Tessa Lynn Thompson (born October 3, 1983) is an American actress, singer, and songwriter. Her breakthrough role was in Tina Mabry's independent film Mississippi Damned (2009). She gained further recognition for her starring roles as Nyla Adrose in the drama film For Colored Girls (2010), civil rights activist Diane Nash in the historical drama film Selma (2014), Bianca Taylor in the sports drama film Creed (2015) and its sequel Creed II (2018), Valkyrie in the superhero films Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), Josie Radek in the science-fiction horror film Annihilation (2018), and Detroit in the science-fiction comedy film Sorry to Bother You (2018).
Thompson in 2017
Tessa Lynn Thompson
October 3, 1983
|Alma mater||Santa Monica College|
On television, Thompson has starred as Jackie Cook in the mystery drama Veronica Mars (2005–2006), Sara Freeman in the period crime drama Copper (2012–2013), and Charlotte Hale in the HBO science-fiction thriller Westworld (2016–present).
Tessa Lynn Thompson was born on October 3, 1983, in Los Angeles, California. She was raised between Los Angeles and Brooklyn, New York. Her father, singer-songwriter Marc Anthony Thompson, of the musical collective Chocolate Genius, Inc., is of Afro-Panamanian descent, while her mother is of European and Mexican ancestry. She attended Santa Monica High School where she played Hermia in a student production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. She then attended Santa Monica College (SMC), where she studied cultural anthropology. While at SMC, she also attended lectures by Lisa Volpe of Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company (LAWSC).
In 2002, Thompson made her professional stage debut in as one of three actors portraying the role of Ariel in LAWSC's production of The Tempest. In 2003, she appeared as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet: Antebellum New Orleans, 1836 with The Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena, California, which earned her an NAACP Theatre Award nomination.
Thompson made her first television appearance in a 2005 episode of the CBS series Cold Case in the role of a bootlegging lesbian from the 1930s. In the same year, she rose to fame as she landed the role of Jackie Cook on the UPN/CW neo-noir drama series Veronica Mars, starring as a series regular season two. In 2006, she appeared on the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy. In 2007, she was a part of the cast on the CW's short-lived drama Hidden Palms, portraying Nikki Barnes. She worked on guest star roles on Life and Private Practice, and appeared in season four of Heroes.
In 2010, she had a guest role as the wife of a detective on Detroit 187. In 2012, Thompson had a guest role as Gavin Doran's daughter, Sasha, on 666 Park Avenue. In 2013, she starred in BBC America's first original series Copper. In 2016, she began a starring role in the HBO science-fiction drama series Westworld as board director Charlotte Hale.
Thompson's first feature film appearance was in the 2006 remake of the horror film When a Stranger Calls playing the role of Scarlett. Thompson was next seen opposite Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the dancing film Make it Happen in 2008.
In 2010, Thompson appeared in Tyler Perry's stage play adaptation For Colored Girls, after she directly approached Perry to be cast in the film. In 2014, she starred as Samantha White in Justin Simien's Sundance-winning comedy Dear White People. That same year, Thompson played civil rights activist Diane Nash in Ava DuVernay's Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma. In 2015, she appeared in Ryan Coogler's Rocky sequel Creed, and in Nate Ruess' short film The Grand Romantic.
In April 2016, Thompson was cast as Valkyrie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero film Thor: Ragnarok, which was released on November 3, 2017. She then appeared in the science-fiction horror film Annihilation, which was released on February 23, 2018. In June 2017, Thompson was cast in the science-fiction comedy Sorry to Bother You, which was released on July 6, 2018. She reprised her role as Bianca Taylor in Creed II, which was released on November 21, 2018.
She will also have a starring role in the Men in Black spin-off film, Men in Black: International. The film, which reunites her with Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame co-star Chris Hemsworth, is set for release on June 14, 2019.
Thompson is also a singer-songwriter. She has in the past been a member of the Los Angeles-based indie electro soul band Caught a Ghost, and contributed to the soundtracks for both Creed and Creed II, for which she co-wrote and performed several songs with producer Moses Sumney.
Thompson addressed her sexuality in an interview published in June 2018, declaring: "In my family you can be anything you want to be. I'm attracted to men and also to women. If I bring a woman home, or a man, we don't even have to have the discussion". Though many publications subsequently referred to Thompson as bisexual, she told The Independent in November 2018, "I never said that word, because I don’t think in those binaries. I feel like that’s important to say, just for me, because that’s not the way that I specifically identify." She also added, "Some people categorised it as coming out or something. And I have never been in, so I don’t know what that means."
|2006||When a Stranger Calls||Scarlet|
|2008||Make It Happen||Dana|
|The Human Contract||Waitress|
|2009||Mississippi Damned||Kari Peterson (at age 20)|
|2010||Everyday Black Man||Claire|
|For Colored Girls||Nyla Adrose|
|Red & Blue Marbles||Becca|
|2012||Murder on the 13th Floor||Nia Palmer|
|2014||Dear White People||Samantha "Sam" White|
|Grantham & Rose||Wallis|
|2015||Creed||Bianca Taylor||Also songwriter|
|2016||War on Everyone||Jackie Hollis|
|Thor: Ragnarok||Valkyrie / Scrapper 142|
|2018||Sorry to Bother You||Detroit|
|Dirty Computer||Zen / Mary Apple 23||Short film|
|Creed II||Bianca Taylor|
|Men in Black: International||Agent M||Post-production|
|Lady and the Tramp||Lady (voice)||Post-production|
|2005||Cold Case||Wilhelmina "Billie" Doucette||Episode: "Best Friends"|
|2005–2006||Veronica Mars||Jackie Cook||Main role (12 episodes)|
|2006||Grey's Anatomy||Camille Travis||Episodes: "Deterioration of the Fight or Flight Response", "Losing My Religion"|
|The Initiation of Sarah||Esme||TV film|
|2007||Hidden Palms||Nikki Barnes||Main role (7 episodes)|
|2009||Mental||Lainey Jefferson||Episode: "Lines in the Sand"|
|Private Practice||Zoe||Episodes: "Yours, Mine & Ours", "Strange Bedfellows"|
|Heroes||Rebecca Taylor||Episodes: "Hysterical Blindness", "Strange Attractors", "Shadowboxing"|
|Three Rivers||Penelope Kirkell||Episode: "A Roll of the Dice"|
|Blue Belle||Blue||Lead role (5 episodes)|
|2010–2011||Detroit 1-8-7||Lauren Washington||3 episodes|
|2011||Off the Map||Sydney||Episode: "A Doctor Time Out"|
|Rizzoli & Isles||FBI Agent Anna Farrell||Episode: "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"|
|2012–2013||666 Park Avenue||Sasha Doran||Recurring role (5 episodes)|
|Copper||Sara Freeman||Main role (22 episodes)|
|2016||BoJack Horseman||Tanisha (voice)||Episode: "Love And/Or Marriage"|
|2016–present||Westworld||Charlotte Hale||Main role|
|2018||Portlandia||Bailey||Episode: "Rose Route"|
|Dear White People||Rikki Carter||Episodes: "Volume 2: Chapter V", "Volume 2: Chapter X"|
|2019||Tuca & Bertie||Sophie Black (voice)||Episode: "The Sex Bugs"|
|2018||"Make Me Feel"||Janelle Monáe||Zen / Mary Apple 53|
Awards and nominationsEdit
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- Thompson in Morgan, Kai (May 5, 2014). "Exclusive: Tessa Thompson on varied dreams and effecting change". EmbraceYouMagazine.com. Archived from the original on March 31, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- "Tessa Thompson On Her Blackness – Essence".
- Zakarin, Jordan (December 29, 2014). "Tessa Thompson on Selma, Dear White People, and Her Breakthrough Year". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on September 21, 2016. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
...a Panamanian father and half Mexican, half white mother.
- Behrens, Deborah (July 11, 2012). "Tessa Thompson Returns to Shakespeare as Rosalind". @ This Stage (LA Stage Alliance). Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- "'Smart People': Theater Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
- Stasio, Marilyn; Stasio, Marilyn (February 12, 2016). "Off Broadway Review: 'Smart People' with Joshua Jackson". Variety. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
- "Tessa Thompson on Race, Hollywood, and Her Impending Stardom". The Cut. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
- Bellafante, Ginia (May 30, 2007). "Pretty Faces With Plenty of Troubles, and Secrets". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
- Lowry, Brian (May 25, 2007). "Hidden Palms". Variety. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
- "BBC – BBC America's first original drama, Copper, to premiere August 19 – Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
- Andreeva, Nellie; Andreeva, Nellie (September 18, 2015). "HBO Drama 'Westworld' Adds Tessa Thompson As Series Regular". Deadline. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
- Robinson, Joanna (November 30, 2016). "Is Westworld Hiding One Last Maddening Twist?". HWD. Vanity Fair. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
- Grigg-Spall, Holly (n.d.). "Tessa Thompson". IssueMagazine.com. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- Ruess, Nate. "The Grand Romantic Chapter 1 debut". Apple Music Connect.
- Strom, Marc (May 20, 2016). "Marvel Studios Confirms Stellar New Cast Members of the Highly Anticipated 'Thor: Ragnarok'". Marvel.com. Archived from the original on April 10, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
- Busch, Anita (April 11, 2016). "Tessa Thompson Joins The Marvel Universe In 'Thor: Ragnarok'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 23, 2017. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- Busch, Anita (June 15, 2017). "Tessa Thompson, Lakeith Stanfield, Steven Yeun To Star In 'Sorry To Bother You'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
- Blistein, Jon (May 17, 2018). "Watch Lakeith Stanfield Make Millions With 'White Voice' in Wild 'Sorry to Bother You' Trailer". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
- Kroll, Justin (December 11, 2017). "Steven Caple Jr. to Direct 'Creed 2' Starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- Kit, Borys (March 21, 2018). "Tessa Thompson to Join Chris Hemsworth in 'Men in Black' Spinoff (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- Chitwood, Adam (December 5, 2018). "The 'Men in Black' Reboot Is Titled 'Men in Black International'". Collider. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
- "'Dear White People' Star Tessa Thompson Spills About Her Secret Music Career". Billboard. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
- Lifeminute (December 3, 2013), Caught a Ghost Talk Tour and Upcoming Album Human Nature, retrieved November 25, 2018
- "Tessa Thompson and Jesse Nolan Make Music Magic in Caught A Ghost". ELLE. January 20, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
- Brayson, Johnny. "Watch Tessa Thompson Explain Her Inspiration For The Songs She Wrote For 'Creed 2'". Bustle. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
- Lee, Chris. "How Rihanna Inspired Tessa Thompson's Creed II Character". Vulture. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
- Mulkerrins, Jane (June 29, 2018), "Break the Mold, with Tessa Thompson", Net-A-Porter, retrieved January 2, 2019; Sharf, Zack (June 29, 2018), "Tessa Thompson Comes Out, Says She and Janelle Monae Wrestle With Privacy vs. Visibility", IndieWire.
- "Rosario Dawson and Tessa Thompson Know Bernie Sanders Is "the Feminist in This Race"". Elle. April 1, 2016. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
- Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha to Star in Period Drama 'Sylvie'
- Amanda Mitchell (September 6, 2018). "34 Actors You Forgot Appeared on 'Grey's Anatomy'". Marie Claire. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
- Framke, Caroline. "Janelle Monáe doubles down on feminist self-love with her new music video for "Pynk"". Vox. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
- Framke, Caroline. "The video for Jay-Z's "Moonlight" is an all-black Friends remake — until it's not". Vox. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
- Grierson, Tim. "Why Janelle Monae's 'Dirty Computer' Film Is a Timely New Sci-Fi Masterpiece". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
- "2009 Winners". American Black Film Festival. Archived from the original on February 7, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
- "Winners > 2011". Black Reel Awards. Archived from the original on January 14, 2016. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
- "2014 Gotham Awards: Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 27, 2016. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
- "Tessa Thompson – Awards – IMDb". Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- "NAACP Image Awards 2015: Full list of nominees and winners". Los Angeles Times. February 6, 2015. Archived from the original on December 23, 2016.
- "And The Nominees Are..." [15th Annual] Black Reel Awards. December 17, 2014. Archived from the original on March 27, 2016. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
- "Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry and Ava Duvernay Lead an All-Star Line Up at the African American Film Critics Association Award Show". 2015 Winners. African-American Film Critics Association. February 5, 2015. Archived from the original on June 29, 2016. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
- "2016 Image Award Winners". Variety. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
- Goodman, Jessica (July 31, 2016). "Teen Choice Awards 2016: See the full list of winners". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
- "Bafta Film Awards 2018: All the winners". BBC News. February 18, 2018. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
- "Here Are The 44th Annual Saturn Awards Nominations". Blending Cool. March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
- Cohen, Jess (June 13, 2018). "Teen Choice Awards 2018: Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther and Riverdale Among Top Nominees". E! News. Retrieved June 13, 2018.