Lea Thompson

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Lea Thompson
Lea Thompson by Gregg Bond (2008).jpg
Thompson at the May 2008 Collectormania 13 Convention in Milton Keynes, England, U.K.
BornLea Kathleen Thompson
(1961-05-31) May 31, 1961 (age 52)
Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.
OccupationActress, television director, television producer
Years active1982–present
Spouse(s)Howard Deutch (m. 1989)
ChildrenMadeline Deutch
Zoey Deutch
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Lea Thompson
Lea Thompson by Gregg Bond (2008).jpg
Thompson at the May 2008 Collectormania 13 Convention in Milton Keynes, England, U.K.
BornLea Kathleen Thompson
(1961-05-31) May 31, 1961 (age 52)
Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.
OccupationActress, television director, television producer
Years active1982–present
Spouse(s)Howard Deutch (m. 1989)
ChildrenMadeline Deutch
Zoey Deutch

Lea Kathleen Thompson[1] (born May 31, 1961) is an American actress, television director and television producer. She is 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 she is known for 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 ABC Family series Switched at Birth.

Early life[edit]

Thompson was born in Rochester, Minnesota, the daughter of Barbara Anne (née Barry), a singer and musician, and Clifford Elwin "Cliff" Thompson. She studied ballet as a girl and practiced three to four hours every day. She was dancing professionally by the age of 14.[2] 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. Her brother Andrew also took ballet classes and went on to become a professional.

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 Sarah Michelle Gellar and Elisabeth Shue, her eventual co-star in Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III.[2][3]


Thompson's first significant film roles came in 1983, with Jaws 3-D and All the Right Moves (the latter opposite Tom Cruise). These were followed by Red Dawn (1984) and The Wild Life (1984). In a 2008 interview, she explained that she learned tactics and how to shoot and field strip Soviet weapons for the film Red Dawn.

Thompson's most famous role was that of Lorraine Baines McFly in the Back to the Future trilogy, the first film released in 1985. Thompson's character is the mother of Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, whom Marty meets at an 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 some awkward scenes when Lorraine is clearly 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 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 film 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 film throughout the 1990s, including 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 to 1999. In 1996, Thompson received a People's Choice Award for "Favorite Female Performer in a New TV Series".[4]

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.[5] 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. She stars in the new films Splinterheads and Prettyface, and recently filmed the movie Adventures of a Teenage Dragon Slayer.

Thompson stars in Mystery Case Files: Shadow Lake, a casual adventure game released in November 2012 by Big Fish Games.[6] Thompson's daughter Madeline Deutch also features as a paranormal television series host.

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.

Personal life[edit]

Thompson has been married to film director Howard Deutch since 1989. They first met on the set of the 1987 film Some Kind of Wonderful.[3]

Thompson and Deutch have two daughters, Madeline 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.[7] Both daughters are actresses. Thompson has stated that her career break to raise her daughters helped with her subsequent portrayal of soccer mom Cathy Davis in the Jane Doe TV movie series.

Thompson has four siblings, brothers Andrew (a professional ballet dancer) and Barry, and sisters Colleen Goodrich and Shannon Katona.[citation needed]



1982MysteryDisc: Murder, Anyone?Cecily 'Sissy' LoperVideo
1983Jaws 3-DKelly Ann Bukowski
1983All the Right MovesLisa
1984Red DawnErica Mason
1984Wild Life, TheThe Wild LifeAnita
1985Back to the FutureLorraine Baines McFly
1986SpaceCampKathryn Fairly
1986Howard the DuckBeverly Switzler
1987Some Kind of WonderfulAmanda Jones
1988Going UndercoverMarigold de la Hunt
1988Casual Sex?Stacy
1988Wizard of Loneliness, TheThe Wizard of LonelinessSybil
1989Back to the Future Part IILorraine McFly
1990Back to the Future Part IIIMaggie McFly / Lorraine McFly
1992Article 99Dr. Robin Van Dorn
1993Dennis the MenaceMrs. Alice Mitchell
1993Beverly Hillbillies, TheThe Beverly HillbilliesLaura Jackson
1994Little Rascals, TheThe Little RascalsMs. Roberts
1998Unknown Cyclist, TheThe Unknown CyclistMelissa Cavatelli
2002Fish Don't BlinkClara
2003Haunted LighthousePeg Van LeggeShort film
2005Come Away HomeCarol
200610 TricksGrace
2007California DreamingGinger Gainor
2007Jane Doe: How to Fire Your BossCathy DavisVideo
2008Spy SchoolClaire Miller
2008Senior Skip DayCathleen HarrisVideo
2008Exit SpeedMaudie McMinn
2009Fatal SecretsRebecca
2009Check, TheThe CheckDarlaShort film
2009Rock SlydeMaster Bartologist
2009SplinterheadsSusan Frost
2010Adventures of a Teenage DragonslayerLaura
2011Thin IceJo Ann Prohaska
2011Mayor CupcakeMary Maroni
2011Trouble with the Truth, TheThe Trouble with the TruthEmily
2011J. EdgarLela Rogers
2013Ping Pong SummerMrs. Miracle
2014Left BehindIrene SteeleIn post-production


1989NightbreakerSally Matthews
1989Tales from the CryptSylvia VaneEpisode: "Only Sin Deep"
1990MontanaPeg Guthrie
1993Stolen BabiesAnnie Beales
1994Substitute Wife, TheThe Substitute WifeAmy Hightower
1995Unspoken Truth, TheThe Unspoken TruthBrianne Hawkins
1995FriendsCaroline Duffy (uncredited)Episode: "The One with the Baby on the Bus"
Caroline in the CityCaroline Duffy97 episodes
1996Right to Remain Silent, TheThe Right to Remain SilentChristine Paley
1998Will of their Own, AA Will of their OwnAmanda StewardMini-series (part 1)
For the PeopleChief Dep. Dist. Atty. Camille Paris18 episodes
2003Stealing ChristmasSarah Gibson
2004EdLiz Stevens3 episodes
2004Law & Order: Special Victims UnitMichelle OsborneEpisode: "Birthright"
2005Jane Doe: Vanishing ActCathy Davis
2005Jane Doe: Now You See It, Now You Don'tCathy Davis
2005Jane Doe: Til Death Do Us PartCathy Davis
2005Jane Doe: The Wrong FaceCathy Davis
2006Jane Doe: Yes, I Remember It WellCathy Davis
2006Jane Doe: The Harder They FallCathy Davis
2007Jane Doe: Ties That BindCathy Davis / Jane Doe
2007Life Interrupted, AA Life InterruptedDebbie Smith
2007Final ApproachAlicia Bender
2008Jane Doe: Eye of the BeholderCathy Davis / Jane Doe
2008Christmas Clause, TheThe Christmas ClauseSophie
2010Uncle NigelAbby Wells
2010GreekAprilEpisode: "Camp Buy Me Love"
2011Robot ChickenLorraine Baines (voice)Episode: "Major League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"
2011Cabin, TheThe CabinLily MacDougal
2011Game of Your LifeAbbie
Switched at BirthKathryn KennishMain role
Also director on episode "Prudence, Avarice, Lust, Justice, Anger"
2012Love at the Christmas TableE. Dixie
2013Call Me Crazy: A Five FilmJuliaA Lifetime original movie
2013CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationJennifer RhodesEpisode: "Under a Cloud"


  1. ^ According to the Minnesota Birth Index, 1935–2002, at http://www.ancestry.com/
  2. ^ a b Catsoulis, Jeannette. "Movies: AboutLea Thompson". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Harris, Will (2012-02-21). "Random Roles: Lea Thompson". avclub.com. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  4. ^ Lea Thompson, Hollywood.com
  5. ^ Lea Thompson Dishes on Hallmark's Final Approach – Celebrity and Entertainment News, TVGuide.com
  6. ^ Mystery Case Files: Shadow Lake Announced at http://www.bigfishgames.com/blog/mystery-case-files-shadow-lake-announced/
  7. ^ Stars break out in song to honor of David E. Kelley's Alzheimer's portrayal – By Victoria Namkung, Special for USA TODAY (Posted 3/6/2008)- USATODAY.com

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