Allix Sparks

Allix Sparks

Published: 13 Oct 2023


Ernest Lee Thomas, an iconic figure in the entertainment industry, has graced our screens and captured our hearts for decades. With his impressive talent and magnetic presence, Thomas has become a beloved celebrity who has left an indelible mark on the world of television and film.

In this article, we will delve into the fascinating life and career of Ernest Lee Thomas, exploring 23 captivating facts that shed light on his journey to stardom. From his breakthrough role on the hit sitcom “What’s Happening!!” to his memorable appearances in various movies and TV shows, Thomas has continuously proven his versatility as an actor.

So, let’s embark on a thrilling exploration of the life of Ernest Lee Thomas, uncovering intriguing details about his early life, notable achievements, and the impact he has had on the entertainment industry.

Table of Contents

A Journey into Acting

Ernest Lee Thomas embarked on his acting career with great determination, paving the way for a successful and captivating journey in the entertainment industry.

Breakthrough Role in “What’s Happening!!”

Thomas rose to prominence with his breakout role as Roger “Raj” Thomas in the hit 1970s sitcom “What’s Happening!!”. His charismatic portrayal of Raj endeared him to audiences worldwide.

The Iconic Fashion Sense

One of the most captivating aspects of Ernest Lee Thomas is his impeccable fashion sense. Known for his stylish outfits and signature accessories, he continues to inspire fans with his unique style.

A Multitalented Performer

Besides his acting prowess, Thomas is also a talented musician. His skills as a drummer and singer have provided an added layer of captivation throughout his career.

Appearing on Game Shows

Thomas has showcased his wit and knowledge by making guest appearances on popular game shows such as “The $25,000 Pyramid” and “Hollywood Squares”. His quick thinking and humor captivate both the audience and fellow contestants.

Recognitions and Honors

Ernest Lee Thomas has received numerous accolades for his outstanding contributions to the entertainment industry. From awards for his acting performances to recognition for his humanitarian efforts, Thomas continues to captivate the hearts of fans and the industry alike.

A Philanthropic Spirit

Thomas actively participates in various charitable initiatives, using his platform and resources to make a positive impact on the lives of others. His dedication to giving back further adds to his captivating persona.

On the Broadway Stage

In addition to his impressive screen presence, Thomas has showcased his talent on the Broadway stage. His captivating performances have mesmerized audiences in renowned productions.

A Passion for Education

Ernest Lee Thomas believes in the power of education and its ability to transform lives. He has been actively involved in educational initiatives, inspiring and empowering students with his captivating words and experiences.

Expanding into Voice Acting

Thomas has lent his captivating voice to various animated projects, bringing characters to life through his unique vocal talent. His versatility spans across different mediums, captivating audiences of all ages.

Sharing Wisdom through Writing

In recent years, Thomas has captivated readers with his captivating memoir, where he shares his personal journey and valuable insights gained throughout his career in the entertainment industry.

An Advocate for Diversity

Thomas actively advocates for diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry. Through his captivating words and actions, he continues to push for equal representation and opportunities for all talented individuals.

Impactful Guest Appearances

Over the years, Thomas has made captivating guest appearances on various television shows, leaving a lasting impression with his memorable characters and performances.

Inspiring the Next Generation

Ernest Lee Thomas serves as a mentor and source of inspiration for aspiring actors and entertainers. His captivating advice and support have motivated many to pursue their dreams in the industry.

A Trailblazer

Thomas has broken barriers and paved the way for future generations of African-American actors. His captivating performances have shattered stereotypes and opened doors for greater representation in the entertainment industry.

A Positive Influence

Throughout his career, Ernest Lee Thomas has remained a positive influence on those around him. His captivating energy and optimistic outlook on life continue to inspire others to strive for greatness.

On the Small and Big Screen

From memorable TV appearances to captivating roles in feature films, Thomas has showcased his versatility on both the small and big screen. His captivating performances have entertained audiences of all sizes.

An International Following

Ernest Lee Thomas has a captivating presence that transcends borders. He has fans from all around the world who are captivated by his talent, charisma, and cultural impact.

Embracing New Technologies

Thomas has embraced new technologies and platforms to connect with his captivated fan base. From engaging on social media to participating in online interviews, he stays connected with his audience in innovative ways.

A Voice for Social Change

Thomas has used his captivating voice to speak out on important social issues. His activism and commitment to justice have further endeared him to fans who appreciate his dedication to making a difference.

The Power of Laughter

Ernest Lee Thomas has a captivating sense of humor that brings joy and laughter to those around him. His comedic timing and infectious laughter light up any room he enters.

Still Captivating Audiences Today

After decades in the spotlight, Ernest Lee Thomas continues to captivate audiences with his enduring charm and talent. His presence in the industry remains captivating and relevant.

A Legacy of Captivation

Ernest Lee Thomas has left a lasting legacy of captivation in the entertainment industry. His contributions as an actor, musician, and philanthropist have touched the lives of many, ensuring his place in Hollywood history.


In conclusion, Ernest Lee Thomas is a fascinating talent in the entertainment industry. From his breakout role in “What’s Happening!!” to his continued success in film, television, and theater, Thomas has proven to be a versatile and skilled performer. His dedication to his craft and his ability to embody memorable characters have made him a beloved figure in the entertainment world.Thomas’s journey from a young actor dreaming of success to an accomplished and respected artist is truly inspiring. His work ethic and commitment to his craft serve as a testament to his passion for acting.As we reflect on the captivating facts about Ernest Lee Thomas, we can appreciate the talent and charisma that have made him a household name. Whether you’re a fan of his classic television role or have admired his work in other projects, there’s no denying the impact he has had on the entertainment industry. Ernest Lee Thomas is a true icon, and his legacy will undoubtedly continue to inspire future generations of performers.


Q: What is Ernest Lee Thomas best known for?

A: Ernest Lee Thomas is best known for his role as Roger “Raj” Thomas in the popular 1970s sitcom “What’s Happening!!”.

Q: Has Ernest Lee Thomas appeared in any other TV shows or movies?

A: Yes, Thomas has appeared in numerous television shows and movies throughout his career. Some of his notable credits include “The Jeffersons,” “The Parent ‘Hood,” “Malcolm X,” and “Everybody Hates Chris.”

Q: Did Ernest Lee Thomas receive any awards for his performances?

A: While Thomas hasn’t received major awards for his performances, he has been recognized for his talent. He received the Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for his role in “Malcolm X” in 1993.

Q: Is Ernest Lee Thomas still active in the entertainment industry?

A: Yes, Thomas is still active in the entertainment industry. He continues to take on acting roles in film, television, and theater, showcasing his versatility and passion for his craft.

Q: Does Ernest Lee Thomas have any other interests outside of acting?

A: In addition to acting, Thomas is also an accomplished musician. He plays the saxophone and has performed with various jazz bands over the years.