Thompson at the 46th NAACP Image Awards Nominee Press Conference
|Born||Tessa Lynne Thompson
October 3, 1983
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Tessa Lynne Thompson (born October 3, 1983) is an American actress and musician. 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.
Thompson was born in Los Angeles, California. She grew up in Los Angeles while spending summers and winters in New York, where her father, singer/songwriter Marc Anthony Thompson of the band Chocolate Genius, Inc., is based. She attended Santa Monica High School and then Santa Monica College, where she studied cultural anthropology.
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 at Boston Court, which earned her an NAACP Theatre Award nomination.
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 on 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. 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.
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. In 2014, she starred in Justin Simien's Sundance winner Dear White People, and 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 spin-off film Creed.
|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||For Colored Girls||Nyla Adrose|
|2011||Red & Blue Marbles||Becca|
|2012||Murder on the 13th Floor||Nia Palmer|
|2014||Grantham & Rose||Wallis|
|2014||Dear White People||Samantha White|
|2016||War on Everyone||Filming|
|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)|
|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||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)|
|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|
|2014||Georgia Film Critics Association Awards||Breakthrough Award||Nominated|
|2014||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture||Dear White People||Nominated|
|2014||Black Reel Awards||Best Actress||Dear White People||Nominated|
- 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
- Kai (May 5, 2014). "[EXCLUSIVE] Tessa Thompson on varied dreams and effecting change". Embrace You Magazine. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- Behrens, Deborah (July 11, 2012). "Tessa Thompson Returns to Shakespeare as Rosalind". @ This Stage (LA Stage Alliance). Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- Zakarin, Jordan (December 30, 2014). "Tessa Thompson on 'Selma,' 'Dear White People,' and Her Breakthrough Year". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- Grigg-Spall, Holly (March 24, 2015). "Tessa Thompson". Issue. Retrieved July 21, 2015.