Tessa Thompson

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Tessa Thompson
Tessa Thompson - DSC 0109.jpg
Thompson at the 46th NAACP Image Awards Nominee Press Conference
Born Tessa Lynne Thompson
(1983-10-03) October 3, 1983 (age 31)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 2005–present

Tessa Lynne Thompson[1] (born October 3, 1983) is an American actress. She played Jackie Cook on the television noir Veronica Mars, Nyla Adrose in the film For Colored Girls, and civil rights activist Diane Nash in Selma, and starred as Samantha White in Dear White People.

Early life[edit]

Thompson was born in Los Angeles, California. She made her stage debut in a fifth grade play, starring as a tap dancing wolf, opposite Amber Tamblyn. She attended Santa Monica High School and was in many high school theatre productions. Thompson is the daughter of singer/songwriter Marc Anthony Thompson of the New York-based band Chocolate Genius, Inc.[citation needed]



Thompson, who started in Los Angeles professional theater, may be best known for her role as Jackie Cook on the UPN/CW neo-noir drama series Veronica Mars, starring as a series regular for the show's second season. Additional television appearances include a guest spot on the Cold Case episode "Best Friends" as Wilhemenia "Billie" Ducette, and as Dr. Richard Webber's niece, Camille, 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 most recently 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.


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, and did two other films that year:The Human Contract and Periphery. In 2009, Thompson appeared in Red & Blue Marbles and Mississippi Damned.

She appeared in Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls in 2010, followed by Justin Simien's 2014 independent film Dear White People. Most recently, she portrayed civil rights activist Diane Nash in Selma, released in 2014.


Thompson was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for her stage performance as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet: Antebellum New Orleans 1836 with The Theatre at Boston Court in Pasadena, California which was her professional debut and her first professional Shakespeare production. Subsequently, she has appeared in many more plays in Los Angeles.[citation needed]


Thompson worked with songwriter and producer Jesse Nolan and Stephen Edelstein titled Caught A Ghost. She is listed in the bio page of the band's website as providing "sultry vocals and percussions". The band's sound is explained on their website to "feature elements of classic Motown and stax volt compositions with influences from dubstep, 90s rap, and contemporary electronica".[2]



Year Title Role Notes
2006 When a Stranger Calls Scarlet
2008 Make It Happen Dana
2008 Human Contract, TheThe Human Contract Waitress
2009 Mississippi Damned Kari Peterson
2010 Everyday Black Man Claire
2010 Exquisite Corpse Liz
2010 For Colored Girls Nyla Adrose
2011 Periphery Caitlin
2011 Red & Blue Marbles Becca
2012 Murder on the 13th Floor Nia Palmer
2013 Automotive Maggie
2013 South Dakota Chris
2013 Grantham & Rose Wallis Completed
2014 Dear White People Samantha White African American Film Critics Association for Best Breakout Performance
Gotham Awards for Breakthrough Actor
Nominated - NAACP Image Awards for Best Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated - Black Reel Award for Best Actress
2014 Selma Diane Nash
2015 Creed Filming
2016 War on Everyone Filming
???? Prop Is the Girl, TheThe Prop Is the Girl Brit Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Cold Case Wilhemina "Billie" Doucette Episode: "Best Friends"
2005–2006 Veronica Mars Jackie Cook Regular role (22 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 TV film
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 Episodes: "Hysterical Blindness", "Strange Attractors", "Shadowboxing"
2009 Three Rivers Penelope Kirkell Episode: "A Roll of the Dice"
2010 Betwixt Jenny TV film
2010 Blue Belle Blue Lead role (5 episodes)
2010–2011 Detroit 1-8-7 Lauren Washington Episodes: "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)

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Won- 2011 Black Reel Award for Outstanding Breakthrough Performance for For Colored Girls
  • Won- 2011 Black Reel Award for For Colored Girls


  1. ^ According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. At Ancestry.com
  2. ^ "Caught a Ghost". Windish Agency. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 

External links[edit]