Actor Philip Michael Thomas was fond of referring to his family background as "American Gumbo;" his ethnic makeup was a mixture of black, German, Irish, and three different Indian Tribes. A former theology student at Alabama's Oakwood college, Thomas launched his acting career when he won an audition for the Broadway musical Hair. Of his handful of movie appearances in the 1970s, Thomas is best remembered for his portrayal of Stix in the cult-favorite Sparkle (1976). From 1984 through 1989, Thomas was seen on a weekly basis as Detective Ricardo Tubbs on the MTV-influenced TV cop series Miami Vice. During this period, he continued his pre-stardom activities of writing music, poetry, and philosophical essays (in 1983, he'd published a book of aphorisms, Perfect Moment of Truth Sayings); he also managed his own recording label, turning out a well-received album to cash in on his Miami Vice success. Philip Michael Thomas' most recent projects have included a series of made-for-cable adventure specials, released under the blanket title Extralarge.