Actress Tessa Lynne Thompson was born on October 3rd, 1983, in Los Angeles, California, in the midst of a musically-inclined family. Tessa is the daughter of singer and songwriter, Marc Anthony Thompson, who is also founder of the NY-based musical collective Chocolate Genius, Inc, and is the big half-sister of singer Zsela. Tessa herself was part of an indie band, called Caught a Ghost, and she has contributed songs to movies in which she has also acted.
Although Tessa went to college to study cultural anthropology, she was also invested in acting, since she had been performing in school plays throughout her high school years. Tessa’s first professional acting steps happened in the theater world, when she was cast in 2002 in a production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Shortly after came her first television role, when she appeared on an episode of crime drama series Cold Case in 2005. That same year, she was cast as a series regular on popular mystery drama show, Veronica Mars. From 2006 to 2009, Thompson went on to have guest appearances on several TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Heroes and Rivers, and also landed leading roles in shows Hidden Palms (2009) and Copper (2013.)
While her television career was on the rise, so did Tessa’s big screen appearances. In 2006, she made her debut in the psychological thriller When a Stranger Calls, as part of the main cast ensemble. Her following films also fell under the drama or horror genre, for example, drama films The Human Contract (2008) and Mississippi Damned (2009), and horror movies Exquisite Corpse (2010) or Murder on the 13th Floor (2012.) In 2014, Thompson was part of the commercially and critically successful movie, Dear White People, followed in 2015 by Creed, a spin-off movie within the Rocky universe. While already a known name in the industry, the Creed movies (Tessa reprised her role in the 2018 sequel) brought her mainstream attention.
In 2016, Tessa rose to international fame when she was cast in HBO’s science fiction drama Westworld as part of the main cast and also joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Thor movies, later appearing in the Avengers franchise. In 2019, Thompson got a role in yet another well-known franchise, Men in Black: International, reuniting with her Thor co-star, Chris Hemsworth. Expanding her acting talents, she dipped into voice acting and lent her voice to the female titular character in Disney’s live action film Lady and the Tramp (2019.) She returned to thriller and horror movies in 2018’s Little Woods and Annihilation.
Thompson played the lead role in romantic drama Sylvie’s Love (2020) and later earned her first BAFTA award nomination for her performance in the period film Passing (2021.) After returning for the fourth installment of the Thor franchise in 2022, Tessa continues to star in Westworld as part of the main cast and is set to appear in Creed III, premiering in 2023.