Dave Thomas (actor)

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Dave Thomas
Thomas at the 34th Annie Awards, 2007
David William Thomas

(1948-05-20) May 20, 1948 (age 75)
EducationMcMaster University (B.A., English literature)
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • television writer
Years active1974–present
  • (divorced)
  • Kimberly Ann
    (m. 1994)
RelativesIan Thomas (brother)

David William Thomas CM (born May 20, 1948) is a Canadian actor, comedian and television writer, known for being one half of the duo Bob and Doug McKenzie with Rick Moranis. He appeared as Doug McKenzie on SCTV, for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award out of two nominations, and in the film Strange Brew (1983), which he also co-directed. As a duo, they made two albums, The Great White North and Strange Brew, the former gaining them a Grammy Award nomination and a Juno Award.

His other notable acting credits include Stripes (1981), Sesame Street Presents: Follow that Bird (1985), Love at Stake (1987), Moving (1988), Coneheads (1993) and Rat Race (2001). He provided the voice of Tuke in Brother Bear (2003), and Brother Bear 2 (2006), and is also known for playing Russell Norton in the TV series Grace Under Fire (1993-1998).

Early life[edit]

David William Thomas was born May 20, 1949, in St. Catharines, Ontario. He is the eldest son of British parents, Moreen Duff Muir (May 4, 1928 - May 18, 2022), a church organist for thirty years originally from Glasgow, Scotland, and composer of church music, and John E. Thomas (1926–1996), a medical ethicist from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales who was head of the Philosophy Department at McMaster University, and the author of several books. Dave's younger brother, Ian, is a Canadian singer-songwriter.

The family moved temporarily to Durham, North Carolina, where his father attended Duke University and earned a PhD in philosophy. The family moved back to Dundas, Ontario, in 1961, where Dave Thomas attended Dundas District high school, and later graduated with an honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.[1]


Starting his career as a copywriter at ad agency McCann Erickson in 1974, he became the head writer of the Coca-Cola account in Canada within a year. After watching a Second City stage show in Toronto, and while suffering from self-described "boredom" in his advertising work, he auditioned for the Second City troupe and was chosen as a performer.[2] He was a cast member of the Toronto production of Godspell, along with Victor Garber, Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Gilda Radner, and Andrea Martin.[3] Paul Shaffer was the musical director.[3]

He first achieved fame as a cast member of the Canadian TV comedy series SCTV, joining Godspell castmates Levy, Martin and later Short, plus Rick Moranis, John Candy, Harold Ramis, Catherine O'Hara and others. Notable characters on the show include Doug McKenzie of beer-swilling brothers Bob and Doug McKenzie, editorialist Bill Needle, Scottish scone-chef/bluesman Angus Crock, motor-mouthed TV ad announcer Harvey K-Tel, Lowery organist/curio pitchman Tex Boil and the "Cruising Gourmet".

Thomas's first film role was in Home to Stay, directed by Delbert Mann, in which Thomas played in a scene with Hollywood legend Henry Fonda. He then wrote, co-directed, and starred in the Bob & Doug McKenzie feature film Strange Brew. Soon after, he wrote for and acted in The New Show, produced by Lorne Michaels during his hiatus from Saturday Night Live. Short-lived, this show featured a powerhouse writing staff including Thomas along with Buck Henry, George Meyer, Jack Handey, Al Franken, Tom Davis, Valri Bromfield and Steve Martin. Thomas tried his hand at network television hour-long shows in 1986 when he wrote and co-executive produced Steel Collar Man for CBS. The pilot was produced but did not go to series.

In 1988, Thomas wrote another hour long show for CBS, B Men, which was back ordered, but Thomas took a directing job at Paramount, which caused the network to drop the series. He reportedly introduced John Travolta and Kelly Preston while directing them in the Paramount film The Experts.

He wrote for, produced, and starred in The Dave Thomas Comedy Show (1990). In 1991, he starred in the Showtime comedy, Public Enemy #2. In 1992, he tried his hand at reality TV and co-executive produced ABC's America's Funniest People with Vin Di Bona, but left after thirteen weeks to appear in the film Coneheads.

In 1993, he co-starred in ABC's Grace Under Fire with Brett Butler and Tom Poston and continued with the show for 5 seasons. In 1995 Thomas starred in the ABC television film Picture Perfect with Mary Page Keller and Richard Karn. In 1995 Thomas produced a pilot of a game show called Family Challenge for ABC. When ABC did not pick up the series, Thomas sold Family Challenge to the Family Channel, where he produced 144 episodes of the show spread over 2 seasons. In 1996, Thomas played the title role in the Fox television film Mr. Foster's Field Trip aka Kidz in the Wood with Julia Duffy.

In 1996, he wrote the book SCTV: Behind the Scenes (McClelland & Stewart, publishers). From 1999-2002, he voiced various roles on the animated series Mission Hill.

Thomas co-starred in the Paramount feature Rat Race. As of 2001, Thomas has been the Executive Creative Director of Animax Entertainment, an animation studio based officially in Culver City, California. In 2001-2002 Thomas appeared with Eugene Levy and Martin Short on Short's show Primetime Glick as Bob Hope (an impression he had first developed for SCTV with great success). In 2002, he co-starred with Jason Priestley, Dave Foley and Ewen Bremner in Fancy Dancing. The next year he played a lead role in Beethoven's 5th. In 2003, he directed a hospital comedy feature film entitled Whitecoats, which he also wrote. As of 2004, Thomas was on the official Advisory Committee for the Comedy program at Humber College, the only such diploma program in the world. In 2004, he and Moranis again worked together voicing Rutt and Tuke, two moose based on the McKenzie Brothers, in Disney's animated feature Brother Bear.[4]

Thomas has had a long career doing voices for animation including Animaniacs, Duckman, CatDog, The Adventures of Tarzan, Justice League and multiple roles on The Simpsons, King of the Hill and Family Guy. In 2005, he had a guest stint as Charlize Theron's "Uncle Trevor" on Fox's Arrested Development. In 2006, he reprised his voice role in Brother Bear 2 and appeared as himself in the feature film The Aristocrats. He began production on ArnoldSpeaks.com, a video blog, as the voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger; Animax Entertainment won an Emmy for a broadband animated series produced for ESPN, Off Mikes.

In 2007, Thomas and Rick Moranis reprised their roles as Bob and Doug McKenzie in a one-hour special, Bob & Doug McKenzie's Two-Four Anniversary, for CBC Television. The show featured cameos from McKenzie celeb fans like Ben Stiller, Dave Foley, Tom Green, Paul Shaffer, Andy Dick, Matt Groening, Barry Pepper, Martin Short, and Geddy Lee. Former Prime Minister of Canada Paul Martin was the host. In 2008, Thomas revived Bob and Doug McKenzie in a new animated series, Bob & Doug. While Thomas reprises the character of Doug in the new series, Moranis chose not to voice the character of Bob, which instead is voiced by Dave Coulier. Moranis is, however, involved in the series as an executive producer.[5]

In November 2009, Thomas received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from his alma mater McMaster University and gave the fall convocation speech. In 2010 Animax continued to produce branded entertainment, advertising and digital shorts for corporations like Disney, Warner Brothers, NBC Universal, and Kodak. In 2011, Thomas's company Animax produced another animated show for MTV entitled Big Box along with numerous Internet shorts such as Life With Dad.[6][7]

In 2012 and 2013 Thomas guest starred in the dramatic shows Perception and Bones as well as comedy shows Comedy Bang! Bang! and How I Met Your Mother. In addition in 2013 Thomas voiced the recurring role of Jeff Foxworthy's father Jesco in the CMT show Bounty Hunters.

Thomas joined the writing staff of the Fox crime drama television series Bones beginning in 2013. Thomas worked for two seasons on Bones, writing several episodes and working on staff as consulting producer for two seasons.[8]

In 2015 Thomas joined the writing staff of NBC's The Blacklist as a consulting producer.

In 2020 life-sized statues of Thomas and Rick Moranis as their characters Bob and Doug McKenzie was put in place at the ICE District Sports Arena in Edmonton, Alberta.[9]

Also in 2020, the Governor-General of Canada announced that Thomas was being appointed to the Order of Canada,[10] Canada's highest civilian award.

In 2021, Thomas and Max Allan Collins teamed to write a sci-fi mystery novel, The Many Lives of Jimmy Leighton.[11]


Partial filmography[edit]

Celebrity impersonations on SCTV[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result
1981 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program SCTV (shared with other writers) Won
1982 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program SCTV (shared with other writers) Nominated
1983 Grammy Awards Best Comedy Album The Great White North - Bob and Doug McKenzie Nominated
1983-84 Juno Awards Juno Award for Comedy Album of the Year The Great White North - Bob and Doug McKenzie Won
1994 People's Choice Awards Favorite New TV Comedy Grace Under Fire Won
1995 Gemini Awards Earle Grey Award for Best Cast SCTV Won
2005 27th Sports Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement In Content For Non-Traditional Delivery Platforms Off Mikes - Writer for Animax Won


  1. ^ a b "Comedian Dave Thomas among honorary degree recipients at Fall convocation". McMaster University (Press release). Hamliton, Ont. November 12, 2009. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  2. ^ Plume, Kenneth (February 10, 2000). "Interview with Dave Thomas (Part 1 of 5)". IGN.
  3. ^ a b "Mirvish | Godspell". Ed Mirvish Theatre. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  4. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (July 6, 2004). "These Two Talking Moose Let Their Antlers Down (Published 2004)". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Rob Salem, "Bob & Doug taking off again". Toronto Star, April 19, 2009.
  6. ^ Pearce, Cameron (April 12, 2011). "Life With Dad 'Dog'" Archived May 28, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Funny or Die.
  7. ^ Pearce, Cameron (April 12, 2011). "Life With Dad 'One Night Stand'" Archived May 28, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Funny or Die.
  8. ^ "AMPIA's 2013 Special Achievement Award recipient" (PDF). Alberta Media Production Industries Association. 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 11, 2013. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  9. ^ "The SCTV Monument is a Reality". March 25, 2020.
  10. ^ "Governor General Announces 114 New Appointments to the Order of Canada". November 26, 2020.
  11. ^ "Dave Thomas and Max Allan Collins take mystery to the multiverse". Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  12. ^ "Dave Thomas - Emmy Awards, Nominations and Wins". Television Academy. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  13. ^ "Canada's Walk of Fame". Canada's Walk of Fame. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  14. ^ Sandor, Steven (April 24, 2013). "SCTV's Dave Thomas to be Honoured at AMPIA Awards". Avenue Edmonton. Archived from the original on July 23, 2013 – via avenueedmonton.com.
  15. ^ "Governor General Announces 114 New Appointments to the Order of Canada". November 26, 2020.

External links[edit]