Thompson at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con
Tessa Lynne Thompson
October 3, 1983
|Alma mater||Santa Monica College|
Tessa Lynne Thompson (born October 3, 1983) is an American actress. Her breakthrough role was in Tina Mabry's independent film Mississippi Damned (2009). She gained further recognition for starring as civil rights activist Diane Nash in the historical drama Selma (2014), a singer in the sports drama Creed (2015) and its sequel Creed II (2018), and Valkyrie in the superhero films Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). She has also appeared in the films For Colored Girls (2010), Annihilation (2018), Sorry to Bother You (2018), and Men in Black: International (2019).
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 Caucasian 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 Wolpe 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.
Thompson reprised her role as Valkryie in the superhero sequel film Avengers: Endgame, which was released on April 26, 2019. She starred as Agent M in the Men in Black spin-off film, Men in Black: International, opposite Chris Hemsworth, her co-star from Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame. The film was released on June 14, 2019.
At 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, it was announced that Thompson would reprise her role as Valkyrie in the superhero film Thor: Love and Thunder. Valkyrie, after being declared King of New Asgard, will begin searching for her queen, revealing herself to be the MCU's first major LGBT character.
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 has a younger half-sister named Zsela Thompson who is also a singer-songwriter.
|2006||When a Stranger Calls||Scarlet|
|2008||Make It Happen||Dana|
|The Human Contract||Waitress|
|2009||Mississippi Damned||Kari Peterson|
|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|
|Points of Origin||Rosemary||Short film|
|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|
|2019||Brave Girl Rising||Nasro (voice)||Short film|
|Men in Black: International||Molly Wright / Agent M|
|Between Two Ferns: The Movie||Herself|
|Lady and the Tramp||Lady (voice)|
|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||2 episodes|
|The Initiation of Sarah||Esme||Television film|
|2007||Hidden Palms||Nikki Barnes||Main role (7 episodes)|
|2009||Mental||Lainey Jefferson||Episode: "Lines in the Sand"|
|Private Practice||Zoe||2 episodes|
|Heroes||Rebecca Taylor||3 episodes|
|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||Laurel Harris / Sasha Doran||5 episodes|
|Copper||Sara Freeman||Main role (22 episodes)|
|2016||BoJack Horseman||Tanisha (voice)||Episode: "Love And/Or Marriage"|
|2016-present||Westworld||Charlotte Hale / Dolores Abernathy / Angela||Main role (12 episodes)|
|2018||Portlandia||Bailey||Episode: "Rose Route"|
|Dear White People||Rikki Carter||2 episodes|
|2019||Tuca & Bertie||Sophie Black (voice)||Episode: "The Sex Bugs"|
|Drunk History||Eartha Kitt||Episode: "Fame"|
|2018||"Make Me Feel"||Janelle Monáe||Zen / Mary Apple 53|
|2009||American Black Film Festival||Best Actor||Mississippi Damned||Won|||
|2011||Black Reel Awards||Best Breakthrough Performance||For Colored Girls||Won|||
|2014||Gotham Awards||Breakthrough Actor||Dear White People||Won|||
|African-American Film Critics Association||Breakthrough Performance||Won|||
|2015||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture||Nominated|||
|Black Reel Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|||
|Hamptons International Film Festival||Breakthrough Performer||Selma||Won|||
|African-American Film Critics Association||Best Supporting Actress||Creed||Won|||
|2016||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture||Nominated|||
|Black Reel Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Won|||
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Actress: Drama||Nominated|||
|2018||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture||Thor: Ragnarok||Nominated|||
|BAFTA Awards||Rising Star||Nominated|||
|Black Reel Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|||
|Empire Awards||Best Female Newcomer||Nominated|||
|Saturn Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|||
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Actress: Sci-Fi||Nominated|||
|2019||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Action Movie Actress||Men in Black: International||Nominated|||
...a Panamanian father and half Mexican, half white mother.