Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: . Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Currently Known For:
Thank You Fifteen
1972 - 2006, 2011
May 26, 1949
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"Some people never live a day in a lifetime. I live a lifetime in a day." Philip Michael Thomas is an American actor from Ohio. Thomas broke into the industry in 1972 before cementing himself in television history as Ricardo Tubbs on Miami Vice. As one half of the most dynamic duo on 80s television, Thomas created quite the name for himself in the late 70s and 80s. Thomas would also make cinema history for coining the term, EGOT.
Raised in San Bernardino
Philip Michael Thomas was born on May 26, 1949, in Columbus, OH. Thomas was born to Louis Diggs and Lulu McMorris and was raised alongside his seven brothers and sisters. During his childhood, Thomas's father worked as a plant foreman for the prestigious company, Westinghouse. Lulu worked as a homemaker as she was in charge of watching all of their children, including those that she had from her first marriage.
During his childhood, Thomas spent much of his time acting and singing with a local theater group. By the time that Thomas was fifteen years old, he would be fully in love with the theater. Thomas would end up joining the choir at Pentecostal Delman Heights Four Square Gospel Church. This experience would be pivotal to Thomas's work as a singer, actor, and performer.
Thomas would end up attending San Bernardino High School where he would graduate in 1967. Following his graduation from the school, Thomas would work as a janitor in order to raise enough money to pay for college. Fortunately for Thomas, a scholarship came his way via Oakwood College in Huntsville, AL. Thomas would attend Oakwood College for two years whereupon he studied both philosophy and religion. Ultimately, Thomas would transfer back to the University of California in Riverside, CA, in order to begin pursuing his study of the arts. It was around this time that Thomas broke into the acting industry in earnest after landing a role in the production, Hair.
Success With Miami Vice
After attending the University of California, Thomas would end up dropping out to pursue acting as a profession. Upon leaving college, Thomas would enter into an acting career that has spanned multiple decades and multiple major projects. While Thomas would eventually find major success on the television series Miami Vice, he wouldn't get there overnight.
Thomas made his acting debut in 1972 with an appearance in the film, Come Back Charleston Blue. Thomas would go on to land several more films during his first year in the industry including Book of Numbers (1973) and Stigma (1972). Eventually, Thomas would settle into a role as a steady character actor on television. Thomas would become a frequent guest star on several television productions throughout the 70s.
While Thomas had become a working actor, his path to fame had been a bumpy one. Fortunately for Thomas, he would eventually get an audition that would change his life. In 1984, Thomas was brought on to audition for the role of Detective Ricardo Tubbs in the crime series, Miami Vice. Thomas would nail the audition and thus land the role. Tubbs was a former NYPD officer who had gone to Miami in order to find the person who killed his brother. It was during his time in Miami that Tubbs would run into Sonny Crockett.
When Thomas was first cast in the series, he was paid more than $25,000 per episode for the first two seasons. In 1986, Thomas saw a pay increase that doubled his per-episode salary to nearly $50,000. Contract negotiations between Thomas and the Miami Vice team would dominate industry gossip columns as the two parties were almost always coming to a head with one another. Fortunately, Thomas was able to retain his role as Tubbs in the series until the show was canceled in 1989.
Following his star-making run in Miami Vice, Thomas would end up running into some issues outside of the acting industry. Thomas would sign a contract with the Psychic Reader's Network based out of Florida. Thomas would go on to release several cassette tapes for a psychic business called PMT Psychic Connection. Thomas was dropped from the project only to be replaced by Miss Cleo who has since gone on to become one of the most famous psychics in the world. Thomas would sue the company for breaching their contract, and he would win, earning more than $1.48 million for his efforts.
Thomas most recently appeared in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in 2002, and he would reprise his role as Lance Vance in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006). Thomas last appeared on camera in 2015 and now seems dedicated to his life as a musician. Thomas is currently single, though he has eleven children from previous relationships.