Thomas died December 22 in Manhattan, according to her publicist, Kahdijah Bell.
Thomas appeared on the CBS soap opera The Young & The Restless as Callie; on The Cosby Show as Justine, who was the girlfriend of Theo -- the character played by Malcolm Jamal Warner; and on Family Matters as Myra, who was the girlfriend of Steve Urkel - the character played by Jaleel White.
She had guest appearances in a number of other TV shows, including Roseanne, and also performed in music videos, Los Angeles theater productions and several movies, including Hangin' with the Homeboys.
She recently received an NAACP Image Award nomination for outstanding actress in a daytime drama series. "We are terribly shocked and deeply saddened by Michelle's death, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family," said William J. Bell, co-creator and senior executive producer of The Young & The Restless.
"Michelle was a great talent with a bright future ahead of her. She will be missed by all of us," Bell said.
Thomas was born in Boston and raised in New York. She attended the Montclair School of Arts and the Broadway Dance Center.
She is survived by her parents, Phynjuar Thomas, a stage actress, and Dennis Thomas, who was a member of the 1970s funk band Kool & the Gang, of Weekhawken, New Jersey.
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