Family Matters Wiki

Michelle Thomas (September 23, 1968 – December 22, 1998) was an American actress and comedian who portrays the role of Myra Monkhouse as Steve Urkel's (Jaleel White) girlfriend on the ABC/CBS sitcom Family Matters from 1993 to 1998.

She is also played for her roles as Justine Phillips on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show 1988 to 1990.

Early life[]

Thomas was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 23, 1968 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, she was crowned Miss Talented Teen New Jersey in Hal Jackson's Talented Teen Competition. The following year, she competed in the international pageant

TV and movie career[]

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. She appeared in music videos for Boyz II Men, 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.

Later life 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.

Unfortunately, on December 23, 1998, Thomas died surrounded by her family and friends in New York City at Manhattan's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, at the age of 30.

On December 26, 1998, a Muslim funeral service was held (as per her request). She was buried at the Rosedale Cemetery in Orange, New Jersey.


  • Was named Miss Talented Teen New Jersey in Hal Jackson's "Talented Teen" Competition. She went on to compete in the international pageant in Jamaica and was crowned International Queen in 1985.
  • Once she diagnosed with cancer, Michelle refused treatments for her condition because she was afraid that they would interfere with her chances of conceiving children, but ironically, she passed away before she had any children.
  • During the last season of Family Matters, Michelle's cancer grew worse which made it harder for her to do her scenes. Her screen time grew shorter & shorter and she had to leave the show for good in 1998 (shortly before it ended).
  • Actor and former boyfriend Malcolm-Jamal Warner was at her bedside when she died.
  • Was friends with singer Jon B and other famous stars.


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