Philip Michael Thomas

Philip Michael Thomas (born May 26, 1949) is a retired American actor and musician. Thomas' most famous role is that of detective Ricardo Tubbs on the hit 1980s TV series Miami Vice. His first notable roles were in Coonskin (1975) and opposite Irene Cara in the 1976 film Sparkle. After his success in Miami Vice, he appeared in numerous made-for-TV movies and advertisements for telephone psychic services. He served as a spokesperson for cell phone entertainment company Nextones, and supplied the voice for the character Lance Vance in the video games Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.

Philip Michael Thomas
Born (1949-05-26) May 26, 1949 (age 71)
Alma materUniversity of California, Riverside
OccupationActor, musician
Years active1972–2006, 2011
  • Pam Pat Thomas
  • Kassandra Green
    (m. 1986; div. 1998)

Early lifeEdit

Thomas was born in Columbus, Ohio, but grew up in San Bernardino, California.[1] He is of African American, Native American, Irish, and German descent.[2] His father, Louis Diggs, was a plant foreman at Westinghouse. Thomas's mother was Lulu McMorris. He and his seven half brothers and sisters had the surname Thomas, which was the last name of his mother's first husband.[3]

As a child, he acted in his church's theater group and, at age 15, while participating in the Pentecostal Delman Heights Four Square Gospel Church choir, became interested in ministry.[3] He graduated from San Bernardino High School in 1967 and briefly worked as a janitor to save money for college.[1] Thomas earned a scholarship to the predominantly black Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, where he studied religion and philosophy after high school.[3][4]

After two years at Oakwood College, Thomas transferred to the University of California, Riverside.[3] During this time, he auditioned for and won a role in the San Francisco cast of Hair, which began his acting career.[1][5][6] Thomas ultimately quit school to pursue acting as a profession, appearing in several features during the 1970s - including the classic black musical drama Sparkle (1976). His big break came in 1984, when he landed a starring role in the popular television series Miami Vice alongside Don Johnson.[3]



Miami ViceEdit

In 1984, Thomas began playing the role of Ricardo Tubbs, an ex-NYPD police officer from the Bronx who came to Miami seeking revenge on the person who killed his brother Rafael Tubbs. In Miami he encounters another undercover cop, Sonny Crockett, who is coincidentally looking for the same person.[7]

Thomas was reportedly paid $25,000 (equivalent to $62,000 today) per episode for Seasons 1-2. In 1986, he was given an increase to $50,000 ($123,000) per episode for Seasons 3-5. Johnson was paid $30,000 ($74,000) per episode for Seasons 1-2 and $90,000 ($221,000) per episode for Seasons 3-5.

Thomas coined the acronym "EGOT", meaning "Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony", in reference to his plans for winning all four.[8] He has not, as yet, been nominated for any of these awards, but has received a People's Choice Award and a Golden Globe nomination.[9]

Nash BridgesEdit

In 1997, Thomas was reunited with Don Johnson for two appearances in the police drama Nash Bridges. He played Cedrick "Rick" Hawks, a Deputy United States Marshal from Miami visiting Bridges (Johnson) in San Francisco. His first appearance was in the episode "Wild Card", and his second and final appearance was in the episode "Out of Miami", aired in 2001 during the program's final season.[10]

Grand Theft Auto: Vice CityEdit

He performed a voice-over in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002) (VG) as Lance Vance, a main character who is trying to avenge his brother, Victor Vance's death.[11] He reprised the voice-over role in the prequel Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006) (VG) which details Lance's arrival in Vice City, his business with drugs, and his relationship with his brother.[12] After his work on the videogame of 2006 GTA: Vice City Stories Philip decided to retire from acting.


In 1985, Thomas released a music album titled "Living the Book of My Life" under his own record label called Spaceship Records.[13] It sold poorly and failed to produce a hit single, although Thomas produced a video for the track "Just the Way I Planned It".[14]

Thomas performed the title song of the album during the 1985 Miami Vice episode "The Maze." The episode "Trust Fund Pirates" featured another of his songs, "La Mirada". Thomas' Miami Vice co-star Don Johnson recorded an album shortly afterward titled Heartbeat.[15] In 1987 Thomas recorded a song called "Ever and Forever" with Argentine singer Lucía Galán of Pimpinela fame.[16]

Thomas followed up in 1988 with a second album, Somebody.[17] It also failed to produce a hit and sold poorly. In 1993, Thomas teamed with Kathy Rahill to compose "My, My, My, Miam...I",[18] which was chosen as the city of Miami's theme song.[19] That same year, Thomas teamed with Jamaican fitness instructor Sandi Morais to compose songs for a family-friendly musical titled Sacha, which enjoyed runs in south Florida and New York.[20] The two formed the Magic Cookie Production Company. Thomas produced the music for Morais' fitness videos in 2001 and 2006.[21]

Psychic Reader's NetworkEdit

In 1994 Thomas signed an agreement with Florida-based Psychic Reader's Network (later known as Traffix, Inc.) to become the spokesman for the Philip Michael Thomas International Psychic Network. He appeared in television ads and claimed to have met the planet's premier psychics through his "world travels". He dressed similarly to his Miami Vice alter ego, even opening the ads with the phrase, "From Miami Vice to world advice!"[22] He appeared in informercials with Eileen Brennan and Todd McKee and his daughter, Sacha Nicole, to promote the psychic line.[23] Thomas released a cassette of music linked to his psychic business titled PMT Psychic Connection, Volume I.[24]

Traffix replaced Thomas with Miss Cleo. Thomas sued, alleging breach of contract, and won. In 2002 a New York arbitrator awarded Thomas $1.48 million for improper use of his name and likeness and an additional $780,000 in interest.[25]

Personal lifeEdit

Thomas is a vegetarian, nonsmoker and nondrinker.[1][4] In 1986, Thomas married Kassandra Thomas.[26] They have five children together. In 1998, Thomas and Kassandra divorced. Thomas also has six other children from previous relationships.



Year Title Role Notes
1972 Come Back, Charleston Blue Minister
1972 Stigma Dr. Calvin Crosse
1973 Book of Numbers Dave Green
1975 Mr. Ricco Purvis Mapes
1975 Black Fist Fletch & Boom Boom
1975 Coonskin Randy / Brother Rabbit
1976 Sparkle Stix
1976 El hombre de los hongos Gaspar / Adopted boy
1978 Death Drug Jesse
1979 The Wizard of Speed and Time Policeman Mickey Polanko Short film
1979 The Dark Corn Rows
1982 Hey Good Lookin' Chaplin (voice)
1982 Of Stigma
1989 The Wizard of Speed and Time Policeman Mickey Polanko Feature-length version
1993 Miami Shakedown Frank Ferguson Also executive producer
1994 River of Stone
2003 Fate Detective Ciprian Raines
2009 Poet, Soldier West Short film


Year Title Role Notes
1973 Griff Eddie Marshall Episode: "The Framing of Billy the Kid"
1973–1974 Toma Bad Sam / Sam Hooper 2 episodes
1974 Good Times Eddie Conroy Episode: "Sex and the Evans Family"
1974 Police Woman Sonny Episode: "It's Only a Game"
1975 Caribe Prince John Episode: "Murder in Paradise"
1976 Movin' On Banjo Episode: "No More Sad Songs"
1976 Medical Center Dr. Sam Karter Episode: "If Wishes Were Horses"
1976 Sirota's Court J.V. Episode: "The Reporter"
1977 Insight Luther Episode: "The Alleluia Kid"
1977 Roosevelt and Truman Truman Television film
1978 The New Adventures of Wonder Woman Furst Episode: "The Man Who Wouldn't Tell"
1978 Starsky & Hutch Kingston St. Jacques Episode: "Quadromania"
1978 The Beasts Are on the Streets Eddie Morgan Television film
1978 Lawman Without a Gun Rufus Cartwright Television film
1979 Roots: The Next Generations Eddie Franklin Television miniseries
1979 Valentine Bean Television film
1981 Strike Force Wesley Episode: "The Victims"
1982 Trapper John, M.D. Floyd Walsh Episode: "Ladies in Waiting"
1984–1989 Miami Vice Detective Ricardo Tubbs 111 episodes
1986 A Fight for Jenny David Caldwell Television film
1989 False Witness Bobby Marsh Television film
1990 Superboy Brimstone Episode: "Brimstone"
1990 Zorro Jack Holten Episode: "Pride of the Pueblo"
1990 A Little Piece of Sunshine Tomson Television film
1991 Perry Mason: The Case of the Ruthless Reporter Chuck Gilmore Television film
1991–1992 Detective Extralarge Jean Philippe Dumas 6 episodes
1992 Swamp Thing Barry Scott Episode: "Dead and Married"
1994 Fortune Hunter Gary Colt Episode: "The Alpha Team"
1997 Noi siamo angeli (We Are Angels) Joe / Father Zaccaria 6 episodes
1997–2001 Nash Bridges Cedrick Hawks 2 episodes

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1997 We Are Angels Father Zaccaria
2002 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Lance Vance
2006 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories Lance Vance
2011 Gangstar Rio: City of Saints Marcelo / Narco

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Randolph, Laura (April 1988). "The Philip Michael Thomas even his 'Miami Vice' Fans Don't Know". Ebony. Johnson Publishing Co. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  2. ^ Porter, Charlotte (July 6, 1985). "PHILIP MICHAEL THOMAS : MULTIDIMENSIONAL MAN OF TV'S 'MIAMI VICE'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e Editors. "Philip Michael Thomas Biography". The website. A&E Television Networks. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Wallace, Carol (December 9, 1985). "The Ego Has Landed". People (archive). Time, Inc. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  5. ^ "Philip Michael Thomas Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on May 1, 2007.
  6. ^ Zoglin, Richard (September 16, 1985). "Cool Cops, Hot Show". Time. Time Inc. Retrieved November 2, 2007.
  7. ^ Smith, Sally Bedell (January 3, 1985). "'MIAMI VICE': ACTION TV WITH SOME NEW TWISTS". The New York Times. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  8. ^ Tim Long (February 26, 2008). "The Oscars: Where Is the Love for Philip Michael Thomas?". Vanity Fair.
  9. ^ "Thomas' nomination page at the Golden Globes website". Golden Globes.
  10. ^ "Philip Michael Thomas Revisited". The Malta Independent. December 16, 2006. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  11. ^ "Grand Theft Radar: Is GTA as clever as it thinks it is?". GamesRadar+. April 23, 2008. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  12. ^ Thorsen, Tor (October 30, 2006). "Phil Collins cameos, Thomas returns in VCS?". GameSpot. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  13. ^ Philip Michael Thomas. "Living the Book of my Life". Discogs. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  14. ^ Philip Michael Thomas. "Just the Way I Planned it". YouTube. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  15. ^ Andrew Stuttaford. "Something in the Air". National Review. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  16. ^ Cordova, Randy (August 9, 2014). "8/15: Latin duo Pimpinela on fame, fans". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  17. ^ Philip Michael Thomas. "Somebody". Discogs. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  18. ^ Philip Michael Thomas. "My, My, My Miam...I". Vimeo. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  19. ^ "Thomas' Music Entry". Sandi Morais Online. Archived from the original on April 4, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  20. ^ "Sacha on Broadway". Sandi Morais Online. Archived from the original on April 4, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  21. ^ "Philip Michael Thomas' Resume". Archived from the original on April 4, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  22. ^ "1994 Commercial for Philip Michael Thomas International Psychic Network". YouTube. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  23. ^ "Infomercial for Philip Michael Thomas International Psychic Network". YouTube. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  24. ^ Philip Michael Thomas. "PMT Psychic Connection, Volume I". Discogs. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  25. ^ Matt Bean (June 6, 2002). "Ex-'Miami Vice' star wins first round against psychic network". CNN.
  26. ^ Marr, Madeleine (September 16, 2016). "Singer Imaj has ties to 'Miami Vice' — her dad was Tubbs". Miami Herald. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
  27. ^ Long, Tim (February 26, 2008). "The Oscars: Where Is the Love for Philip Michael Thomas?" Vanity Fair. "...Thomas took to wearing a gold medallion emblazoned with the letters "EGOT", which stood for "Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony." As Thomas told an interviewer in 1984, "Hopefully in the next five years I will win all of those awards." As of February 2008, ... only twelve people in history have ever won all four – among them, Mike Nichols, Audrey Hepburn, Rita Moreno, and Marvin Hamlisch.
  28. ^ Mifflin, Lawrie (May 22, 1995). "More Awards Programs, More Winners, More Money". The New York Times.
  29. ^ McIntee, Michael (January 12, 2010). "Wahoo Gazette. Show #3244". CBS. Archived from the original on May 7, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2010.

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