Philip Michael Thomas Is 75, We Smiled When We Saw Him Today

May 25, 2021 by apost team

The actor and musician Philip Michael Thomas is best known for his role as Ricardo Tubbs on the hugely popular TV series “Miami Vice.” The show aired on NBC for five seasons, starting in 1984 and ending in 1990. This was the defining role of Thomas' career, and it is still remembered as his most successful project.

Before “Miami Vice,” Thomas appeared in several stage productions, most notably in the San Francisco production of “Hair.” He auditioned for the role 13 times while he was still in college, and the success from the play launched his acting career. He also appeared in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “No Place to Be Somebody” in 1971.

These productions established Thomas as a talented actor and earned him roles in feature films in the years to come. He was in the 1975 film “Mr. Ricco,” which was a crime drama set in San Francisco. In 1976 he starred opposite Irene Cara in the film “Sparkle.” Thomas also appeared in a number of television series in the 1970s before starring in “Miami Vice.”

Thomas has 11 children and has been married twice. He is known for coining the term EGOT — which is an acronym for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony — and refers to any actor who has won all of these awards. Today, Thomas is 75 and lives a happy life with his family. He stays in excellent shape and really takes care of his health. Read on to see current pictures of him and to learn more about Thomas’ life and career.

Early Life

Philip Michael Thomas (circa 1978), (Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)

Thomas was born on May 26, 1949, in Columbus, Ohio. Shortly after that, his family moved, and the actor-to-be ended up in San Bernardino, California. His parents were Louis Diggs and Lulu McMorris, and their large family included seven half-brothers and sisters. Thomas is of African-American, German, Irish and Native-American descent.

Growing up, Thomas performed in his church’s theater group and found his love for performing. He told Miami Vice Online, “Actually I always wanted to be a singer. I love music and it is my heart and soul. I always heard my mother singing around the house and it is the most natural thing to do. I started playing piano at age nine and won my first talent contest at age eleven singing ‘Rockin' Robin’ in a school talent contest. I started writing poetry and lyrics.”

In 1967, Thomas graduated from San Bernardino High School and worked briefly as a janitor to save money for college. He went on to earn a scholarship and attended Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama. There he studied philosophy and religion. His interest in the subject of ministry began after his involvement in the Pentecostal Delman Heights Four Square Gospel Church choir when he was 15. 

After spending two years at Oakwood, Thomas transferred to the University of California, Riverside. It was during this time that he began auditioning for “Hair.” Thomas was not surprised he won the role. “I must admit I get taken aback sometimes but I knew it would happen, and knew it would happen when I first got in the business because I’ve never settled for less than 100%,” he said to the Los Angeles Times. Eventually, Thomas quit college to pursue acting full-time.

Miami Vice

Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas (1986), (Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images)

Thomas' signature role came in 1984 when he got the chance to portray Ricardo Tubbs in the extremely successful TV series “Miami Vice.” Thomas played alongside actor Don Johnson, and the pair made the ultimate action show duo. Tubbs and Johnson’s character, Sonny Crockett, were undercover vice cops looking to bust drug dealers on the streets of Miami. 

According to the LA Times, “Miami Vice” executive producer Michael Mann said about Thomas, “Philip has immense natural talent, immense grace, a new kind of black man on television, and movies as far as that goes an extremely sophisticated, urbane black man who’s proud of and draws from black culture … without making it into his identity.” 

When asked about the quote from Mann, Thomas responded, “That’s very nice, I couldn’t have said it any better. Isn’t it interesting the way times change? They thought I was a terrific actor but I wasn’t right for the part. I was in the last 10 of the Tubbses and Don was in the last 10 of the Crocketts. The magic was there and they saw it ... and the rest is history.” 

“Miami Vice,” along with Thomas and Johnson, became household names. The show was in the top 30 ratings from 1985 to 1987 and was nominated for several awards. Thomas was nominated for a Golden Globe award in 1985 for best actor in a drama series. 

Thomas spoke with the LA Times about the show’s reception. “The phenomenon that is taking place across the board on all dimensions, not only just the covers of magazines but what is happening in the hearts of people that watch it every Friday night, it blows my mind,” he said.

Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, Edward James Olmos (circa 1985), (G. Davis/IMAGES/Getty Images)

However, he did not let the fame go to his head. “I’m still learning to work harder than ever, to keep it moving. It’s been fantastic, but I recognize that I’ve got to go back to the drawing board, continue to be creative, continue to let the light shine and continue to be multidimensional,” he said in the same interview. It seems like Thomas was a bit worried about being typecast after such a highly publicized role. 

Those worries never made him appreciate the show any less. When asked by Miami Vice Online if he gets tired of questions about the show Thomas responded, “Do you think Michaelangelo got tired of painting and art? Beethoven and Mozart stopped loving composing the music of the spheres? Shakespeare or any of the creative geniuses of history stopped creating because they finished a chapter in their lives? I look at Ricardo Tubbs and ‘Miami Vice’ as one chapter in my almost 40 years of being an artist.”

He continued, “I am more enthusiastic than ever before and look forward to sharing many more chapters in my artistic career. I love intellectual properties like movies, television series, music, DVDs and CD's and books because they have no shelf life and they continue to connect me with the world. From the beginning, it was like an explosive compulsion of a new affection and I continue to love it. Like the bird sings its melody and the fish loves to swim in the sea, I know this is a blessing for all eternity.”

Music Career

Philip Michael Thomas, Dhaima Matthews, Lulu McMorris (1986), (Ron Galella, Ltd/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images)

Thomas' love for music began when he was in a church choir and never went away. In 1985, he released his debut album “Living the Book of My Life” under his own record label Spaceship records. The album did not do well and failed to produce a single. However, Thomas did get to perform the album’s title track on an episode of “Miami Vice.” The episode was titled “The Maze.” In a different episode, this one title “Trust Fund Pirates,” Thomas performed another one of his songs. The song was titled “La Mirada.”

Thomas' second album, “Somebody,” was released in 1988. This also proved to be a failure and did not produce a hit single either. In 1993, Thomas teamed up with music artist Kathy Rahill to record the song “My My My Miam...i,” which was made the city of Miami’s theme song. 

Thomas also teamed up with fitness instructor Sandi Morais in 1993. The pair wrote songs for a family-friendly musical titled “Sacha” which was performed around Florida and New York. They also formed the Magic Cookie Production Company, and Thomas produced music for Morais’ fitness videos from 2001 to 2006.


Thomas has always been a very spiritual person. In 1994, Thomas signed an agreement with the Psychic Reader's Network — which later became Traffix — in Florida to become the spokesperson for the Philip Michael Thomas International Psychic Network. He appeared in television ads to promote the service, which is a psychic line that provided readings to callers. Thomas claimed in the ads that he met the psychics in the network on his world travels. 

Philip Michael Thomas (1980), (Peter Carrette Archive/Getty Images)

After some time, Thomas was replaced by Miss Cleo, which started a rift between Thomas and the Psychic Reader’s Network. According to CNN, Thomas sued the company in 2002 for breach of contract and was awarded $1.48 million for improper use of his likeness with an additional $780,000 in interest.

Thomas gave some insight into his personal beliefs in the 1985 interview with the LA Times. “I constantly construct and reconstruct my consciousness, and I’m constantly learning. I believe if a man hasn’t found something worth standing for then a man will fall for anything, and I do have some pretty solid things that I live by,” he said.

He also opened up a bit with Miami Vice Online about where his spirituality practice began. “My eldest brother Marcus taught me to visualize as a young boy when I was running track and field and I would win the race in my mind before I ever started moving my legs and I still apply that to my daily visualization and meditation,” he said.

He continued, explaining his understanding of how people operate. “I look at people like the radio. We are all transmitters and receivers. I am the captain of my ship and the master of my soul. I think my spiritual good-natured character has helped me to cope with all the pitfalls that exist in Hollywood. I thank God that I never relied on someone else's opinion to stop me from pursuing my career that has taken me around the world,” he said in the same interview with Miami Vice Online. 

Children and Family

Kassandra Thomas, Philip Michael Thomas (2002), (Evan Agostini/ImageDirect/Getty Images)

Thomas is a very devoted and loving father to 11 children. According to the Miami Herald, in 1986 Thomas married his wife, model Kassandra Thomas, and the couple had five children together. Unfortunately, they divorced in 1998. Thomas also has six children from previous relationships.

One of his daughters, Imaj Thomas, is a singer like her father. Imaj spoke with the Miami Herald and said this about her father, “Daddy’s always been so supportive. It’s always a beautiful thing when your parents not only support but encourage your dreams and encourage you to be all they know you can be.” Imaj sounds like a lovely girl, and it seems like she looks up to her father a lot. 

In an interview with Ebony Magazine from 1988, Thomas said, “I have an incredible relationship with my children. They bring me amazing gifts of joy and wisdom. The times I spend with them are some of the most satisfying in my life.” He also mentioned to Miami Vice Online, “My children inspire me to be creative. I believe it is important to demonstrate real-life possibilities.” 

Thomas added, “I teach my children to be entrepreneurial. It is very important to know you can take care of yourself mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally and become responsible citizens of the world. I have noticed over the years that a lot of children have lost their imagination and don't believe in their potential to fulfill their dreams.” From the way Imaj speaks about her father, it seems he has succeeded in raising his children well. 

Health And Wellness

Philip Michael Thomas (2002), (Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty images)

Thomas is now retired and lives a happy and healthy life at age 75. He is passionate about wellness and has been a vegetarian, nonsmoker and nondrinker for the majority of his adult life. His energy was described by the LA Times as being contagiously confident, and Thomas carries that confidence into all areas of his life. 

The topic of wellness is no different. Thomas approaches his health with extreme care. He told Miami Vice Online, “I am passionate about health and longevity. Perfect health should be a way of life. I have always believed that health is wealth and I have made living a healthy lifestyle number one on my list of priorities. I have been a vegetarian since 1967. I love to dance, jog, swim in the ocean, play tennis, do yoga and karate, lift weights and do aerobics.”

He is also an avid advocate for using fresh juices in a balanced diet. “I love my fresh-squeezed juices, and if I never eat anything else, I could live off carrot, apple, sugar cane, watermelon, cantaloupe and all the fresh greens, etc. I am living proof that fresh, raw organic and wild- vegetable juices keep me healthy. I drink at least 32 ounces a day and sometimes a gallon,” he said in the same interview.

Whatever Thomas is doing to stay fit is working because he looks amazing. The fact that he has built a lifestyle around taking care of his health is a big factor in his longevity. Even though his career seems to be over, this family man has a lot of life left to live.

Philip Michael Thomas (2015), (Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage/Getty images)

What do you think of how Thomas looks today? Were you a fan of “Miami Vice” in the 80s? Let us know your thoughts, and be sure to send this on to your loved ones.

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