Open main menu

Wikipedia β

Tessa Lynn Thompson[1] (born October 3, 1983) is an American actress. Her breakout film role came in Tina Mabry's 2009 indie film Mississippi Damned. In film, she starred as Nyla Adrose in the drama For Colored Girls (2010), civil rights activist Diane Nash in the historical drama Selma (2014), Bianca in the sports drama Creed (2015), and as Valkyrie in the superhero film Thor: Ragnarok (2017). On television, Thompson 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 series Westworld (2016–present).

Tessa Thompson
Tessa Thompson by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Thompson in July 2017
Born Tessa Lynn Thompson
(1983-10-03) October 3, 1983 (age 34)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 2002–present


Early lifeEdit

Thompson was born on October 3, 1983, in Los Angeles, California.[2] She was raised between Los Angeles and Brooklyn, New York.[3] Her father, singer-songwriter Marc Anthony Thompson of the musical collective Chocolate Genius, Inc.,[3] is Panamanian, while her mother is of Mexican and European descent.[4] She attended Santa Monica High School and then Santa Monica College, where she studied cultural anthropology.[5]


Thompson in 2014


In 2002, Thompson made her professional stage debut in Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company's production of The Tempest. In 2003, Thompson 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.[5]

In 2016 she appeared in the off-Broadway run of the Lydia R. Diamond play Smart People at Second Stage Theatre, alongside Mahershala Ali, Joshua Jackson and Anne Son.[6]


Thompson made her first TV 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 for the show's second season.[5][4] 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 the fourth season of Heroes.

In 2010, she had a guest role as the wife of a detective on Detroit 187. In 2012, she 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.[5] In 2016, she began a starring role in the HBO science-fiction drama series Westworld as park director Charlotte Hale.


With Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan promoting Creed in November 2015

Thompson's first feature film appearance was in the 2006 remake of the horror film When a Stranger Calls playing the role of Scarlet. 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.[5] In 2014, she starred in Justin Simien's Sundance winner Dear White People. That same year, Thompson played civil rights activist Diane Nash in Ava DuVernay's Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic Selma.[7] In 2015, she appeared in Ryan Coogler's Rocky spin-off-sequel film Creed,[4] and in Nate Ruess' short film The Grand Romantic.[8] In April 2016, Thompson was cast as Valkyrie[9] in Thor: Ragnarok, which was released on November 3, 2017.[10] In June 2017, Thompson was cast in the science-fiction comedy film Sorry to Bother You.[11] The film is set to be released in theaters on July 6, 2018.[12]



Year Title Role Notes
2006 When a Stranger Calls Scarlet
2008 Make It Happen Dana
Human Contract, TheThe Human Contract Waitress
2009 Mississippi Damned Kari Peterson (at age 20)
2010 Everyday Black Man Claire
Exquisite Corpse Liz
For Colored Girls Nyla Adrose
2011 Periphery Caitlin
Red & Blue Marbles Becca
2012 Murder on the 13th Floor Nia Palmer
2013 South Dakota Chris
Automotive Maggie
2014 Dear White People Samantha White
Grantham & Rose Wallis
Selma Diane Nash
2015 Creed Bianca
2016 War on Everyone Jackie Hollis
Salt Water Brit
2017 South Dakota Chris
Thor: Ragnarok Valkyrie
2018 Sorry to Bother You Detroit
Annihilation Josie Radek
Furlough[13] Nicole Stevens
Little Woods[14] Ollie
Creed II Bianca Filming[citation needed]


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Cold Case Wilhemina "Billie" Doucette[15] Episode: "Best Friends"
2005–2006 Veronica Mars Jackie Cook[16] Regular role (12 episodes)
2006 Grey's Anatomy Camille Travis Episodes: "Deterioration of the Fight or Flight Response", "Losing My Religion",
2006 Initiation of Sarah, TheThe Initiation of Sarah Esme Movie
2007 Hidden Palms Nikki Barnes Main role (7 episodes)
2008 Life Liza Episode: "Trapdoor"
2009 Mental Lainey Jefferson Episode: "Lines in the Sand"
2009 Private Practice Zoe Episodes: "Yours, Mine & Ours", "Strange Bedfellows"
2009 Heroes Rebecca Taylor "Hysterical Blindness", "Strange Attractors", "Shadowboxing"
2009 Three Rivers Penelope Kirkell Episode: "A Roll of the Dice"
2010 Betwixt Jenny Television film
2010 Blue Belle Blue Lead role (5 episodes)
2010–2011 Detroit 1-8-7 Lauren Washington "Local Hero/Overboard", "Home Invasion/Drive-By", "Blackout"
2011 Off the Map Sydney Episode: "A Doctor Time Out"
2011 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)
2012–2013 Copper Sara Freeman Main role (19 episodes)
2016 BoJack Horseman Tanisha (voice) Episode: "Love And/Or Marriage"
2016–present Westworld Charlotte Hale[16] Main role
2018 Portlandia Bailey Episode: "Rose Route"
2018 Dear White People Rikki Carter 2 Episodes

Music videosEdit

Year Song Artist Role
2015 "Yoga" Janelle Monáe Dancer
2017 "Moonlight" Jay-Z Monica Geller
2018 "Make Me Feel" Janelle Monáe Zen/Mary Apple 53
2018 "PYNK" Janelle Monáe Zen/Mary Apple 53
2018 Dirty Computer Janelle Monáe Zen/Mary Apple 53

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
2009 American Black Film Festival Best Actor Mississippi Damned Won [17]
2011 Black Reel Awards Best Breakthrough Performance For Colored Girls Won [18]
2014 Gotham Awards Breakthrough Actor Dear White People Won [19]
2014 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Dear White People Nominated [20]
2014 Black Reel Awards Best Actress Dear White People Nominated [21]
2015 African-American Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Creed Won [22]
2016 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Drama Creed Nominated [23]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Creed Nominated [24]
2018 BAFTAs Rising Star Thor: Ragnarok Nominated [25]
Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress Thor: Ragnarok Pending [26]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Sci-Fi Thor: Ragnarok Pending [27]


  1. ^ "Tessa Thompson". 
  2. ^ "Tessa Thompson". Archived from the original on September 8, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Thompson in Morgan, Kai (May 5, 2014). "Exclusive: Tessa Thompson on varied dreams and effecting change". Archived from the original on March 31, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c 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. 
  5. ^ a b c d e 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. 
  6. ^ "Past Shows – Season 37". Archived from the original on October 13, 2016. Retrieved December 5, 2016. 
  7. ^ Grigg-Spall, Holly (n.d.). "Tessa Thompson". Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  8. ^ Ruess, Nate. "The Grand Romantic Chapter 1 debut". Apple Music Connect. 
  9. ^ Strom, Marc (May 20, 2016). "Marvel Studios Confirms Stellar New Cast Members of the Highly Anticipated 'Thor: Ragnarok'". Archived from the original on April 10, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2016. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Busch, Anita (June 15, 2017). "Tessa Thompson, Lakeith Stanfield, Steven Yeun To Star In 'Sorry To Bother You'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 19, 2018. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ "Trailer for Furlough starring Tessa Thompson, Melissa Leo and Whoopi Goldberg". Flickering Myth. 2018-03-14. Retrieved 2018-05-12. 
  14. ^ "Tribeca 2018: 11 Must-See Films at This Year's Festival, From Zombies to Tessa Thompson and the Rachel Dolezal Story". IndieWire. 2018-04-16. Retrieved 2018-05-12. 
  15. ^ "Cold Case". Radio Times. Retrieved December 2, 2017. 
  16. ^ a b Robinson, Joanna (November 1, 2017). "Tessa Thompson on a Decade Defying On-Screen Stereotypes". Vanity Fair. 
  17. ^ "2009 Winners". American Black Film Festival. Archived from the original on February 7, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Winners > 2011". Black Reel Awards. Archived from the original on January 14, 2016. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  19. ^ "2014 Gotham Awards: Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 27, 2016. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  20. ^ "NAACP Image Awards 2015: Full list of nominees and winners". Los Angeles Times. February 6, 2015. Archived from the original on December 23, 2016. 
  21. ^ "And The Nominees Are..." [15th Annual] Black Reel Awards. December 17, 2014. Archived from the original on March 27, 2016. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  22. ^ "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. 
  23. ^ Goodman, Jessica (July 31, 2016). "Teen Choice Awards 2016: See the full list of winners". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  24. ^ "2016 Image Award Winners". Variety. Retrieved September 20, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Bafta Film Awards 2018: All the winners". BBC News. 18 February 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2018. 
  26. ^ "Here Are The 44th Annual Saturn Awards Nominations". Blending Cool. March 15, 2018. Retrieved 2018-03-16. 
  27. ^ 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. 

External linksEdit