May. 31st, 1961
Rochester, Minnesota, USA
Lea Thompson's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Lea Katherine Thompson (born May 31, 1961), in Rochester, Minnesota. She is the youngest of five children. Her parents are Barbara and Cliff Thompson. Since all her siblings were much older than she, Lea says it seemed like she had more than two parents. The family lived in the Starlight motel, all the kids sharing a room. Things began to look up for the family when Lea's father got a job in Minneapolis, where the family moved.
Lea's parents divorced when she was six, and her mother decided to maintain the family. This wasn't the easiest job considering her mother was alcohol-addicted at the time. When she found the strength to quit drinking, she took a job playing the piano and singing in a bar to support Lea and her siblings. When Lea was seven, her mother remarried.
Ever since Lea was little, she loved to dance Ballet to be exact. She would practice three to four hours every day. Her first role was a mouse in The Nutcracker. After Lea turned fourteen, she had performed in more than 45 ballets on stages such as The Minnesota Dance Theatre, The Pennsylvania Ballet Company, and The Ballet Repertory. She won scholarships to The American Ballet Theatre and The San Francisco Ballet. At age nineteen, she auditioned for 'Mikhail Baryshnikov', who later told her that she was "a beautiful dancer... but too stocky". Lea knew her dreams had been crushed. At that point, she decided to turn to acting.
Her first role was in the movie Jaws 3-D (1983) as a water ski bunny, although she couldn't swim or ski, which she still can't! There she met 'Dennis Quaid', who became her fiance and acting coach. Her next role was in All the Right Moves (1983) where she acted opposite 'Tom Cruise'. Director 'Michael Chapman' was so disappointed with her performance, that he almost fired her. Between 1983 and 1984, Lea appeared in other "teen" movies such as Red Dawn (1984), The Wild Life (1984), and Going Undercover aka Yellow Pages (1988).
Lea's biggest known accomplishment, and her big break, came from the first Back to the Future (1985). It was the biggest hit of 1985, and Lea was suddenly the most wanted actress. She could have her pick of any role she wanted to take on. She did and made the worst choice of her life, Howard the Duck (1986). Although it was a 'George Lucas' production, the critics turned the movie, and Lea, down. Afterwards, director 'Howard Deutch' offered Lea a part in his movie, Some Kind of Wonderful (1987), but she refused. After he urged her to do it, she reconsidered. She won the Young Artist Award for best young actress. During filming, Howard and Lea fell in love, and she called it off with Dennis. She then went on to film The Wizard of Loneliness (1988), which was her first movie as a woman, rather than a youngster. Lea went on to film Back to the Future Part ll (1989) and an episode of "Tales from the Crypt" (1989). She then married 'Howard Deutch'. She continued filming Back to the Future Part III (1990), Montana (1990), and Article 99 (1992). Lea then took a break to stay home with her first born, Madeline.
She jumped back into acting in Dennis the Menace (1993). Then it was on to The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), Stolen Babies (1993), The Little Rascals (1994), and The Substitute Wife (1994) . In 1994, she had her second child, Zoey. Lea then went into filming The Unspoken Truth (1995). It was then that she was first given the script of a new NBC sitcom, Caroline in the City (1995). It was probably the best decision Lea ever made. She won a People's Choice Award for best actress in a new sitcom. Unfortunately, with all of NBC's problems, "Caroline in the City" (1995) kept being moved to a worse and worse time slot, giving it horrible ratings. The show ended after only four seasons.
She was also in two movies, Stealing Christmas (2003) and Haunted Lighthouse (2003).
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.
She starred in the television movie The Christmas Clause (2008).
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.
- Claims she was one of the few ballerinas at the American Ballet Theatre that didn't have an eating disorder.
- Her character's name in _Back to the Future (1985)_ (qv) underwent numerous changes when the script was being written. In an early draft, her character was called Mary Ellen, and in later drafts, she was called Eileen before it finally became Lorraine.
- Her brother, Andrew Thompson, was also a modern ballet dancer with the Colorado Ballet. They both took ballet classes throughout their youth, and he helped her pay for her classes later on in life.
- Has two daughters, Madelyn (born March 23, 1991) and Zoey (born December 1, 1994).
- It took approximately four hours to apply the makeup that would make her and co-stars 'Crispin Glover' (qv) and 'Thomas F. Wilson' (qv) appear to be middle-aged adults in _Back to the Future (1985)_ (qv).
- Was engaged to 'Dennis Quaid' (qv) for about 3 years before marrying 'Howard Deutch' (qv). She met Quaid on the set of her first movie _Jaws 3-D (1983)_ (qv).
- Won scholarships to the School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre.
- Attended Marshall-University High School (Minneapolis).