|Born||September 23, 1968 or 1969
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||December 22 or 23, 1998 (aged either 29 years old  or 30 years old)
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Cause of death||Stomach Cancer|
|Resting place||Rosedale Cemetery
(Orange, New Jersey)
|Education||West Essex High School|
|Known for||Justine Phillips on The Cosby Show
Myra Monkhouse on Family Matters
Michelle Thomas (September 23, 1968 or 1969 – December 22 or 23, 1998) was an American actress and comedian. She was best known for her roles as; Justine Phillips on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show (1988–90), and Myra Monkhouse, Steve Urkel (Jaleel White)'s girlfriend on the ABC/CBS sitcom Family Matters (1993–98).
Thomas was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 23, either 1968 or 1969 to Dennis Thomas, a member of music group Kool & the Gang, and Phynjuar Thomas, a stage actress. She grew up in Montclair, New Jersey and was an alumna of West Essex High School. In September 1984, at age 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 portrayed 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 in Dream Date in 1989. In 1991, she had a small role in Hangin' with the Homeboys. Thomas also appeared in music videos for Mint Condition, Dru Hill and Chubb Rock. In 1993, she won the role of Myra Monkhouse in Family Matters. After the series ended in 1998, Thomas portrayed Callie Rogers Stark, an aspiring singer on The Young and the Restless. In October 1998, Thomas left the series.
Health and death
In August 1997, Thomas was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, intra-abdominal desmoplastic small-round-cell tumor. She underwent surgery to remove a lemon-sized tumor shortly before landing her The 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.
On December 22 or 23, 1998 Thomas died surrounded by her family and friends in New York City at Manhattan's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, aged 29 or 30. On December 26, 1998, a Muslim funeral service was held, as per her request. She was buried in Montclair, New Jersey, near her home.
|1989||Dream Date||Sally Palmer||Television film|
|1991||Hangin' with the Homeboys||Telemarketing Operator|
|1998||The Young and the Restless||Callie Rogers Stark|
|1988-1990||The Cosby Show||Justine Phillips||8 episodes|
|1989||A Man Called Hawk||Ruthie Carver||Episode: "Choice of Chance"|
|1993-1998||Family Matters||Myra Monkhouse||55 episodes|
Episode: "Exile in Guyville"
|1997||Malcolm & Eddie||Brooke Bellamy||Episode: "Roofless People"|
Awards and nominations
|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 (December 28, 1998). "Michelle Thomas, 30, Actress On TV Soap Opera and Sitcoms". 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 July 14, 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.