Lea Thompson life and biography

Lea Thompson picture, image, poster

Lea Thompson biography

Date of birth : 1961-05-31
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-05-10
Credited as : Film actress and director, Jaws 3-D, The wild life

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Lea Katherine Thompson (born May 31, 1961) is an American actress and director. She is best known for her 1990s NBC situation comedy Caroline in the City and her portrayal of Marty McFly's mother in the Back to the Future trilogy.

Thompson was born in Rochester, Minnesota, the daughter of Barbara, a singer and musician, and Cliff Thompson. She studied ballet as a girl and would practice three to four hours every day. She was dancing professionally by the age of 14. She won scholarships to several ballet schools, including the American Ballet Theatre, the San Francisco Ballet and the Pennsylvania Ballet. Thompson danced in more than 45 ballets with the American Ballet Theatre. She also danced with the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Minnesota Dance Theatre and the Ballet Repertory.

Thompson was told by ballet legend and then ABT artistic director Mikhail Baryshnikov that she was "a beautiful dancer, but too stocky." Due to this (as well as some small nagging past injuries), she decided to give up dancing in favor of an acting career. She moved to New York at age 20 and performed in a number of Burger King advertisements in the 1980s along with Elisabeth Shue, her eventual co-star in Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III.


Thompson's first significant film roles came in 1983, with Jaws 3-D and All the Right Moves (the latter opposite Tom Cruise). That was followed by Red Dawn (1984) and The Wild Life (1984). Her most famous role was that of Lorraine Baines McFly in the Back to the Future trilogy, the first of the three films being released in 1985. Thompson's character is the mother of Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox.

In 1986, Thompson starred in SpaceCamp and Howard the Duck. For the latter film, she sang several songs on the soundtrack, in character, as musician Beverley Switzer, who was the lead vocalist for a band called "Cherry Bomb." The recordings appeared on both the soundtrack album and on singles. Rounding out film appearances in the late 1980s, Thompson starred in Some Kind of Wonderful, Casual Sex?, Going Undercover and The Wizard of Loneliness. She also had a prominent role in the 1989 TV movie Nightbreaker, for which she was nominated for a CableACE Award. In the early 1990s, Thompson starred in Dennis the Menace (1993), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993) and The Little Rascals (1994). She also appeared in several TV movies throughout the 90s, such as The Substitute Wife (1994), The Unspoken Truth (1995) and The Right To Remain Silent (1996).

Thompson found moderate critical and popular success as the star of the NBC sitcom Caroline in the City, from 1995-1999. In 1996, Thompson received a People's Choice Award for "Favorite Female Performer in a New TV Series".

After a break from acting, Thompson went on to star in several Broadway plays. She later appeared in a TV series called For The People, which only lasted one season. Then came a TV movie, Stealing Christmas (2003), starring Tony Danza and Betty White. Thompson also appeared in several episodes of the dramedy series Ed and in a guest role for one episode in 2004 on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; she played a woman whose embryos were stolen.

In 2005, Thompson began a series of made-for-TV movies for the Hallmark Channel, in which she plays "Jane Doe," an ex-secret agent turned housewife, who helps the government solve mysteries. Thompson directed two films from the Jane Doe series - Jane Doe: The Harder They Fall and Jane Doe: Eye of the Beholder. She is currently attached to direct the feature film The Swingin' Sounds of Jack Amsterdam, which is set to be released in 2010.

Thompson was a featured singer on Celebrity Duets and the second contestant eliminated in 2006.

In April 2007, another TV movie, A Life Interrupted, premiered on Lifetime Television. It concerns a rape survivor, who overcomes her debilitating fear by working to get funding to get the terrible backlog of rape kits processed, so that other women will not have to suffer for years as she did.

Thompson guest-starred on the show Head Case in January 2008. She appeared in the TV movie Final Approach, which debuted in the U.S. on May 24, 2008. Her recent film credits include Exit Speed and Spy School. She recently starred in the television movie The Christmas Clause, which received good reviews and ratings.[citation needed] She is also starring in the new films Splinterheads and Prettyface. She just filmed the movie I Was a 7th Grade Dragon Slayer. She is set to star in the potential television series A Town Called Malice.

Personal life

Thompson has been married to film director Howard Deutch since 1989, whom she first met on the set of Some Kind of Wonderful. Thompson had previously been engaged to Dennis Quaid, her Jaws 3-D co-star.

Thompson and Deutch have two daughters, Madeline (born 1991) and Zoey (born 1995), with whom she sang on stage in the Bye Bye Birdie production for the 16th annual Alzheimer's Association "A Night at Sardi's" in March 2008. Thompson has stated that her career break to raise her children has helped with her subsequent portrayal of soccer mom Kathy Davis/Jane Doe.

Thompson has a brother Andrew and two sisters: Colleen, a writer; and Shannon Katona.


* Jaws 3-D (1983) - Kelly Ann Bukowski
* All the Right Moves (1983) - Lisa Litski
* Red Dawn (1984) - Erica Mason
* The Wild Life (1984) - Anita
* Back to the Future (1985) - Lorraine Baines McFly
* SpaceCamp (1986) - Kathryn Fairly
* Howard the Duck (1986) - Beverly Switzler
* Some Kind of Wonderful (1987) - Amanda Jones
* Casual Sex? (1988) - Stacey
* Back to the Future Part II (1989) - Lorraine Baines/McFly/Tannen
* Back to the Future Part III (1990) - Maggie McFly/Lorraine McFly
* Article 99 (1992) - Dr. Robin Van Dorn
* Dennis the Menace (1993) - Alice Mitchell
* The Beverly Hillbillies (1993) - Laura Jackson
* The Little Rascals (1994) - Ms. Roberts
* The Unknown Cyclist (1998) - Melissa Cavatelli
* Fish Don't Blink (2002) - Clara
* Haunted Lighthouse (Short) (2003) - Peg Van Legge
* Come Away Home (2005) - Carol
* 10 Tricks (2006) - Grace
* California Dreaming (2007) - Ginger Gainor
* Senior Skip Day (2008) - Cathleen Harris
* Spy School (2008) - Claire Miller
* Exit Speed (2008) - Maudie McMinn
* The Check (short) (2009) - Darla
* Balancing the Books (2009) - Rebecca
* Splinterheads (2009) - Susan Frost
* Rock Slyde (2009) - Master Bartologist
* PrettyFace (2010) - Mary Penny
* Adventures of a Teenage Dragonslayer (2010) - Laura


* Tales from the Crypt (TV series, one episode, 1989) "Only Sin Deep" - Sylvia Vane
* Montana (TV movie, 1990) - Peg Guthrie
* Stolen Babies (TV movie, 1993) - Annie Beales
* The Substitute Wife (TV movie, 1994) - Amy Hightower
* The Unspoken Truth (TV movie, 1995) - Brianne Hawkins
* Friends (TV series, one episode, 1995) "The One with the Baby on the Bus" - Caroline Duffy
* The Right To Remain Silent (TV movie, 1996) - Christine Paley
* A Will of Their Own (TV mini-series, 1998) - Amanda Steward
* Caroline in the City (TV series, 97 episodes, 1995-99) - Caroline Duffy
* For The People (TV series, 2002-03) - Chief Dep. Dist. Atty. Camille Paris
* Stealing Christmas (TV movie, 2003) - Sarah Gibson
* Ed (TV series, three episodes, 2004) - "Pressure Points," "Hidden Agendas," "Back in the Saddle" - Liz Stevens
* Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (TV series, one episode, 2004) "Birthright" - Michelle Osborne
* Jane Doe: Vanishing Act (TV movie, 2005) - Cathy Davis/Jane Doe
* Jane Doe: Now You See it, Now You Don't (TV movie, 2005) - Cathy Davis/Jane Doe
* Jane Doe: Til Death Do Us Part (TV movie, 2005) - Cathy Davis/Jane Doe
* Jane Doe: The Wrong Face (TV movie, 2005) - Cathy Davis/Jane Doe
* Jane Doe: Yes, I Remember It Well (TV movie, 2006) - Cathy Davis/Jane Doe
* Jane Doe: The Harder They Fall (TV movie, 2006) - Cathy Davis/Jane Doe
* Jane Doe: Ties That Bind (TV movie, 2007) - Cathy Davis/Jane Doe
* Jane Doe: How to Fire Your Boss (TV movie, 2007) - Cathy Davis/Jane Doe
* A Life Interrupted (TV movie, 2007) - Debbie Smith
* Jane Doe: Eye of the Beholder (TV movie, 2008) - Cathy Davis/Jane Doe
* Final Approach (TV movie, 2008) - Alicia Bender
* The Christmas Clause (TV movie, 2008) - Sophie Kelly
* A Town Called Malice Television Series- Date Unknown
* Greek (TV series) April (Cappie's Mom)


* I Love My Wife, Reprise Theatre
* Bus Stop, Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena, CA, c. 1990
* Sally Bowles, Cabaret, Roundabout Theatre Company, Studio 54 Theatre, New York City, 2000
* The Vagina Monologues, Canon Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA, 2001
* They're Playing Our Song (musical; staged reading), L.A. Reprise!, Los Angeles, 2002
* Charlie Bacon's Family, John Drew Theater, East Hampton, NY; The Illusion, Los Angeles *Theatre Center, Los Angeles; LongTime Coming, Powerhouse Theatre; and The Trip Back Down, Actors Repertory Theatre.


* The Swingin' Sounds of Jack Amsterdam (2010)
* Jane Doe: Eye of the Beholder (2008) (TV)
* Jane Doe: The Harder They Fall (2006) (TV)

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