Miami Vice Wiki
Philip Michael Thomas

Philip Michael Thomas-2.JPG

May 26, 1949
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Appeared on:
Miami Vice (TV series)
Metro-Dade Detective Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs
Miami Vice Performer
Years active
Kassandra Thomas (1986-1998, five children)
six children from previous relationships

Philip Michael Thomas (born May 26, 1949, Columbus, Ohio) is an American actor, best known for his role as Detective Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs in Miami Vice. He is of German, Native American, African-American and Irish ancestry.

As well as his starring role in the show, Thomas' songs "Livin' the Book of My Life" (in "The Maze") and "La Mirada" (in "Trust Fund Pirates") appeared in Miami Vice. His song "Just the Way I Planned It" (on The best of Miami Vice, 1989) and "Tell It Like It Is" also appeared on the soundtrack album The Best of Miami Vice, despite never actually appearing in the show itself.

Early Career

He began acting in 1972, appearing in the pilot episode of the TV police drama Toma and an episode of Norman Lear's Good Times before getting movie roles the blaxplotation films Black Fist and Coonskin before starring alongside rising star Irene Cara in 1976's Sparkle (he & Cara would play in the 1979 miniseries Roots: The Next Generations along with Pam Grier & Georg Stanford Brown). He would go on to have minor roles in movies in the early 1980s.

Miami Vice

Philip Michael Thomas as Tubbs

Thomas was cast as Detective Ricardo Tubbs of the NYPD, who traveled to Miami to exact revenge on the drug lord that killed his fellow cop & brother Rafael Tubbs. He teamed up with James "Sonny" Crockett and, after catching the lord (who was later released by a corrupt judge) Tubbs decided to stay in Miami, a partnership that lasted five years. Thomas' character wore Armani suits which contrasted with Johnson's Crockett persona of pastel sleeveless shirts, blazer, cotton pants and shoes without socks. Resurrecting his dormant music career, Thomas released an album during his Vice run, Living the Book of My Life, two tracks from which appeared in the show -- Thomas sang the title track in "The Maze", while "La Mirada" appeared in the episode "Trust Fund Pirates". Additionally, the song "Just the Way I Planned It" appeared on the album The Best of Miami Vice in 1996. However, the album had little commercial success. Thomas is often credited with inventing the phrase "EGOT", which stood for his "five-year plan": To win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role as Tubbs, but never came close to any of the four awards in his phrase, but sixteen others have accomplished the "grand slam" as of 2021 (including Rita Moreno).

After Vice

Philip Michael Thomas' character in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

After Miami Vice was cancelled, Thomas fell into obscurity, appearing in some made-for-TV movies until returning for a series of commercials for the Psychic Friends Network, wearing a wardrobe in his Tubbs persona, using the phrase "From Miami Vice to world advice!". After Psychic Friends Network changed its' name to Traffix Inc, Thomas was replaced as spokesman by Miss Cleo, which prompted Thomas to file suit against the company for breach-of-contract. He won a $2.1 million arbitration award in 2002. In 1997 & 2001, Thomas reunited with Don Johnson on Johnson's series Nash Bridges as Cedrick "Rick" Hawks, a DEA agent from Miami. He appeared in The E! True Hollywood Story episode of Miami Vice in 2001. In 2002, Thomas worked on the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, lending his voice to the primary supporting character Lance Vance, who (in a mirror of Tubbs) was seeking to avenge the murder of his brother. He later reprised this role in 2006's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, which was a prequel to the first game.

Personal Life

Thomas was married to Kassandra Thomas from 1986-1998 and has five children. Thomas also has six other children from previous relationships. In a bit of irony, Thomas shares the same birthdate as his Vice love interest, Pam Grier.