The Rise and Fall of Ricardo Tubbs

Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs was born as Philip Michael Thomas in Columbus, Ohio in 1949 but raised in Southern California. With Native American, German and African ancestry, Tubbs was blessed with good genes which grew into leading man looks by the time he was a teenager. Naturally he moved to Hollywood and pursued a career in acting which led to stage, television and movie roles. In his early 20s he landed his first role, a minor part as a preacher in the 1972 blaxploitation film, Come Back, Charleston Blue. He followed this with a bunch of small roles over the next 10-15 years in films such as Stigma, Book of Numbers, Bogart, Coonskin and in TV shows such as Good Times.

He made his biggest move up in 1976 when he appeared in the film based on the hit musical Sparkle

It would be two years of television appearances including stints on Wonder Woman and  Starsky and Hutch before Tubbs made a legendary appearance in the anti-drug film Death Drug in 1978. The forgotten television special has been preserved thanks to Youtube and can be seen in all it's hilarious glory. Despite this, it does nothing to diminish the coolness of Tubbs it only enhances it...

It would be another long six years before Thomas finally caught his big break when he was cast as Detective Ricardo Tubbs on the hit TV show Miami Vice in 1984. Although co-star Don Johnson was the biggest star of Miami Vice, Thomas was popular and achieved his own acclaim, he was born to play Tubbs in the role that would define him. Tubbs had finally arrived and within a few years his ego would too. Tubbs made an attempt at a musical career, beginning with a 1985 album titled Living The Book of My Life, which he apparently wrote most of the songs for and produced himself. There’s a music video that was made for the single “Just the Way I Planned It” and it’s THE standard-setting stunner of a massive celebrity ego trip—a goldmine of comic hubris—that has remained unmatched since 1985. Dig the lasers, the “cosmic” THIRD EYE, his face superimposed over the pregnant woman’s belly. The funny thing is that the video is loaded with Illuminati symbolism, perhaps he should sue them because he put all their symbols in his video and they didn't give him shit.

To nobody's surprise but Tubbs' both the single and the album failed to chart, his follow up album suffered the same fate, yet despite this Tubbs was appearing on the cover of magazines and riding Miami Vice's wave of success to becoming a millionaire. This newfound fame and fortune didn't settle well with his ego as Tubbs bombastically declared to the AP that within five years he was going to be the first EGOT winner. He even coined the acronym “EGOT,” which stands for “Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony” because he planned to win all four. At the 1984 Academy Awards ceremony, Tubbs, who was Kanye West before he even existed wore a gaudy gold medallion emblazoned with the letters “EGOT”for all to see. During the height of his fame in 1986, he was invited to the Johnny Carson show where he explained his future dreams and "EGOT" ambitions. 

Despite his massive career aspirations, Thomas neither won nor was nominated for any of these awards. D'oh! After the cancellation of Miami Vice in 1990, Thomas struggled to find steady work. He appeared in a number of crappy made-for-TV movies and had non-recurring roles on TV shows such as The Adventures of Superboy, Zorro, Swamp Thing, and Nash Bridges. Tubbs hit rock bottom when he became the spokesperson for the Psychic Reader’s Network in 1994...

After being replaced by Miss Cleo, Tubbs would toil in television obscurity as he never fully recovered from the post-Miami Vice fallout. He would win a lawsuit against his former psychic infomercial bosses but after the tax man and debtors collected their wasn't much left. But you gotta give Tubbs some credit, as someone very handsome but extremely talentless to hang in there long enough to land Miami Vice is impressive. However, when you have 13 children all by various women one of whom washes up on a Miami Beach dead and the other who sues you for everything and accuses you of spousal abuse, well that's a tough road to ride. Bad investments like the Psychic Network, in which Dionne Warwick stole millions from him, uninsured condos destroyed by Hurricane Davey in 92, and a lousy theater company in Miami also hurt. After a bank foreclosed on his Miami beach home in 1998, Tubbs was accused of abandoning his ex-wife and five kids in the projects of Liberty City. When Dhaima Mathews the mother of 2 of his kids that he never paid child support on washed up dead on Miami Beach, some suspected that Tubbs killed her but made it look like an accident. Whatever the truth is, Tubbs is recalled fondly as a nice and generous guy by pretty much everyone that meets him. As for his ego, hey it was the 80s everyone had a massive ego and most likely cocaine habit. Although he never got close to winning the "EGOT" Tubbs is responsible for immortalizing its greatness while watching others lay claim to its cherished possession. A possession that only an animated Tubbs could explain....

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