Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, Dave was the eldest son of John and Moreen Thomas. John Thomas (deceased) was a PHD in Philosophy (Duke), noted medical ethicist, head of Philosophy Department at McMaster University, and author of several books including: "Matters of Life and Death," "Well and Good," "Medical Ethic and Human Life." Moreen Thomas (living) was a church organist for 30 years and noted composer of church music. Brother, Ian Thomas is a noted Canadian musician and composer whose songs have been covered by bands like America, Chicago, Air Supply (Russell Hitchcock & Graham Russell), Bette Midler, and Manfred Mann.
Starting his career at ad agency McCann Erickson, after one year, Dave became the head writer of the Coca-Cola account. He then moved from the Toronto office to New York at the request of agency client Coca-Cola. Dave left advertising after three years to work at Second City Company in Toronto with Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Gilda Radner, and Eugene Levy. He subsequently co-founded NBC's critically acclaimed comedy series SCTV (1976), along with co-stars Harold Ramis, Catherine O'Hara (I), Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, and John Candy. During the show's five-year run, Dave won an Emmy Award, 4 Emmy nominations for his comedy writing, an ACTRA Award for Best Variety Performer and the Earl Grey Award in 1993.
With Rick Moranis, Dave co-created the infamous McKenzie Brothers and co-starred in the cult hit comedy film Strange Brew (1983) (MGM). Strange Brew won the Golden Reel Award for the highest box office grossing movie in Canada in 1983. The duo won Gold and Platinum Albums and a Grammy nomination. Since the film's release in 1982, the McKenzie Brothers have become a 20-year-plus enduring franchise, and Thomas and Moranis have licensed the characters to the following companies -- NBC, CBC, Polygram, MGM, Pizza Hut, Mr. Lubbe, Miller Brewing, Molsons Brewing, Todd McFarlane Toys and Disney.
Dave has written, directed, produced, and co-starred in television shows for all the major networks -- most notably The Dave Thomas Comedy Show (1990) (CBS) and Grace Under Fire (1993) (ABC). He was co-creator and co-executive producer of America's Funniest People (1990) (ABC). He wrote and directed the M.O.W. Ghost Mom (1993) (Fox) starring Jean Stapleton and Geraint Wyn Davies and starred in the M.O.W.'s Kids in the Woods (Disney) and Picture Perfect (1995) (ABC). He has voiced animated shows like The Simpsons (1989), Duckman, Catdog, Dilbert, Animaniacs, Justice League of America for Warners and Tarzan for Disney. He has appeared in numerous feature films, including Stripes with Bill Murray and Harold Ramis, Spies Like Us (1985) (Dave was also co-writer with Aykroyd) with Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd, The Experts (1989) (Dave directed) starring John Travolta and Kelly Preston, Boris & Natasha with Sally Kellerman, Coneheads with Dan Aykroyd, and most recently Rat Race with John Cleese, Whoopi Goldberg, and Cuba Gooding Jr.. In 2001, Dave played a featured role in the theatrical features Who's Your Daddy and Call Me Irresponsible (Norstar). Dave is currently voicing a major role along with Joaquin Phoenix and Rick Moranis in the upcoming full-length Disney animated feature Bears due for theatrical release in 2004. In 1996, Mr. Thomas wrote a book, "SCTV Behind the Scenes". It is currently in its second printing. Mr. Thomas' production company, Maple Palm Productions, produced an Ace nominated comedy special for Showtime entitled The Time Travels of Henry Osgood starring Bronson Pinchot, Catherine O'Hara (I), John Candy, Martin Short, and Joe Flaherty, a special for CBS in 1990 entitled "Standup at Forty" starring Gary Shandling, Bonnie Hunt, Martin Short, George Plimpton and Richard Belzer. In 1992 Maple Palm produced another comedy special, this time for ABC entitled "Inside American's Unsolved Mysteries". In 1994, Maple Palm produced a reality pilot for ABC entitled Family Challenge (1995). ABC elected not to pick up the series, so Maple Palm produced 130 hour-long episodes of Family Challenge (1995) for the Family Channel with Woody Fraser. In 1999, Maple Palm Productions and Dave Thomas produced Ambushed (1998) a movie for HBO, starring Courtney B. Vance, Virginia Madsen, and David Keith, directed by Ernest R. Dickerson. Ambushed (1998) was the highest rated television show in its time slot when it first aired in 1999. Currently, Dave is a partner in Animax Interactive, an online production company creating sponsored interactive content and designing Web Pages for such companies as Ford, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers and Verizon. Dave lives in Malibu, California with his wife Kim and four children John, Emily, Harry and Charlie.