Tatiana Thumbtzen

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Tatiana Yvonne Thumbtzen
Born Tatiana Yvonne Thumbtzen
(1960-04-22) April 22, 1960 (age 58)
Clearwater, Florida, U.S.
Occupation Actress, model, dancer, artist

Tatiana Yvonne "Tati" Thumbtzen (born April 22, 1960) is an American actress, model and dancer. She is best known for her role as the love interest of pop star Michael Jackson in the music video for his song "The Way You Make Me Feel" from his seventh studio album, Bad.[1][2]


Born in Clearwater, Florida, Thumbtzen is of black, Cherokee Indian, Cuban heritage. Tatiana's family name is of German descent. She began to train in ballet at the age of eight, and moved to New York when she was thirteen on a ballet scholarship, where she studied at Juilliard in the school of American Ballet, a training camp for choreographer George Balanchine of the New York City Ballet Company.

She stated in an interview that through dance, she acquired a contract for modeling, and by age nineteen, she had gone to Japan to start her career as a model. Once returning to New York, Thumbtzen began working on a Harry Belafonte Production film, Beat Street, before moving to Los Angeles at the end of 1986 to begin working on commercials and print-work. One of her first print work jobs was a campaign for Billy Dean Williams for LA Eyewear.

Thumbtzen was chosen to perform in a Michael Jackson music video entitled "The Way You Make Me Feel" after being picked by him during an audition. Filming began around the end of 1987 to the start of 1988 and was said to be the beginning of Thumbtzen's career.

Thumbtzen later joined Jackson for his Bad Tour, and kissed Jackson on stage in his first kiss in public.[2][3] She claims she was fired soon after through the encouragement of his "entourage" for taking advantage of the star by kissing him,[4] and was replaced with Sheryl Crow. She describes the story in her 2004 autobiography The Way He Made Me Feel.

Thumbtzen also appeared in the opening credits of the television series "A Different World".

Tatiana attended Michael Jackson's final funeral service on September 3, 2009. Shortly after Jackson's death, she met his manager Frank DiLeo and they settled their differences before Dileo's passing in 2011.


  1. "Michael Jackson Case Latest: Tatiana Thumbtzen Denies Affair With Star". Female First. Retrieved 2009-09-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Walls, Jeannette (17 August st 2004). "Former Jackson dancer tells all in new book". msnbc.com. Retrieved 2009-09-14. Check date values in: |date= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Tatiana Thumbtzen". Makli. 27 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-13. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/7012276#7012276

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