michell Thomas, Television actress".
- "Forever Young". People magazine. January 11, 1999. Retrieved 2010-06-07. "Thomas was buried in Montclair following a Muslim funeral service, as she had requested ..."
- Ross, Pinnie (September 8, 1984). "2000 at Miss Talented Teen Pageant". Baltimore Afro-American. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
- Ross, Pinnie L. (August 30, 1986). "International Teen Pageant-an extravaganza". Baltimore Afro-American. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
- Michelle Thomas, 'Family Matters' TV Star, Dies of Cancer At 30. Jet magazine. January 18, 1999. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
- "Y&R's Thomas Dies Of Cancer At 29". CBS News. December 29, 1998. Retrieved 2010-06-08. "Actress Michelle Thomas, who had television roles in The Young & The Restless, The Cosby Show and Family Matters, has died of cancer at age 29. Thomas died December 22 in Manhattan, according to her publicist, Kahdijah Bell."
- Los Angeles Sentinel, January 6, 1999, "Michelle Thomas Succumbs To Cancer". Accessed 2009-05-03.
- "Soap actress dies". Toronto Star. December 30, 1998. Retrieved 2010-06-08.