Where Are They Now? Miami Vice’s Philip Michael Thomas
By Dana C. Ayres
Big dreams sometimes crash hard in the world of show business. Good looks don’t always lead to success. Perhaps hubris is the best way to describe the horse that actor, singer Philip Michael Thomas was riding on in the 80’s during the height of his entertainment career.
Philip Michael Thomas was born on May 26, 1949 in Columbus, Ohio. He’s best known for his role as detective Ricardo Tubbs in the classic 80’s television hit, “Miami Vice.” But, Thomas’ career began around 10 years prior, in the 70’s as a stage actor on Broadway. His debut was in the Pulitzer Prize Winning play, “No Place to be Somebody.” His career spans 4 decades and encompasses stage, screen, TV and music. He coined the acronym, “EGOT” which stands for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony; all of which he has not received as of yet. But, Thomas has won a People’s Choice Award and was once nominated for a Golden Globe. He was best known for his film role opposite Irene Cara in “Sparkle.”
Thomas’ break into television came in bit parts. He made appearances on “Good Times,” “Police Woman,” starring Angie Dickenson and “Starsky and Hutch,” just to name a few. According to Biography.com, Thomas’ passion is music. But, based on the sales of both his albums, his acting career would serve him best in the end. He released his first album, “Livin’ the Book of my Life” in 1985 and “Somebody,” his second album, in 1988.
In 1994, Thomas became a spokesperson for Philip Michael Thomas Psychic Connection after signing an agreement with the Florida board Psychic Reader’s Network. Even while guiding people’s lives, he continued to ride the “Miami Vice” wave as far as it would take him. In his psychic ads, he would don the Miami Vice garb and say, “From Miami Vice to world advice!” He would soon be illegally replaced with the notorious, “Miss Cleo.” He ended up suing the company the carried the show, Traffix, Inc., for a whopping $1.48 million for improper use of his name and breach of contract. He would receive another $780 million in interest payments.
In 1997, he reunited with his old Miami Vice co-star, Don Johnson to work with him in his new TV show, “Nash Bridges.” Thomas made 2 appearances , once in 1997 in the episode,” Wild Card” and the other, in 2001, in the episode, “Out of Miami.” In 2002 and 2006, respectively, he performed voice overs for the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City version and the latter, Vice City Stories version.
Despite his musical setbacks and failed ventures, Thomas credits his spirituality, his vegetarian lifestyle and his warm spirit as the foundation of his life. He is the proud father of 6 daughters, 5 sons and 1 stepdaughter. Even with an active early career, Philip Michael Thomas never got to the goal he coveted most, to become a multi-industry superstar and award winner…but, at least he gave it a winning shot! By the way, did you know that Thomas was an ordained Pentecostal preacher by the age of 16? Perhaps he missed his calling. Share your thoughts.
For more information or updates on PMT, visit his website.