The cast of Family Matter has an enduring legacy. The show is beloved by many for its humor and heart, but some love it even more because of all the behind-the-scenes drama of the series. From the show shifting focus to Jaleel White to the recasting of Matriach Harriet Winslow. One unfortunate story from the series is the passing of actress Michelle Thomas. White was recently able to get some closure around her loss following a sit down with E!’s Hollywood Medium.
Michelle Thomas was a beautiful young actress well on her way to stardom. Her father was saxophone player Dennis Thomas, one of the founding members of Kool & The Gang. She got her start in the ’80s in beauty pageants before making her television debut on Soul Train. She then scored a role on the Cosby Show as Theo Huxtable’s girlfriend, Justine Phillips. She also starred in various music videos and smaller projects before her most notable role before passing, that of Myra Monkhouse on Family Matter.
Thomas played Steve Urkle’s girlfriend from 1993 to 1998. During that time, she also had a part-time hosting gig on Soul Train. She also starred in The Young and the Restless and was working on music before her health took a turn. Thomas had a rare form of cancer called an intra-abdominal desmoplastic small-round-cell tumor. She underwent surgeries to help with the spread, but the cancer was too aggressive. She would eventually pass at the age of 30 and is buried in New Jersey. Malcolm Jamal Warner was at her bedside as the two were close friends and briefly dated.
Jaleel White understandably had a connection with Thomas as well since they played love interests on Family Matter. During a recent episode of The Hollywood Medium, White sat down with Tyler Henry to talk about an old agent he’d had, but instead, it was Michelle Thomas who came through loud and clear. He asked White if he knew anyone with a September birthday or anyone who passed at the “peak” of their life. “The feeling is an acknowledgment of dying too soon.” White whispers, “is that Michelle?” Tyler then said the person had a late September birthday, and they confirmed Michelle had a September 23rd birthday.
Tyler continued by saying that this person was a female and not a family member. In a confessional, White says that he could have mentioned Michelle’s name sooner but did not want to validate Tyler until he knew what he was reading was true. White says he did not want to get his emotions played with and does not like being vulnerable. They then cut to Tyler talking about this person feeling “distanced.” “I didn’t get what I wanted to say to solidify the relationship,” and White cuts him, saying, “there was no goodbye.”
Tyler says the person brought up music industry people and a reference to the letters E, L, L, and E. White then starts to laugh and says, “you’re messing with me dog.” White began crying and confirmed all the information was accurate and connected to Michelle Thomas. “This guy is the truth,” White says in the confessional before confirming that he had a strong connection with Michelle and felt like they never got to say goodbye. “She would have been one of my great long-term friends,” White admits, saying that he was too young to call it love but knew he cared about her deeply.