Tessa Thompson
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Tessa Thompson

Tessa Thompson
Tessa Thompson by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
Thompson at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con
Tessa Lynne Thompson

(1983-10-03) October 3, 1983 (age 36)
Alma materSanta Monica College
Years active2002-present

Tessa Lynne Thompson[1] (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).

On television, Thompson has starred as Jackie Cook in the drama series Veronica Mars (2005-2006), and also appeared in Copper (2012-2013) and Westworld (2016-present).

Early life

Thompson was born on October 3, 1983, in Los Angeles, California.[1] She was raised between Los Angeles and Brooklyn, New York.[2] Her father, singer-songwriter Marc Anthony Thompson, of the musical collective Chocolate Genius, Inc.,[2] is of Afro-Panamanian descent,[3] while her mother is of Caucasian and Mexican ancestry.[4] 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).[5]


Thompson in 2014


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.[5]

In 2016, Thompson appeared in the off-Broadway run of the Lydia R. Diamond play Smart People at Second Stage Theatre, starring alongside Mahershala Ali, Joshua Jackson and Anne Son.[6][7]


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.[4][5] In 2006, she appeared on the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy.[8] In 2007, she was a part of the cast on the CW's short-lived drama Hidden Palms, portraying Nikki Barnes.[9][10] 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.[5][11] In 2016, she began a starring role in the HBO science-fiction drama series Westworld as board director Charlotte Hale.[12][13]


Thompson with Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan promoting Creed in 2015

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.[5] 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.[14] In 2015, she appeared in Ryan Coogler's Rocky sequel Creed,[4] and in Nate Ruess' short film The Grand Romantic.[15]

In April 2016, Thompson was cast as Valkyrie[16] in the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero film Thor: Ragnarok, which was released on November 3, 2017.[17] 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,[18] which was released on July 6, 2018.[19] She reprised her role as Bianca Taylor in Creed II, which was released on November 21, 2018.[20]

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.[21][22]

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.[23]


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,[24][25][26] and contributed to the soundtracks for both Creed and Creed II, for which she co-wrote and performed several songs with producer Moses Sumney.[27][28]

Personal life

Thompson has a younger half-sister named Zsela Thompson who is also a singer-songwriter.[29]

Thompson said in a 2018 interview that she is "attracted to men and also to women",[30] but later declined to label herself as bisexual.[31]

Thompson endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for President in the 2016 US presidential election.[32]



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
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
Exquisite Corpse Liz
For Colored Girls Nyla Adrose
2011 Periphery Caitlin
Red & Blue Marbles Becca
2012 Murder on the 13th Floor Nia Palmer
2013 Automotive Maggie
2014 Dear White People Samantha "Sam" White
Grantham & Rose Wallis
Points of Origin Rosemary Short film
Selma Diane Nash
2015 Creed Bianca Taylor Also songwriter
2016 War on Everyone Jackie Hollis
Salt Water Brit
2017 South Dakota Chris
Thor: Ragnarok Valkyrie / Scrapper 142
2018 Sorry to Bother You Detroit
Annihilation Josie Radek
Furlough Nicole Stevens
Little Woods Ollie
Dirty Computer Zen / Mary Apple 23 Short film
Creed II Bianca Taylor
2019 Brave Girl Rising Nasro (voice) Short film
Avengers: Endgame Valkyrie
Men in Black: International Molly Wright / Agent M
Between Two Ferns: The Movie Herself
Lady and the Tramp Lady (voice)
2020 Sylvie's Love Sylvie Post-production [33]
TBA Passing Irene Redfield Post-production [34]


Year Title Role Notes
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[35]
The Initiation of Sarah Esme Television film
2007 Hidden Palms Nikki Barnes Main role (7 episodes)
2008 Life Liza Episode: "Trapdoor"
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"
2010 Betwixt Jenny Television film
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"

Music videos

Year Song Artist Role Ref.
2015 "Yoga" Janelle Monáe Dancer
2017 "Moonlight" Jay-Z Monica Geller
2018 "Make Me Feel" Janelle Monáe Zen / Mary Apple 53
2019 "Screwed"
"Uneventful Days" Beck

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
2009 American Black Film Festival Best Actor Mississippi Damned Won [39]
2011 Black Reel Awards Best Breakthrough Performance For Colored Girls Won [40]
2014 Gotham Awards Breakthrough Actor Dear White People Won [41]
African-American Film Critics Association Breakthrough Performance Won [42]
2015 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated [43]
Black Reel Awards Best Actress Nominated [44]
Hamptons International Film Festival Breakthrough Performer Selma Won [42]
African-American Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Creed Won [45]
2016 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Nominated [46]
Black Reel Awards Best Supporting Actress Won [42]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Drama Nominated [47]
2018 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Thor: Ragnarok Nominated [42]
BAFTA Awards Rising Star Nominated [48]
Black Reel Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated [42]
Empire Awards Best Female Newcomer Nominated [42]
Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated [49]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Sci-Fi Nominated [50]
2019 Teen Choice Awards Choice Action Movie Actress Men in Black: International Nominated [51]


  1. ^ a b "Tessa Thompson". TVGuide.com. Archived from the original on September 8, 2016.
  2. ^ a b 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 2015.
  3. ^ "Tessa Thompson Shares How Her Mexican Mother Helped Her Take Pride In Her Blackness: 'She Wanted Me To Be Brave'". Essence.
  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 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 2015.
  6. ^ "'Smart People': Theater Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ Stasio, Marilyn; Stasio, Marilyn (February 12, 2016). "Off Broadway Review: 'Smart People' with Joshua Jackson". Variety. Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ "Tessa Thompson on Race, Hollywood, and Her Impending Stardom". The Cut. Retrieved 2019.
  9. ^ Bellafante, Ginia (May 30, 2007). "Pretty Faces With Plenty of Troubles, and Secrets". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ Lowry, Brian (May 25, 2007). "Hidden Palms". Variety. Retrieved 2019.
  11. ^ "BBC - BBC America's first original drama, Copper, to premiere August 19 - Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2018.
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; Andreeva, Nellie (September 18, 2015). "HBO Drama 'Westworld' Adds Tessa Thompson As Series Regular". Deadline. Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ Robinson, Joanna (November 30, 2016). "Is Westworld Hiding One Last Maddening Twist?". HWD. Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ Grigg-Spall, Holly (n.d.). "Tessa Thompson". IssueMagazine.com. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  15. ^ Ruess, Nate. "The Grand Romantic Chapter 1 debut". Apple Music Connect.
  16. ^ 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 2016.
  17. ^ 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 2017.
  18. ^ Busch, Anita (June 15, 2017). "Tessa Thompson, Lakeith Stanfield, Steven Yeun To Star In 'Sorry To Bother You'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2018.
  19. ^ Blistein, Jon (May 17, 2018). "Watch Lakeith Stanfield Make Millions With 'White Voice' in Wild 'Sorry to Bother You' Trailer". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018.
  20. ^ Kroll, Justin (December 11, 2017). "Steven Caple Jr. to Direct 'Creed 2' Starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2018.
  21. ^ Kit, Borys (March 21, 2018). "Tessa Thompson to Join Chris Hemsworth in 'Men in Black' Spinoff (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018.
  22. ^ Chitwood, Adam (December 5, 2018). "The 'Men in Black' Reboot Is Titled 'Men in Black International'". Collider. Retrieved 2018.
  23. ^ Galuppo, Mia (July 20, 2019). "'Thor' Star Tessa Thompson Teases Valkyrie as Marvel's First LGBTQ Superhero". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019.
  24. ^ "'Dear White People' Star Tessa Thompson Spills About Her Secret Music Career". Billboard. Retrieved 2018.
  25. ^ Lifeminute (December 3, 2013), Caught a Ghost Talk Tour and Upcoming Album Human Nature, retrieved 2018
  26. ^ "Tessa Thompson and Jesse Nolan Make Music Magic in Caught A Ghost". ELLE. January 20, 2014. Retrieved 2018.
  27. ^ Brayson, Johnny. "Watch Tessa Thompson Explain Her Inspiration For The Songs She Wrote For 'Creed 2'". Bustle. Retrieved 2018.
  28. ^ Lee, Chris. "How Rihanna Inspired Tessa Thompson's Creed II Character". Vulture. Retrieved 2018.
  29. ^ Zsela Thompson Music by Dalya Benor, New York Times, April 26, 2019.
  30. ^ Mulkerrins, Jane (June 29, 2018), "Break the Mold, with Tessa Thompson", Net-A-Porter, retrieved 2019; Sharf, Zack (June 29, 2018), "Tessa Thompson Comes Out, Says She and Janelle Monae Wrestle With Privacy vs. Visibility", IndieWire.
  31. ^ Pollard, Alexandra (November 30, 2018). "Tessa Thompson interview: 'Men should have the responsibility to deal with their toxicity'". The Independent.
  32. ^ "Rosario Dawson and Tessa Thompson Know Bernie Sanders Is "the Feminist in This Race"". Elle. April 1, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  33. ^ Bitran, Tara (February 22, 2019). "Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha to Star in Period Drama 'Sylvie'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  34. ^ Rebecca Hall To Make Directorial Debut With 'Passing'; Tessa Thompson & Ruth Negga Star In Adaptation Of 1920s Novel
  35. ^ Mitchell, Amanda (September 6, 2018). "34 Actors You Forgot Appeared on 'Grey's Anatomy'". Marie Claire. Retrieved 2019.
  36. ^ Framke, Caroline (April 10, 2018). "Janelle Monáe doubles down on feminist self-love with her new music video for "Pynk"". Vox. Retrieved 2018.
  37. ^ Framke, Caroline (August 4, 2017). "The video for Jay-Z's "Moonlight" is an all-black Friends remake -- until it's not". Vox. Retrieved 2018.
  38. ^ Grierson, Tim (April 27, 2018). "Why Janelle Monae's 'Dirty Computer' Film Is a Timely New Sci-Fi Masterpiece". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018.
  39. ^ "2009 Winners". American Black Film Festival. Archived from the original on February 7, 2017. Retrieved 2016.
  40. ^ "Winners > 2011". Black Reel Awards. February 12, 2009. Archived from the original on January 14, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  41. ^ "2014 Gotham Awards: Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 27, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  42. ^ a b c d e f "Tessa Thompson - Awards - IMDb". Retrieved 2018.
  43. ^ "NAACP Image Awards 2015: Full list of nominees and winners". Los Angeles Times. February 6, 2015. Archived from the original on December 23, 2016.
  44. ^ "And The Nominees Are..." [15th Annual] Black Reel Awards. December 17, 2014. Archived from the original on March 27, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  45. ^ "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 2016.
  46. ^ "2016 Image Award Winners". Variety. February 6, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  47. ^ Goodman, Jessica (July 31, 2016). "Teen Choice Awards 2016: See the full list of winners". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved 2017.
  48. ^ "Bafta Film Awards 2018: All the winners". BBC News. February 18, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  49. ^ "Here Are The 44th Annual Saturn Awards Nominations". Blending Cool. March 15, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  50. ^ Cohen, Jess (June 13, 2018). "Teen Choice Awards 2018: Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther and Riverdale Among Top Nominees". E! News. Retrieved 2018.
  51. ^ Moreau, Jordan (June 19, 2019). "'Avengers: Endgame,' 'Riverdale,' 'Aladdin' Top 2019 Teen Choice Award Nominations". Variety. Retrieved 2019.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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