50. Remembering Michelle (1968-1998) – A Mothers’ Footprints

Posted: September 22, 2009 in African American, Black entertainment, Black Pride, daughters, faith, family, parenting, Relationships
Tags: , , , , , ,

The FathersFootprints’ journey has me afforded the opportunity to meet some really dynamic people.  While working on my first book, Daddy Am I Pretty? I met a woman by the name of Phyjuar (pronounced Pen-wah) Thomas, who is a gifted actor, comedian, music producer, music historian, radio personality and acting coach.  Although Phynjuar is an extraordinary woman, the focus of today’s blog feature is to celebrate the life of her famous daughter, Michelle Thomas.Michelle Thomas

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Thomas grew up in Montclair, New Jersey and was an alumna of West Essex High School. She was the daughter of Phynjuar Thomas, a stage actress and Dennis Thomas a member of a music group Kool & the Gang.]In the mid-1980s, Thomas was crowned Miss Talented Teen New Jersey in Hal Jackson’s Talented Teen Competition. The following year, she competed in the international pageant and won the title of International Queen.

Michelle made her acting debut in 1988 as Justine Phillips, the girlfriend of Theo Huxtable on The Cosby Show. She later appeared on a various television programs during the late 1980s and 1990s including A Man Called Hawk and Thea. In 1991, Thomas had a small role in comedy Hangin’ with the Homeboys. Thomas also appeared in music videos for Mint Condition and Dru Hill.  In 1993, she won the role of Myra Monkhouse on the long-running sitcom Family Matters. After the series ended in 1998, Thomas portrayed Callie Rogers Stark, an aspiring singer on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless. She left the series in October 1998. Wiki

Michelle was best known for her role as Myra Monkhouse, the girlfriend of Steve Urkel, on the black sitcom Family Matters from 1993 to 1998.  Thomas was diagnosed with an incurable form of stomach cancer; intra-abdominal desmoplastic small round cell tumor, a rare soft tissue sarcoma.  On December 22, 1998, Michelle passed away in New York City at Manhattan’s Memorial at the age of 30.

I personally recall hearing of the news and feeling deeply saddened about the loss of such a beautiful, talented sister.  Those of you who remember her character Myra, know that she was a refreshing addition to the Family Matters’ line-up.

My heart and prayers go out to Phynuar and anyone who has had to bury their own child, especially at the height of that child’s success.  I cannot fathom attending a funeral for which Dominique is being eulogized.  My eyes are welling up at the mere thought.

I regret I never had the opportunity to meet Michelle personally.  However, after the numerous conversations with Phynjuar, I feel as if I’ve known her for a lifetime.  On September 23, Michelle’s birthday, we officially celebrate her life.   

“Dream about us together again! All I want is together again! I know we’ll be together again ’cause Everywhere I go Every smile I seeI know you are there Smilin’ back at me Dancin’ in moonlight I know you are free Cuz’ I can see your star Shinin’ down on me! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY, WE’RE DANCING!” ~ Phynjuar

Until next time,

Damon signature



Copyright © 2009

  1. Michele Oliver says:

    That was beautiful Damon and she was a beautiful young lady. I remember when she passed and I was very sad as I’d just given birth to my first just weeks earlier. I also cannot fathom what it would be like to lose one of my kids and pray that I never know. My prayer of continued strength goes out to her parents as they celebrate her memory tomorrow. I will remember her too.

  2. Rashad says:

    Good staff Damon. I didn’t even know Michelle, but I remember being very sad when she passed..

  3. David Greenwood says:

    Damon, it’s always hard to comment on your stuff because of the emotions that your work often triggers. I never knew Ms. Thomas personally but she always reminded me of the girl next door that everyone loved to be around. Being somewhat of a closet nerd, I will admit that I liked Family Matters and looked forward to seeing the show every week. I too find it heart wrenching to imagine what it would be like to memorialize ANY child let alone my own child. Keep doing what you do brother and may God continue to bless you and your works.

  4. Phynjuar says:

    This is just Magnificent Thankyou! I am spechless

  5. Kim LaRue says:

    What a wonderful job you’ve done Damon. Unfortunately I also did not get the opportunity to meet Michelle but I have been blessed to know her mother Phynjuar, and yes Phynjuar is a proud mother and shares with us the most beautiful mother and daughter stories.

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