A Monument To Michael Thomas, Dear Ygor
The man that played Ygor more times than Bela Lugosi, Michael Thomas. Make-Up Artist, actor, magician, comedian, Universal movies scholar and wonderful friend.
Collected by Ron Adams
Michael Thomas Memorial
From August 2009: I was speaking with Christine, Michael's wife, last night. She thanks everyone for the overwheming outpour of love from all those who this wonderful man touched with his humor and talent over the years. She creating a wall of notes and pictures of memories that people are sending in.
Michael was cremated and his ashes are being laid in his beloved make-up box. So of his fans from Monster Bash might not have known that Michael was in 19 films as an actor, and did make-up for scores of movies and TV shows including Saturday Night Live and he was Michael Jackson's make-up man for the film THE WIZ.
Above is the card that was distributed at Michael's memorial held by his wife Christine, at the home he loved. If you knew Michael, you knew his stock, and sincere, sign-off when he was involved with something he loved..."I Love You, Man!" In this instance, Christine, used his words to bring a multitude of meanings...his words that you can hear in your head, our reflected thought to him, and Christine's personal message. How perfect.
The photos. The things Michael loved are there, represented in a few pictures. Christine (as Elvira), his make-up, his acting, his admiration for John Zacherle, his Ygor, his appearences at Monster Bash with like-minded souls. The Dracula was from only a few short months ago at Monster Bash, a role he played in his last movie, HOUSE OF THE WOLF MAN.
Michael, we love you, man!
Michael Thomas Checks Out
Above photos: Michael as Dr. Benet from THE INVISIBLE RAY at Monster Bash, Michael as DRACULA with Abbott & Costello impersonators at Monster Bash (photo from Jim & Marion Clatterbaugh), Michael as Ygor with Todd Spidle as The Frankenstein Monster and Michael as Dr. Vornoff from BRIDE OF THE MONSTER with Monster Bash attendee Dalton.
Michael Thomas RIP
We just received word from Tom Weaver that the amazing Michael Thomas has passed away. He had gone in for a minor procedure at the hospital, came home tired and passed away. Michael had suffered from a heart condition over the past few years and we still are totally shocked. My heartfelt condolances to his wife Christine. Michael was a make-up man, artist, Bela Lugosi look-alike, magician, actor and dear friend. He would call me and tell me how much Monster Bash was home to him and how it made his year, every year. He was a sweet heart and such a talent. Plus, he was truly a natural comedian. I could not have one conversation with him which didn't end in him making me laugh. It was a true God-given talent, above all his other many talents...the gift of making people smile. At this point, I just got the news and can't begin to express my feeling of loss, that I'm sure everyone who knew him feels. His last movie THE HOUSE OF THE WOLF MAN (a throwback to the classic Universals with Ron Chaney) is due out this year.
My respect and love to Michael's ever-lasting memory. -Ron
I am stunned, shocked completely to hear the news about Michael Thomas.
This is so sad. Although I've never been to a Bash, but hopefully I will
Today I just read Bela "Dracula" LuGosi imitator & actor, fiend & annual guest of The "Monster Bash" Classic Movie Convention, Michael Thomas passed away this weekend. I met him often at "Monster BASH" (I've attended every the 1st one in '97), even videotaped him, as he's been in cameo scenes of some of my recent "monster" comedy movies, on dvd. He was fun to meet & talk to. I saw him dressed as "IGOR" on Martha Stewart's "Halloween" show in 2004 or so. May Mr. Michael Thomas rest in peace. Your "Fiend", ROCK, a.k.a. "ROCK 'MONSTA'(Monster)"! - David "ROCK" Nelson
Above: Don Reese as Tor Johnson and Michael as Dr. Vornoff.
He did the best monster impersonation that I've ever seen. He WAS Igor! That's one more of our Monster Bash family gone. Of course, we knew Forry wouldn't be around long, due to his age. But Michael was young, at least relatively young, wasn't he? We just got back from vacation, visiting the Okefenokee Swamp, among other places. We listened to the "Igor" CD, and "Bela Lugosi", both by Michael. On the way down, and back. The swamp reminded me of Michael playing Dr. Vornoff, in Bride Of The Monster, "Home? I have no home. Hunted, despised, Living like an animal! The jungle is my home. But I will show the world that I can be its master! I will perfect my own race of people. A race of atomic supermen which will conquer the world! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!"
"This swamp is a monument to death. Snakes, alligators, quicksand... all bent on one thing: destruction."
What a terrible loss!
Editor 's note: Michael was 59 years young.
This is a person that I am really going to miss. My son and I always made it a point to see
Below - More photos submitted by Phil Smoot from Monster Bash 2009....
Above: Michael with Ron Chaney at MonsterBash 2009.
Above: Michael performs in Ygor's Magic Theatre at Monster Bash 2009
Ron, sorry to hear of Igor ,Michael Thomas passing. This news saddens us all. Ron Chamberlain is here with me at my house and we read the sad news together, he expresses his sorrow, to his family and to the Monster Bash family,as well as myself, this was a truly talented man, and dedecated to his Impersonations. -JAY NOVELLI..
Above: This isn't Charles video (I couldn't locate it), but here's Michael reciting "Monster Mash" at "Monster Bash."
Ron, we are so shocked and saddened at the death of Mike. What a great guy, and such a vital part of the Bash. We were both so bummed out last night upon learning this news. The Bash family is our extended family, and I know all Monster Bashers feel that way, and we have lost a member of our great family. I surfed You Tube last night and found the video from 2008 (by Charles Henson) that features about 3 and a half minutes of various clips of Mike in numerous makeups and costumes. Wow, what a great talent he was, and we will miss him. Our condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to his lovely wife Christine. God Bless Michael Thomas...a friend to all of us.
And here is the compilation on Michael from Charles Henson:
I knew Mike through my cousins Joette Martin and Janice Wrubel, about 15 years. My wife Lily and I would see him and Chris twice a year at Joette’ and Tony’s gatherings in Nutley. It was always a riot with Mike. Between us we would take on characters from classic monster and sci-fi movies. One time him and I doing “dueling John Carradines”. You name it..Nixon meets Dracula. Reagan meets Vincent Price. Laughter is something we should cherish, and Mike T surely knew the power of it. Like Dr Timothy Leary once said, “The First Sign Of Extraterrestrial Intelligence is a Sense of Humor”. Mike must have been alien then. We all miss him, his enthusiasm, and please be strong Chris.
Dear Ron Adams, all fellow Bash helpers and all other fans and Bash attendees, both past and present as well as future ones, I am deeply saddened to hear of Michael`s tragic passing. I remember meeting him for the first time when the Monster Bash had Chris Costello and the Abbott and Costello guys (doing their "schtick") for their first go-round back a few years ago!!!! It was a great pleasure to talk to Michael, have a few words about horror film fandom and the like, and to get my picture taken with him as well!!! (Ironically, during the same show, I took a few pictures of Michael and Ben Chapman clowning around together!!) Gosh, Now both of these wonderful, sincere, talented and compassionate men are gone. Life is so short, Folks. Everybody needs to seize the moment and enjoy every moment that life has to offer us. Nobody is guarenteed tomorrow, let alone next year! It was an great honor for me to meet Michael, I just wish I could have known him better. All my deepest condolences to his wife, family and all of his friends and good aquiantences (of which I know there are many) Rest In Peace, Michael. God Bless You. -Dan Brenneis, Monster Bash Staff Member and Lifetime Film Fan.
Above: Michael Thomas with Ricard Valley at Monster Bash. Video by Barb Heiss.
Above: Bill Riley (Bud Abbott), Michael Thomas (Dracula), Mark Wilhelm and Joe Ziegler (Lou Costello) at Monster Bash 2009. Photo submitted by Mark Wilhelm.
Above: Michael and wife, Christine.
Above: Ron Adams and Michael doing a bit with the program guide on stage at Monster Bash.
Dear Ron -
Dennis & I are very saddened by the news of Michael Thomas passing.
He was a
wonderful friend, and so multi-talented. He gave new life to all of
Bela Lugosi's characters.
His Ygor, was so much like Bela, it was if he just stepped off the
screen. His sense of
fun related to these classic portrayals, will be greatly missed, he
was always a highlight
of "Monster Bash". Luckily his work will live on in films, and the
Sincerely - Cortlandt Hull & Dennis Vincent
Above: Michael as Ygor with his brain! Photo by Pat Gonzalez.
I wanted to share the attached photo of Mike Thomas with all of you. I took it at Bash 2007. It is my favorite image of him. This is how I want to remember him. He'll always be Igor, the funny blacksmith. : )
Although usually being content to read messages and move on, I definitely feel the need to comment now. There are two things that I remember about my first Monster Bash. The first was seeing Karloff's THE MUMMY with an audience. The second was leaving the film and encountering Ygor in the hallway just outside. I stood there in amazement. That evening, when Dr. Benet engaged in a sing-a-long just before a showing of THE INVISIBLE RAY, I was a confirmed Michael Thomas fan. A couple of years later, I brought my daughter, Joanna, to her first Monster Bash. I vividly recall the opening night game show with three "contestants" trying to convince us that they were all Susan Gordon. The highlight was when Ygor brought out a male doll and, after letting it whisper to him, proclaimed, "Agar says Ygor...uh, I...am Susan Gordon." Joanna almost fell out of her seat with laughter. The next morning, I saw Michael at breakfast and I introduced myself, apologizing for the interruption, but wanting him to know how much we both enjoyed his performance the night before. Michael set down his pastry, widened his eyes, and said, "Interruption? Are you kidding? Comments like that are a breath of fresh air for an actor!" Michael asked if we'd be attending his magic show later, and I said that we would. He promised a surprise. Well, the surprise was calling Joanna on stage to be his assistant. This was one of those "life moments" that we recall over and over again. Joanna had so much fun, and Michael was such a generous performer. Afterward, we bought a picture of Ygor from Lorraine Bush and asked Michael to autograph it. He gave Joanna some kind words of encouragement, and wrote these words on the picture: "To Dear Friend Joanna, They die DEAD...We die LIVE! You are the best assistant Ygor ever had! Love, Ygor" That framed picture is in our living room. It has always had a special meaning for us and, in our hearts, Ygor and Michael will aways be with us. What a class act! --Jim
More on Michael in the News:
I posted a short video on YouTube of Michael Thomas as Ygor roaming the halls at the Bash, 2001.
Here's a beautiful video compilation by Paul Scrabo:
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