Lea Thompson at the Paramount Theater in February 2015
|Born||Lea Katherine Thompson
(1961-05-31) May 31, 1961
Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Howard Deutch (m. 1989)|
|Children||Zoey and Madelyn Deutch|
Lea Katherine Thompson (born May 31, 1961) is an American actress, television director, and television producer. She is best known for her role as Lorraine Baines in the Back to the Future trilogy and as the title character in the 1990s NBC sitcom Caroline in the City. Other films for which she is known include All the Right Moves, The Beverly Hillbillies, Howard the Duck, Jaws 3-D, Red Dawn, and Some Kind of Wonderful. Since 2011, she has co-starred as Kathryn Kennish in the FreeForm (formerly known as ABC Family) series Switched at Birth.
Life and career
She studied ballet as a girl and danced professionally by the age of 14, winning scholarships to the American Ballet Theatre, the San Francisco Ballet, and the Pennsylvania Ballet. Told she did not have the right body to become a prima ballerina by Mikhail Baryshnikov himself, she changed her focus to acting. Moving to New York at age 20, she performed in a number of Burger King advertisements in the 1980s along with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Elisabeth Shue, her eventual co-star in Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III.
Thompson made her home-media screen debut in 1982 as Cecily “Sissy” Loper in the interactive live-action video game “MysteryDisc: Murder, Anyone?” and her movie significant debut in 1983, with Jaws 3-D. She recalled the film as “the very first movie I ever got, but I lied and said I had done a couple of other movies, so when I showed up, I really knew absolutely nothing. Also, I had said that I knew how to water-ski. And I did not. So I had, like, five days to learn really, really complicated water-skiing things, because I had to fit into the Sea World water-skiing show. I don’t even know how to swim!” She followed this with All the Right Moves (1983), Red Dawn (1984), and The Wild Life (1984).
Thompson’s most famous role is that of Lorraine Baines McFly in the Back to the Future trilogy, with the first film released in 1985. Thompson’s character is the mother of Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, whom Marty meets when she is a 1950s adolescent age after he travels back in time: he has to avoid having Lorraine fall in love with him instead of with his future father, George (Crispin Glover), which leads to awkward scenes where Lorraine is attracted to him.
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 Beverly Switzler, who was the lead vocalist for a band called Cherry Bomb. The recordings appeared on the soundtrack album and on singles. Rounding out film appearances in the late 1980s, Thompson starred in Some Kind of Wonderful, Casual Sex?, and The Wizard of Loneliness. She also had a prominent role in the 1989 TV film Nightbreaker, for which she was nominated for a CableACE Award. In the early 1990s, Thompson starred as the mother of the eponymous character in Dennis the Menace (1993), the villainess in The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), and a snooty ballet instructor in The Little Rascals (1994). She also appeared in several TV films throughout the 1990s, including The Substitute Wife (1994) 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 to 1999. In 1996, Thompson received a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Female Performer in a New TV Series, while her show won for Favorite New TV Comedy Series. Thompson also starred in a A Will of their Own, a 1998 American television mini-series directed by Karen Arthur. The film follows six generations of females within one family, and their struggle for power and independence in America. The film debuted on October 18, 1998 on the NBC network to strong critical reviews.
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. She then starred in a TV film, 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 films 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.
Thompson was a featured singer on Celebrity Duets and the second contestant eliminated in 2006. In April 2007 she starred in another TV film, A Life Interrupted, which premiered on Lifetime television.
Thompson guest-starred on the show Head Case in January 2008. She appeared in the TV film Final Approach, which debuted in the U.S. on May 24, 2008. Her film credits include Exit Speed, Spy School, Splinterheads, and Adventures of a Teenage Dragon Slayer. She starred in the television movie The Christmas Clause, which received good reviews and ratings.
Thompson stars in Mystery Case Files: Shadow Lake, an adventure game released in November 2012 by Big Fish Games. Thompson’s daughter Madeline Deutch plays as a paranormal television-series host in it.
Since 2011, Thompson has starred in the ABC Family series Switched at Birth, about a family realizing their 16-year-old daughter is not biologically theirs and was switched with another baby at the hospital.
In 2014, Thompson was a competitor on Dancing with the Stars: season 19. She was paired with professional dancer Artem Chigvintsev. The couple was eliminated in the quarterfinals, finishing sixth place. She also played Irene Steele in Left Behind.
Thompson and Deutch have two daughters, Madelyn and Zoey, 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. Both daughters are actresses.
Lea Thompson filmography
|Lea Thompson filmography|
Thompson at the 2009 NOH8 campaign
|1982||MysteryDisc: Murder, Anyone?||Cecily ‘Sissy’ Loper||Video/debut|
|1983||Jaws 3-D||Kelly Ann Bukowski|
|All the Right Moves||Lisa Lietzke|
|1984||Red Dawn||Erica Mason|
|Wild Life, TheThe Wild Life||Anita|
|1985||Back to the Future||Lorraine Baines McFly|
|Howard the Duck||Beverly Switzler|
|1987||Some Kind of Wonderful||Amanda Jones|
|Yellow Pages||Marigold de la Hunt||AKA Going Undercover|
|Wizard of Loneliness, TheThe Wizard of Loneliness||Sybil|
|1989||Back to the Future Part II||Lorraine McFly|
|1990||Back to the Future Part III||Maggie/Lorraine McFly|
|1992||Article 99||Dr. Robin Van Dorn|
|1993||Stolen Babies||Annie Beales|
|Dennis the Menace||Mrs. Alice Mitchell|
|Beverly Hillbillies, TheThe Beverly Hillbillies||Laura Jackson|
|1994||Little Rascals, TheThe Little Rascals||Ms. Roberts|
|1998||Unknown Cyclist, TheThe Unknown Cyclist||Melissa Cavatelli||AKA 4 for the Road|
|2002||Fish Don’t Blink||Clara|
|2003||Haunted Lighthouse||Peg Van Legge||Short film|
|2005||Come Away Home||Carol|
|2007||California Dreaming||Ginger Gainor||AKA Out of Omaha|
|2008||Spy School||Claire Miller||AKA Doubting Thomas|
|Senior Skip Day||Cathleen Harris||Video, DVD title: High School’s Day Off|
|Exit Speed||Maudie McMinn|
|2009||Fatal Secrets||Rebecca||AKA Balancing the Books, also associate producer|
|Check, TheThe Check||Darla||Short film, ACME Comedy|
|Rock Slyde||Master Bartologist||DVD title: Rock Slyde: Private Eye|
|2010||Adventures of a Teenage Dragon Slayer||Laura||AKA I Was a 7th Grade Dragon Slayer|
|Pork Chop Night||—||Short, associate producer|
|2011||Thin Ice||Jo Ann Prohaska||AKA The Convincer|
|Mayor Cupcake||Mary Maroni||Also executive producer|
|The Trouble with the Truth||Emily||Also producer|
|J. Edgar||Lela Rogers|
|2014||Ping Pong Summer||Crandall Miracle|
|Left Behind||Irene Steele|
|2015||The Wrong Side of Right||Liz||In post-production|
2016 THE YEAR OF THE SPECTACULAR MAN
2017 LITERALLY RIGHT BEFORE AaRON DEB
|1989||Nightbreaker||Sally Matthews||AKA Advance to Ground Zero, TV film|
|1989||Tales from the Crypt||Sylvia Vane||Episode: “Only Sin Deep“|
|1990||Montana||Peg Guthrie||TV film|
|1993||Stolen Babies||Annie Beales||AKA Stolen Children, TV film|
|1994||Substitute Wife, TheThe Substitute Wife||Amy Hightower||AKA The Substitute, TV film|
|1995||Unspoken Truth, TheThe Unspoken Truth||Brianne Hawkins||AKA Living the Lie, TV film|
|1995||Friends||Caroline Duffy||Episode: “The One with the Baby on the Bus“, uncredited|
|1995–99||Caroline in the City||Caroline Duffy||97 episodes, also producer on 22 episodes|
|1996||Right to Remain Silent, TheThe Right to Remain Silent||Christine Paley||TV film|
|1998||Will of their Own, AA Will of their Own||Amanda Steward||AKA Daughters of the New World, pilot episode|
|2002||Electric||Geri Meyers||Also producer|
|2002–03||For the People||Chief Dep. Dist. Atty. Camille Paris||18 episodes|
|2003||Stealing Christmas||Sarah Gibson||TV film|
|2004||Ed||Liz Stevens||3 episodes|
|2004||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Michelle Osborne||Episode: “Birthright“|
|2005||Jane Doe: Vanishing Act||Cathy Davis||Jane Doe TV anthology|
|2005||Jane Doe: Now You See It, Now You Don’t||Cathy Davis||Jane Doe TV anthology|
|2005||Jane Doe: Til Death Do Us Part||Cathy Davis||Jane Doe TV anthology|
|2005||Jane Doe: The Wrong Face||Cathy Davis||Jane Doe TV anthology|
|2006||Jane Doe: Yes, I Remember It Well||Cathy Davis||Jane Doe TV anthology|
|2006||Jane Doe: The Harder They Fall||Cathy Davis||Jane Doe TV anthology, also director|
|2007||Jane Doe: Ties That Bind||Cathy Davis/Jane Doe||AKA Jane Doe: Shaken & Stirred, Jane Doe TV anthology|
|2007||Life Interrupted, AA Life Interrupted||Debbie Smith||AKA The Debbie Smith Story, TV film|
|2007||Jane Doe: How to Fire Your Boss||Cathy Davis||Jane Doe TV anthology, video|
|2007||Final Approach||Alicia Bender||AKA Highjack, TV film|
|2008||Jane Doe: Eye of the Beholder||Cathy Davis/Jane Doe||Also director|
|2008||Head Case||Herself||Also writer on episode: “El Finks“|
|2008||Christmas Clause, TheThe Christmas Clause||Sophie||AKA The Mrs. Clause, TV film|
|2010||Greek||April||Episode: “Camp Buy Me Love“|
|2010||Uncle Nigel||Abby Wells||TV film|
|2011||Robot Chicken||Lorraine Baines||Episode: “Major League of Extraordinary Gentlemen“, voice|
|2011||Cabin, TheThe Cabin||Lily MacDougall||TV film|
|2011||Game of Your Life||Abbie||TV film|
|2011–present||Switched at Birth||Kathryn Kennish||73 episodes, also director on 2 episodes|
|2012||Love at the Christmas Table||Elissa Beth Dixon||AKA It’s a Wonderful Lifetime, TV film|
|2013||Call Me Crazy: A Five Film||Julia||AKA Five More|
|2013||Family Guy||Lorraine McFly||Voice, episode: “Finders Keepers“|
|2013||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Jennifer Rhodes||Episode: “Under a Cloud“|
|2014||My Mother’s Future Husband||Rene|
|2014–present||Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero||Vonnie Zero||Voice, recurring role|
|2014||A to Z||Herself||Episode: “‘A’ is for Acquaintances”|
|2015||The Muppets||Herself||Episode: 2|
|2016||Whose Line is it Anyway?||Herself||Episode: 15|
|2016||Scorpion||Veronica Dineen||Episode: “Mother Load”|
|2008||CR: Back to the Future||Lorraine Baines||Voice|
|2012||Mystery Case Files: Shadow Lake||Cassandra Williams||Voice|
Awards and nominations
|1985||Saturn Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Back to the Future||Nominated|
|1987||Young Artist Awards||Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama||Some Kind of Wonderful||Won|
|1990||Kids’ Choice Awards||Favorite Movie Actress||Back to the Future Part II||Won|
|1995||People’s Choice Awards||Favorite Female Performer in a New TV Series||Caroline in the City||Won|
|1996||Satellite Awards||Best Actress in a TV Series – Musical or Comedy||Caroline in the City||Nominated|
|1997||OFTA Awards||Best Actress in a Comedy Series||Caroline in the City||Nominated|
|2014||American Movie Awards||Best Actress||The Trouble with the Truth||Won|